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CHECKMATE?PACIFICORP'S BOLD AD CAMPAIGN HAS LEFT PINWEST LOOKING LIKE A DORK

Dennis Steinberg left the Pinnacle West Corporation annual meeting a happy man.

He knew his campaign was working--the ads, the guest appearances and private meetings, all executed with the precision of a chess game in the weeks leading up to this day. He could see the impact in the faces of the stockholders who took turns at the microphone inside the downtown Hyatt Regency's packed ballroom.

The dapper, 43-year-old utility executive and two colleagues watched quietly from the sidelines as the stockholders' explosive anger poured onto the stonefaced PinWest directors. He was relishing every embarrassing moment, admitting with an impish grin, "It was very encouraging."

But then, Steinberg could afford to smile. He doesn't work for PinWest or its chief subsidiary, Arizona Public Service Company. He wasn't one of the PinWest officials all but publicly pantsed by furious investors that hot May morning. He wasn't up there trying to explain why a company with a built-in profit margin lost $551 million last year."

Steinberg works for PacifiCorp, the giant Portland, Oregon-based company that is trying to pull off the biggest corporate takeover in Arizona history. He's one of the strategists behind the PacifiCorp campaign, which started last October with a straightforward bid to buy APS, went through two friendly merger offers, and now is a no-holds-barred battle for control of Arizona's biggest company.

In the context of the Nineties, these battles have a bad public relations image. As corporate raiders like T. Boone Pickens and Frank Lorenzo began taking over America's strongest companies only to strip them for parts, people had good reason to view this sort of gamesmanship with extreme skepticism. Steinberg's job, then, is to convince people they aren't looking at a corporate raider, they're looking at a white knight. The campaign to win hearts and minds is taking place not only in Phoenix, but on Wall Street and in half a dozen Western state capitals where PacifiCorp also does business.

Ordinarily, it would be a tough sell, even for someone with sterling financial backing and astute political advisers. But Dennis Steinberg has a secret weapon.

THE ADS HIT Phoenix airwaves with the force of a punch in the gut. For weeks surrounding PacifiCorp's most recent $1.87 billion offer to buy PinWest, they've saturated drive-time radio in the Valley.

They are brief, catchy spots: One opens with the sound of a fictional electric meter tick, tick, ticking away. "Everyone knows that's the sound of their APS meter," a voice says, and goes on to describe how PacifiCorp will keep electric bills down by tapping its extensive power reserves in the Pacific Northwest to supply Arizona in the summer, and do the reverse when winter chills the northland.

Another radio ad begins with a straightforward announcement that PacifiCorp customers enjoy some of the lowest electric rates in the country. Then, in midsentence, a voice interrupts with a "news flash" detailing PinWest's abysmal financial condition, and the likely damage to customer pocketbooks.

Ooof!
Geared for maximum impact on APS' beleaguered customers, these "infomercials" have been loaded into the programming of stations whose demographic surveys suggest listeners who read, vote, and pay attention to issues. They've been running just when APS customers are facing the worst time of the year, when record-breaking 120-degree days mean utility bills that can outstrip the monthly mortgage payment.

"Ratepayers can't vote on the merger, unless they are shareholders as well, but they do elect the corporation commission, which must approve the merger in this state," reasons Ed Grosswiler, PacifiCorp head of government relations. The campaign has primarily concentrated on radio and print because ads can be changed on a daily basis, if need be, to reflect new developments in the unfolding merger battle.

PacifiCorp's decision to appeal directly to the Arizona public reflects the company's frustration: PinWest has rejected four PacifiCorp offers, ranging from the first "lowball" offer of $8 per share to the most recent, which nearly tripled the original offer. It's a far cry from the warm reception PacifiCorp got from Utah Power & Light Company, with which it merged in 1988. In that merger, the main hurdle was to convince state regulators, a task PacifiCorp accomplished through its testimony in exhaustive hearings before utility commissions in what is now a seven-state service territory.

The campaign to merge with APS, however, turns more hostile by the day. PacifiCorp opened its campaign last November with a straight-out offer to buy APS from PinWest, a hint that it wants nothing to do with the management that took a company with $15 billion in assets and ran it into deep red ink. And while PacifiCorp retained, and even promoted, top managers at Utah Power & Light, such a commitment is conspicuously absent in its subsequent merger offers to PinWest.

