Jacob DiPietre, Gov. Jeb Bush's closed-mouth press secretary, has left his government job to join Team Disney in Orlando as Goofy's mouthpiece.
This past June, New Times described DiPietre's refusal to answer three weeks of telephone calls requesting comment about a judicial appointment. That story also highlighted DiPietre's stint as Bobby the Bearcat, the mascot for his alma mater, Northwest Missouri State University.
A follow-up piece detailed a lawsuit against DiPietre for dirty politicking back when he worked for a Missouri congressman. It also pointed out that when a consortium of papers conducted an informal audit on government agencies' responses to public-records requests, only the governor's press office failed the test.
Disney, with its restrictive policies governing employee comments to the press and its handy array of costumes, seems a perfect fit for DiPietre.
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There's no word on whether New Times' stories factored into DiPietre's departure. In fact, when this reporter called the governor's press office to confirm news reports, it appeared things hadn't changed. A woman who answered the telephone placed me on hold for ten minutes after asking the reason for the call. A second call to the office resulted in a three-minute session on hold before the line went dead.
It was enough to make one wonder if someone were holding a grudge.
On the last-chance call, a woman who sounded pleasant answered. She verified that DiPietre had left. His last day was August 12. She is the new press spokesperson, Deena Reppen, a native of London, England. She was promoted from the Department of Environmental Protection. She apologized for the earlier delays, but she had just returned from a meeting.
In that case, New Times would like to welcome Reppen to the job. Please call us if you have any questions.