UPDATED — The Hotel at Old Town has filed a lawsuit against former general manager Sheila Cole and former director of sales Amy Grossman, who now hold the same positions at the 6-month-old Ambassador Hotel.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed in Sedgwick County District Court on Tuesday, Cole faxed Jack DeBoer, the principal owner of the Hotel at Old Town, resignations for herself and Grossman on May 30. The suit says Cole offered Grossman a job at the Ambassador and that Cole faxed a note that Grossman “accepted the challenge of helping turn the hotel around.”
The suit alleges breach of fiduciary duty, the destruction of evidence and the misappropriation of trade secrets, among other things.
“I think I was treated very poorly,” DeBoer says. “I’m just protecting my asset. That’s what my attorneys counseled me to do to protect it. So that’s my story.”
Neither Cole nor Grossman returned calls for comment.
The suit alleges that prior to her resignation, “Cole accessed her office computer and deleted significant portions of the Microsoft Outlook ‘In Box,’ deleted her ‘Sent Box,’ deleted her Microsoft Outlook ‘Trash’ or ‘Recycle Bin,’ and ran a program called CCleaner to erase the evidence of the ‘link files’ showing Defendant Cole’s links to documents recently accessed by her. By running CCleaner, Cole also permanently erased the evidence of all temporary files and histories, the download history, and the evidence of what was downloaded to her Flash Drive and then erased from her computer and placed in the trash/recycle bin.”
DeBoer says he doesn’t want to comment further on the lawsuit.
“I want to stay out of it.”
The 82-year-old businessman has one thing to say, though.
“The only thing I can say is I’ve never sued anybody. How ’bout that?” DeBoer says. “I’m a lover, not a fighter.”
In addition to the lawsuit, the Hotel at Old Town filed a motion for a restraining order to prevent the destruction of documents, such as contact information for customers, and the use of “trade secret customer information” in any form, whether that be on computers, smartphones or paper files.
The restraining order was granted on Monday.
While it’s clear that DeBoer feels betrayed by his former Hotel at Old Town managers, he says his lawsuit is nothing personal.
“I’ve made it very clear to the people at the (Hotel at Old Town), this is nothing against the people involved,” he says.
“The bottom line is this is not a vendetta against anybody.”