USRN Sues Former Exec Dan Brassem
August 28, 2013 at 4:49 AM (PT)
UNITED STATIONS RADIO NETWORKS has sued its former VP/Managing Director of Affiliate Relations DAN BRASSEM for allegedly providing information to USRN's former EVP of Comedy DAVE KOLIN, who is now competing with USRN at PREMIERE NETWORKS.
USRN, filing in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NEW YORK, alleges that BRASSEM, who quit to join PREMIERE, is "drawing upon, and improperly using, USRN's confidential, proprietary and trade secret information to undercut USRN's pricing and other customer terms and to unfairly lure USRN's competitors away from USRN to PRN." It adds that BRASSEN has "teamed" with KOLIN, with whom, the suit says, he has "thrown the proverbial one-two punch -- KOLIN is using USRN's trade secrets in an attempt to replicate USRN's product, while BRASSEM is using USRN's trade secrets to market that product to USRN's existing and prospective customers." The suit also alleges that the two former USRN executives "have unfairly poached numerous other USRN employees."
USRN's filing alleges that KOLIN tried to "destroy the company and everything that (NICK) VERBITSKY, DICK CLARK, (CHARLIE) COLOMBO and others had worked hard and contributed substantial capital to build" due to "personal differences with or jealousy of VERBITSKY" after failing to acquire the company and undermined the loyalty of USRN employees, including BRASSEM, with whom the suit says he "began conspiring to destroy USRN." "By combining their intimate knowledge of the two sides of USRN's business -- programming and affiliate relations -- they believed they would be unstoppable," the suit claims. "Moreover, they believed that their combined knowledge would be of interest to competitors."
The suit specifically cites emails by BRASSEM to KOLIN with spreadsheets containing affiliate and ratings information for USRN services, and alleges BRASSEM created a new user name and password for his USRN account to "furtively access and download USRN's Proprietary Content from his personal email account" and changed cancellation rights and terms for affiliates to allow them to cancel their USRN contracts. It also alleges that BRASSEM took contracts from its files and put a trojan on his computer to allow unauthorized access and theft of passwords while trashing KOLIN as "lazy" and "overpaid" to USRN. 48 affiliates (termed the "Stolen Affiliates" in the suit) cancelled USRN contracts to move to PREMIERE, the suit adds.