Disgusted with what PacifiCorp chairman A.M. Gleason calls "an entrenched management and an entrenched board" at PinWest, PacifiCorp is wooing the public instead.

Are the ads effective? "Are they ever!" says Francine Hardaway of Hardaway Connections, a Phoenix public relations firm. "It's a really phenomenal radio campaign, and it's all morning long on KTAR. PacifiCorp really means business." Hardaway's comments are echoed by other advertising experts in the Valley, who say PacifiCorp's ad campaign has transformed the normally secretive merger process into a spectacular public battle.

"What strikes me is their decision to do all this in public, it's very unusual," says Jos Anshell, CEO of Moses Anshell, a Phoenix advertising firm. "Now I understand their next bid is going directly to the shareholders, so all this makes sense."

The radio spots are part of a $300,000 media campaign PacifiCorp decided to launch after PinWest directors summarily rejected the most recent offer, Grosswiler explains. "It's to introduce PacifiCorp to Arizona and also to point out the details of our offer, focusing on our commitment not to seek rate increases in excess of 2 percent annually for at least the next four years," he says.

While the radio ads hammer on consumer issues, PacifiCorp has also spent the past two months wooing another segment of the public, the so-called "decision-makers." Starting in mid-May, about a week before the annual PinWest stockholders meeting, full-page ads began appearing twice a week in newspapers throughout the Valley.

The initial print ads were titled "Meet PacifiCorp: `Electric Utility of the Year,'" and extolled the qualities that garnered the award, given by the industry's top trade publication. But as the May 23 PinWest annual meeting approached, PacifiCorp took off the gloves:

--May 21; ads titled "Read Their Lips: `No New Dividends,'" underscore the admission by PinWest directors that--unlike earlier promises--there would be no dividends on stock this year. The ads, appearing in daily newspapers all over the Valley, include a shaded box announcing the time and place of the annual meeting, as do ads running the following two days. (In fact, PacifiCorp does more to advertise the meeting than does PinWest itself.)

--May 22; full-page ads reiterate the dismal message that PinWest is in such deep debt that current management says shareholders will receive no dividends for at least three years. PacifiCorp reminds shareholders they would receive $21 per share, three times what the stock had been selling for at the time PacifiCorp launched its takeover campaign in November, if PinWest directors would approve the merger.

--May 23, the day of the meeting; "Arizonans Can Expect More From PacifiCorp," the headline announces in type usually reserved for the outbreak of world wars. The ad quotes warm, genuine-sounding praise from community leaders and common people in Utah and Wyoming, where PacifiCorp has managed to reduce electric rates. "We want the opportunity to prove that Arizonans--including current Pinnacle West shareholders--can expect more from us."

PacifiCorp's print ads, in contrast to the radio spots aimed at the general public, are aimed chiefly at business and community leaders, Hardaway says, "But the print ads are equally hard-hitting."

"Is it nasty? You bet, but that's not to say it's unfair," Hardaway says. "It's not public relations, in the usual sense; it's an issues-management campaign, and they are doing it very well.

"There are two ways to do issue management: You can either push it from the top down, by reaching community leaders, or you can pull it through from the bottom up, by creating a grassroots movement," she says. "They are doing both."

Steinberg declares himself delighted with public response so far. "We've done three surveys and they show us one, that 70 percent of the people are now aware of who PacifiCorp is, and two, that APS has the highest `unfavorable' rating of any utility in the state," he says. And based on the feedback he's getting privately from local business and political contacts, Steinberg says, "I don't believe there's a groundswell of support to see PinWest survive among community leaders, either."

BEFORE ARRIVING in Phoenix last fall to pave the way for this campaign, Steinberg worked on PacifiCorp's friendly merger with Utah Power & Light. It was then the largest utility company merger in fifty years, but the PinWest takeover would be bigger still.

PinWest means APS, and APS means 600,000 customers and annual revenues of $1.4 billion. It also means 4,366 megawatts of additional generating capacity, which would increase PacifiCorp's current capacity by nearly 50 percent.

Despite the size of the stakes, PacifiCorp's merger campaign is run by a tight-knit team of only about six players, each a rising star in the company, led by Verl Topham, PacifiCorp executive vice president.

Steinberg, who heads the Phoenix office and reports to Topham in Salt Lake City, monitors PacifiCorp's progress locally from a corner office on the third floor of the Renaissance One tower, overlooking Patriots Square. "My role here, the role of all of us, is to let folks know we really are committed to the community," Steinberg says.

