Best PR Snafu - 2009
Congressman William "Lacy" Clay's Divorce
She said she found out her husband was divorcing her by reading it in the newspaper. He said his filing was no surprise. Surely the truth lies somewhere in between. But who cares? William "Lacy" Clay married Ivie Clay, the flack for the St. Louis Development Corp., seventeen years ago. They had two kids, whom she raised for all practical purposes while her husband went off to wag the dog, first in the state legislature, then in the U.S. House of Representatives. Fast forward to May Day 2009: Lacy "I'm Not So Clever" Clay has a personal-injury attorney representing him in a domestic battle that he claims has been going on for months, while Ivie "I'm too busy to return phone calls because I'm raising my absent husband's children and talking to my attorney" Clay has retained ball-buster divorce lawyer Susan M. Hais. The poop splatters all over the newspaper. St. Louis Circuit Clerk Mariano Favazza pulls a fast one, placing a personal call to Lacy's people and essentially offering to seal the file so the reporter standing at his desk can't take a look-see. The Clays' attorneys then begin flinging bitterly worded public statements at one another — through the media, both local and national. You laugh at the stupidity of it all. You feel embarrassed. Mostly, though, you feel sorry for their children.