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Anonymous Letter Accuses Zillow Management Of Illegal Activity

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News Corp (NASDAQ: NWSA) subsidiary Move, Inc.'s (the operator of Realtor.com) nasty legal battle with Zillow Group Inc (NASDAQ: Z) just took a turn. In a new court filing, according to Geek Wire, Move included a letter claiming that Zillow's chief industry relations officer and vice president of industry relations, who used to be Move executives, violated injunctions and stole company databases. The letter was unsigned.

Move requested that the court allow a third party to investigate the case. A Zillow spokesperson characterized the letter as "unsubstantiated" and said it included a "mix of mischaracterized facts and false information."

The lawsuit in question was first filed in March 2014 and has since been joined by the National Association of Realtors. The original complaint alleges that former Move Chairman Errol Samuelson violated Realtor.com's trade secrets with respect to finance, technology, data, strategy and marketing when he became Zillow's chief industry relations officer. Samuelson was at Realtor.com since 2007 before unexpectedly leaving last year.

Shortly after, Zillow poached Curt Beardsley, who was promoted to executive vice president following Samuelson's departure. Beardsley then became Zillow's chief industry relations officer.

In July 2014, the Washington state Superior Court judge granted Move an injunction preventing Samuelson from performing many of his duties at Zillow. It is this injunction that the new letter calls into question, alleging that Samuelson continued his duties.

Zillow's stock price is down 7.8 percent this year and more than 40 percent off its all-time highs of $164.90.

 

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