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Porn, Frats And Trade Secrets: 3 Ridiculous Zillow Headlines From This Month

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It's been a while since Zillow Inc (NASDAQ: Z) made jaw-dropping, mouth-gapping headlines like the ones from 2014 in which the company was accused of "cultivating an 'adult frat house culture.'" However, this past month, the blush-inducing headlines are back.

From porn to trade secrets and more frat news, Zillow is once more under the spotlight. The New York Post* (see editor's footnote) has published an article on each of these topics, detailed below.

Porn

Allegedly, Curt Beardsley, a Zillow executive is in the midst of an ugly lawsuit. Beardsley claims that while the lawsuit proposes his reasons for erasing a plethora of data from his home and office computers and destroying a hard drive were not motivated by the desire to destroy evidence of stealing trade secrets, but rather, the actions were an attempt to hide his hard-core porn habits.

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While the debate rages on as to what his intentions were, the erasing efforts left no evidence of trade secrets, but did leave a few pornographic shadows. "Beardsley's smut-removal efforts erased most of his work-related data from both laptops, including any trade secrets they may have contained," said the Post, "But they didn't erase all traces of porn."

A spokeswoman from Zillow commented in the Post, "Zillow Group has and will continue to act with the utmost integrity in conducting our business and in vigorously defending against the claims in this litigation."

Health Conditions Vs. Trade Secrets

Continuing with the theme of not trying to hide traces of stealing trade secrets, Errol Samuelson, another Zillow exec has been accused of stealing confidential information.

Unlike Beardsley, however, Samuelson claims his extensive deletion of data was because he did not want it to be known he was at risk for developing a severe health condition, one that is exceedingly rare, hereditary and ultimately terminal.

During a court hearing, he explained that his work computer had personal health information he wished to keep private.

The Post elaborated, "Susquehanna analyst Tom Claps, who has been closely following the case, attributed ‘several damaging admissions' to the pair's testimony – especially Beardsley's searching e-mails for the term ‘Samuelson' and then deleting them, despite having been served with a ‘litigation hold notice' to retain them."

Frat Environment Scandal Reemerges

Amid the previous two unsavory articles, the Post also revisited the 2014 suit against Zillow.

Recapping the inciting incident, the Post explained, "In December 2014, a former female employee filed a claim against the company, which called its Irvine, Calif. Office 'an "adult frat house" where sexual harassment and misconduct are normalized, condoned, and promoted by male managers.'"

While the suit has yet to be resolved, its day in court will come, with a trial scheduled for October 18.

*Editor's Note, 4/19/16, 1822 EST: The publisher of the New York Post is News Corp., the company that has filed the lawsuit against Zillow and authored the three headlines referenced. The situation has been covered by other, non-biased outlets as well, such as GeekWire and SeekingAlpha.

Posted-In: Curt Beardsley Errol Samuelson Susquehanna The New York Post Tom ClapsPsychology Legal General

 

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