The company has rented 3,000 square feet of office space in the building, but most of it stands empty. What rooms are furnished have a temporary look to them, as if no one expects to stay long regardless of the outcome of the merger battle. If PacifiCorp wins, they'll have their pick of space in PinWest's midtown high-rise offices, or in the plush new APS offices on the top floors of the Arizona Center a few blocks away. And if the merger flops, well, it won't take long to pack.

Despite its emptiness, the PacifiCorp office does not feel unfriendly. The windows are so close to the ground a person could lean out (if the windows opened) and shout requests to the noontime musicians in the park. And the office is populated by people on the most exhilarating trip of their careers, whose current duties boil down to behaving as if they were on the threshold of the most stimulating love affair of their lives.

Which is to say, attentive, charming and sweet. Members of the team, however, add depth beyond their apparent abilities, for the campaign is structured to mobilize political and professional connections that date back decades.

Topham, for instance, sat across the table from PacifiCorp during the merger with Utah Power & Light two years ago. PacifiCorp leaders were sufficiently impressed with his skill as a negotiator to put him on their payroll and delegate him to run the campaign to acquire PinWest.

Steinberg, who joined PacifiCorp twelve years ago as a long-range power planner, has risen to become a top corporate planning strategist and spokesman before regulatory agencies. Less obvious, but very helpful, are his connections at Southern California Edison, where he began his career.

SoCal Edison, which owns a piece of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, is the most vocal critic of APS' management of Palo Verde among participating utilities. Considering the source, the criticism carries more weight than routine venting. SoCal Edison has one of the best operating records in the nuclear power industry for plants under its management, and it's an open secret that PacifiCorp has talked to SoCal Edison about replacing APS as the Palo Verde plant manager, should the takeover succeed. "Those reports greatly overstated what had emerged from those discussions," Grosswiler demurs. "We expect to seek their input, as we would any of the participating utilities, to ensure Palo Verde runs more smoothly than in the past, but we have no plans to replace APS as manager. We recognize that the management contract is an important source of revenue for APS."

Grosswiler, PacifiCorp's chief in-house lobbyist, has equally useful credentials with another key special interest--the environmental movement. Prior to joining PacifiCorp six years ago, Grosswiler was executive director of the Mono Lake Committee, California's largest single-interest environmental group with 20,000 members. He now chairs the group, which is fighting to prevent Los Angeles from siphoning off water that feeds the unique, million-year-old lake.

Only in Arizona do utilities, APS to be specific, still operate as if they can steamroll environmental opposition. APS officials like to crow about the trouncing they gave environmentalists in the fight to build Palo Verde. But most other utilities in the region remember how the environmentalists, like Lilliputians going after Gulliver, fatally tied up plans to build the gigantic Kaiparowitts coal-fired power complex in southern Utah. In most states, Grosswiler notes, utilities now recognize they must do business with environmentalists if they are to do business at all.

Beginning last year, before a whisper of PacifiCorp's intentions became public, these men quietly began taking steps to surround their quarry. They hired Phoenix attorney Marvin Cohen, who has a long history of helping small communities break APS' monopoly on electric service, to help them maneuver over the regulatory hurdles controlled by the Arizona Corporation Commission.

And, acting on Cohen's advice, they hired former Democratic legislative boss Alfredo Gutierrez, now the state's most influential private political consultant, to usher them through a series of one-on-one meetings with the state's business, political and governmental elite.

Besides their respective technical expertise, both Cohen and Gutierrez provide PacifiCorp with particular access to leaders in the Democratic party, which currently controls the Arizona Corporation Commission, the governor's office and the mayoral seat in Phoenix. (Republicans still form a majority in the state legislature, but the party is so split by factionalism it's difficult to determine who, if anyone, calls the shots these days.)

Cohen's ties to the Democratic party date all the way back to the Fifties, when he helped Stewart Udall engineer a putsch that grabbed power from the old-line Dems and swung support to young John F. Kennedy. Cohen subsequently went to work for the Interior Department, after then-President Kennedy appointed Udall Interior secretary, and was himself appointed to head the Civil Aeronautics Board by President Jimmy Carter in the late Seventies.

