Starwood Hotels & Resorts added some scandalous new claims to its lawsuit against Hilton Hotels Corp.
Starwood alleges Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta and at least 44 other executives were aware of the “corporate espionage” breech and “tried to cover up” the happenings.
In the initial filing, Starwood accused Hilton employees and former Starwood executives Ross Klein and Amar Lalvani of stealing “truckloads” of confidential information about the W brand and attempting to mimic it in the newly created Denizen brand. Once aware of this, Hilton claims to have returned the stolen documents to Starwood, but Starwood is now claiming that Hilton has yet to return all of the information. Starwood said it received more stolen material on Wednesday, despite having filed the suit nine months ago.
Starwood's new claims arose after a Hilton “whistleblower” informed Nassetta in November 2008 that the documents had been passed off as Hilton development strategies when they were actually Starwood's. However, the tip “fell on deaf ears,” according to the new filing, and Hilton is accused of circulating Starwood's trade secrets after having “scrubbed” the documents of Starwood's logo.
Lastly, Starwood accused Hilton of using some of its practices learned in the leaked documents to improve its luxury and lifestyle brands like Conrad Hotels and Waldorf Astoria.
“This case is extraordinary, and presents the clearest imaginable case of corporate espionage, theft of trade secrets, unfair competition and computer fraud. Hilton continues to use Starwood confidential information derived directly or indirectly from Starwood confidential Information across its luxury and lifestyle brands, and is in contempt of the preliminary injunction. Hilton's conduct is outrageous,” according to the document.