Wal-Mart cuts ties to LA firm of phony reporter

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Wal-Mart, Inc. and a public relations firm have parted ways after an employee of the firm posed as a reporter at a Los Angeles event staged by the store's critics.

The Los Angeles Times reports Friday that (http://lat.ms/MLfHnZ) Wal-Mart spokesman Steven Restivo confirmed the store and Mercury Public Affairs decided to mutually end their business relationship.

The move comes after it was revealed by employee group Warehouse Workers United that Stephanie Harnett, an associate at Mercury, showed up at one of their news conferences posing as a reporter.

Harnett left the firm last week. The firm said Harnett was not directed to pose as a reporter and showed "poor judgment."

According to city records, Mercury had received $60,000 to lobby City Hall over a proposed Walmart store in Chinatown.

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