Gutierrez emerged from his years as leader of the state Senate Democrats as a figure of almost legendary political prowess. Since leaving politics to become a consultant a few years ago, he has finagled deals on behalf of an array of special interests far more controversial than PacifiCorp. (In fact, in environmental circles, PacifiCorp is one of the few "white knight" clients who have paid Gutierrez's fees: He's representing Browning-Ferris Industries in its effort to site a landfill next to the Agua Fria River in El Mirage, and ENSCO, operator of a hazardous-waste facility under construction near Mobile.)

Gutierrez has even represented PinWest in the past on other issues. "Marv [Cohen] told us we should hire him even if we didn't think we needed a political consultant, if only to prevent PinWest from hiring him," Grosswiler says. "Everyone we talked to says he's the best in Arizona."

In the past few months, Gutierrez has arranged for the PacifiCorp team to meet with Governor Rose Mofford, Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson and the mayors of other cities within the APS service territory, and the leadership of both Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature. Gutierrez's firm also designed the daring ad campaign that has made PacifiCorp a household word in the Valley.

The PacifiCorp people have met with the heads of other utilities and with members of the Arizona Corporation Commission, and are conferring in closed-door meetings with dozens of business leaders whom they decline to name. "It's really inappropriate for us to discuss strategy at this time," Gutierrez says. "After this is over, I'll be happy to tell you all about it."

Corporation commissioners Marcia Weeks and Renz Jennings state their opinions loud and clear--both say APS and PinWest have been dishonest and greedy toward the public in the past, and they are very interested in what PacifiCorp has to offer. However, outside Weeks and Jennings, most leaders are ducking the issue.

"We've been briefed by PacifiCorp and PinWest," says Vada Manager, Mofford's press secretary. "The governor listened to both very attentively, obviously the outcome is very important to the citizens of the state. But she has not taken a position."

Mayor Johnson did not return repeated phone calls, and Salt River Project head Jack Pfister declined to make any comment, saying that federal law forbids comment that might affect stock prices during merger battles.

Officials with the institutional investors who control nearly 40 percent of PinWest stock also aren't talking. Even before the ad campaign cranked up, PacifiCorp clearly had gotten its message across to a number of small investors, however. "I would say 75 to 80 percent of the calls I get are in favor of selling," says Keith Sprinkle, chairman of the PinWest Shareholders Association, which represents about 13,000 individual investors in Arizona. "We aren't taking a position, however, until we determine if we've got a consensus."

Sprinkle recently sent a caustic letter, authored by former APS flack Bill Meek, to PacifiCorp urging a halt to the "senseless and destructive" media campaign in Phoenix. "PacifiCorp has adopted tactics that are clearly designed to inflict financial damage on the shareholders of Pinnacle West," he writes. "That's not a fair, nor is it an ethical way to conduct your business."

The effect of PacifiCorp's campaign so far has been to send stock prices up to more than double what they were before the merger offers were made. But Sprinkle says Meek and a couple of the other board members in the shareholders association are worried the campaign ads could generate political pressure on the corporation commission to deny APS' current application, which would hike residential electric rates by a record-breaking 25 percent. "If APS doesn't get the rate relief it needs, this could damage our stock value," Sprinkle explains. Sprinkle denies the shareholders board was influenced by PinWest to write the letters, but he admits that he has not received any complaints about the campaign from other association members.

"We may have gone a little overboard with the wording," he says. "The central idea is to say, `Hey, fellas, play fair. Keep the dialogue in the arena of, is this a good business offer.'"

Sprinkle says his board is also checking out a rumor that Utah Power & Light stopped buying from local suppliers after merging with PacifiCorp. (PacifiCorp officials deny there's any truth to the allegation, which Sprinkle says was told to him by a caller claiming to be a Salt Lake City businessman.) Gutierrez claims business and political leaders are hesitant to state publicly what they're saying in private. "People question the capacity of this particular PinWest and APS management to resolve their various problems," he says. "On the other hand, people question PacifiCorp. They question whether the headquarters being elsewhere will be a problem." Editorials in the Arizona Republic (owned, ironically, by the Pulliam family of Indianapolis) mirror the unease within the Phoenix 40, grouching about PinWest's incompetence even as they mutter xenophobically about absentee ownership.

Gutierrez claims his polling data show that public acceptance of PacifiCorp is "substantially higher" than of APS, and that increasing numbers of people, including those in leadership positions, are resigned to the "fact" that, sooner or later, PacifiCorp will prevail.

