The Omaha World-Herald is reporting that Omaha-based Infogroup, a data, research and marketing company which offers email marketing and other marketing services, has sued its founder and former CEO Vinod Gupta for misappropriation of trade secrets and unfair competition. Infogroup alleges that Gupta obtained the stolen data from former employees after he left the company in 2010 under scrutiny over his spending of company money. Among the challenged expenses precipitating Mr. Gupta's departure were costs for the use of company jets by Gupta, his family and guests including Bill Clinton, as well as meals, cars, legal fees and accommodation in Aspen and Hawaii. Many of the “excessive” payments were made to companies in which Gupta or members of his family had an interest.
Mr. Gupta left in 2010 and then started a company called Database 101 - a company that Infogroup suggests was created to compete with it and interfere with its customer relationships. One interesting "gotcha" allegation in the present lawsuit is Infogroup allegedly planting fake customer identities in Infogroup's database and then monitoring Gupta's company's efforts regarding those fake companies. Days after Infogroup inserted fake company names, the lawsuit says, Database 101 sent a postcard advertisement to "Test Order" at the mailing address that Infogroup was monitoring.
That's evidence that will surely get a judge interested. We'll try and track Gupta's and Database 101's response to that one.