PacifiCorp has not persuaded all those in local leadership ranks. Michael Welborn, chairman of Citibank in Phoenix, says he has not been contacted and worries about whether PacifiCorp will be as generous as PinWest in supporting local causes. "I don't know what PacifiCorp would be, but I know APS has been very involved and boy, we really need that," says Welborn, who helps chair the annual United Way funding drive. (PacifiCorp increased the amount of local donations after acquiring Utah Power & Light and recently got a good citizenship award from Utah Governor Norm Bangerter. If it did the same thing in Arizona, it'd have to top APS' annual community contributions of $750,000 in cash donations and more than 4,000 hours of volunteer time.)

Attorney Cohen, who also happens to chair the Phoenix Arts Commission, says, "This is an area I personally looked into, and I'm confident they will participate fully. Indeed, I was pleased with their record and attitude in this area."

THE PACIFICORP DIGS are a sharp contrast to the office of APS President Mark De Michele, or that of PinWest CEO Richard Snell, from which people on the ground look like ants. The contrast holds true for PinWest's effort to counterattack.

Where PacifiCorp reaps praise from advertising experts for waging a "brilliant," "gentlemanly" campaign on the merits, PinWest's efforts to rehabilitate its image are labeled "ineffective, clumsy and late in coming."

Phoenix residents hate APS so much, in fact, that efforts to advertise its virtues are apt to provoke more sneers, the experts say. "It's the company everybody loves to hate," Francine Hardaway says.

The PinWest follies--particularly APS' history of high rates and managerial goofs--have made so many people so angry for so long that PinWest has become, in essence, PacifiCorp's secret weapon. "We know you have a plan, but we don't care," one irate stockholder told PinWest directors at the annual meeting. "Listen to me carefully, you have no credibility with us."

Snell is purposely vague in describing how he plans to combat PacifiCorp. "Basically ours is a public information campaign, with some ads, some one-on-ones, some speaking," he says. "We will not descend to the depths they have, but we're gonna do what's necessary to dispel some of the misinformation that's out there."

Snell refers to a PacifiCorp radio ad suggesting that APS' current, record-high rate request is needed to pay off debt from PinWest's disastrous diversification schemes. "Even Marcia Weeks with the corporation commission said that went too far," Snell says. (In February, Weeks told New Times, "When the public asks `Is APS requesting this rate increase to pay off the MeraBank deal?' I think the answer is `Yes,' though they don't directly state it." Weeks now says the PacifiCorp radio ad "is a bit of a stretch, in that it suggests the rate hike is going directly to PinWest, but otherwise I don't have a problem with it.")

Pressed for other examples of "misinformation" in PacifiCorp ads, Snell says, "I don't have the ads that firmly in mind, I can't think of any right offhand."

Snell says PinWest operatives have looked into PacifiCorp's record elsewhere and hints they found damaging information, but he declines to discuss it. "I'd rather not comment on what we know about them, release of the information depends on what they do next," he says. "But we're quite prepared to respond to any move they make."

PinWest has not attempted to assess the impact of PacifiCorp's campaign through surveys or other scientific means, Snell says, but his "anecdotal impression" is that PinWest still has solid support among community leaders. "We've had a New York-based firm on retainer for a while to help us with strategy," he says, but adds that the firm's job is to lobby the nation's financial community, not the people of Phoenix.

"It doesn't seem to me APS is really putting up a very good fight," Hardaway says. "They've belatedly begun to run some ads and issue some statements to correct what they feel are inaccuracies, but the point of it sometimes seems ambiguous."

Hardaway cites a recent APS press release announcing staff cutbacks, issued days after De Michele accused PacifiCorp CEO Gleason of undermining morale at the Palo Verde nuclear plant by saying he would ask SoCal Edison to help run the plant if the merger succeeds. De Michele's memo to APS employees, included with the release, said he didn't know when, or who, or how many would be cut.

"I couldn't figure out if the memo and press release was meant to threaten or to reassure," Hardaway says. "Gleason was quoted saying it was `a helluva way' to let people know their jobs may be in danger, which tended to heighten the irony of De Michele's earlier criticism of him."

And Snell, De Michele's boss, bombed during a June 8 luncheon speech before several hundred members of the Rotary 100 Club at the downtown Sheraton. "He was the typical corporate fat cat," says one Rotarian in the audience. "He came off as condescending and insensitive. He gave us nothing but this boilerplate `we must operate more efficiently' stuff, with a lot of venom towards PacifiCorp. People went away shaking their heads like, `This guy confirms everything PacifiCorp has said.'" Snell says he thought his message "was being received, and favorably so."

Sprinkle, head of the shareholders group, also complains that PinWest is not communicating well. "We're having trouble getting information out of them about why they turned down this [most recent] offer," he says. "We keep asking and they are starting to come out with more, but we've always found it difficult to get information from the board."

Snell says he has met several times with directors of the shareholders association, and says he is not aware they feel they aren't getting the full story.

The public-image problems of APS and its parent PinWest started long before PacifiCorp came to town, notes Anshell of Moses Anshell. "There are some good people there, but we've not seen very much visibility for the positive things they've done in the community," he says. "Most of the publicity concerning them has been over rate issues, or the tremendous negative publicity with Palo Verde. PacifiCorp took the negative perception of APS and further entrenched that."

LESS THAN TWO WEEKS after announcing the impending cuts to the work force, De Michele lobbed another volley. He announced his intention to trim $447.1 million from APS operating costs to reduce the requested rate hike by an as-yet-undetermined amount. The dailies ate it up, the Phoenix Gazette even referred to it as a "rate reduction"--perhaps the first time in history a utility has gotten good press for cutting rates that weren't approved in the first place.

De Michele, however, denies the flurry of announcements about cost-cutting is a PR ploy. "When I became CEO in '88, I announced we would be embarking on a program to reshape the company," he says. "I said it would take five years and we would do it in small bites each year. We have accelerated that process and we've done so as a result of changes in the market, our customer base is not growing as fast as we had projected. In addition, as I've said before, I'm very, very concerned about our rate case. When we filed it, I knew it was high and I've kept pushing our team to find ways to cut it back."

Meanwhile, PacifiCorp officials say they are winding down the Phoenix blitz and laying the groundwork for their next step. "The next phase of the campaign will involve a lot of activity, but most of it won't be happening here," Grosswiler says, refusing to discuss it further.

But the course seems clear. PacifiCorp's next move will be on Wall Street, and in the far-flung headquarters of the institutional investors who hold as much as one million shares each of PinWest stock. The banks, insurance companies and pension funds that make up this group control enough stock--close to 40 percent--to oust the hard-liners in PinWest management and force the survivors to negotiate a merger with PacifiCorp.

Faced with the resplendent belligerence of the PinWest board, PacifiCorp's options are to launch a proxy fight or to make a tender offer directly to stockholders. The first option means winning enough allies among institutional investors to overthrow the current management; the second, to buy the company out from under Snell and the board through the acquisition of common stock.

To win a proxy fight, PacifiCorp must convince the institutions that the merger will achieve their goals, which differ from the concerns of a Scottsdale retiree looking to finance his golden years with dividends. The institutional investors are interested primarily in growth potential--not the amount of dividends a stock yields, but how much its value is likely to appreciate over five or ten years.

Roughly one third of PinWest stock is in the hands of mom-and-pop stockholders, and in a tender offer they must be convinced that only PacifiCorp can restore healthy dividends. The remainder of the stock is in the hands of arbitragers, whose sole interest is in turning a quick profit on short-term stock trades. All they want to know is when the stock has maxed out its potential for speculative profit, at which point they'll happily unload it onto whoever is buying.

Corporate strategist Steinberg won't say what PacifiCorp will do, except to say the company won't fold its tent and go home because it's convinced it will eventually win. "It's obvious to most of the people I deal with that this is fundamentally a good idea," Steinberg says with a patient smile.

end part 2 of 2

Steinberg's job is to convince people they aren't looking at a corporate raider, they're looking at a white knight.

"Arizonans Can Expect More From PacifiCorp," the headline announces in type usually reserved for the outbreak of world wars.

"Is it nasty? You bet, but that's not to say it's unfair."

PacifiCorp was advised to hire Alfredo Gutierrez to prevent PinWest from hiring him.

Richard Snell of PinWest: "We will not descend to the depths they have, but we're gonna do what's necessary to dispel some of the misinformation."

Snell came off as "the typical corporate fat cat," says one Rotarian in the audience.

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Kathleen Stanton