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Hospitality Firm Sues Former COO For Conspiring To Steal Trade Secrets

A hospitality company based in North Texas is suing a former executive for allegedly bribing employees to share trade secrets that would boost profits at his next venture.

The Aimbridge Hospitality HQ in Plano, Texas

Aimbridge Hospitality filed a civil suit in a Collin County district court earlier this week against Avion Hospitality and its CEO, Robert Burg. The suit claims Burg stole proprietary data from Aimbridge during his tenure as the company’s chief operating officer and president, CoStar News reported.

Burg allegedly conspired with Aimbridge employees to garner property-level information that would help him persuade hotel owners to switch management companies, the suit claims. Burg would then offer those employees positions at Avion, according to the filing. 

Attorneys for Avion could not be reached before publication. Both Burg and Avion declined to comment to CoStar, saying they needed time to review Aimbridge's petition.

Aimbridge says it has email evidence of Burg’s alleged illegal acts, which resulted in at least seven canceled contracts. The company claims to have lost tens of millions of dollars as a result of Burg’s scheme, and attorneys expect more losses will be uncovered once the case progresses into the discovery phase, according to the suit.

“Aimbridge is pursuing legal action against a former employee, who launched a management company after gaining access to a significant amount of competitively sensitive information from the company and using it to interfere with management agreements and owner relationships,” an Aimbridge spokesperson said in an email to Bisnow.

“We are deeply disappointed that a trusted individual would go to such lengths to harm the company to create great personal benefit for himself and his new entity. We initiated the lawsuit to protect our company and our stakeholder groups, including our associates, who are impacted by this breach of trust.”

Burg was hired by Aimbridge in 2003, gradually rising through the ranks until ultimately being promoted to COO and president in 2018. He left in 2022 to start Avion, a third-party hotel management firm headquartered in Plano, Texas.

Aimbridge is asking the court for a permanent injunction against Burg and Avion that would cut off access to its confidential data. It is also requesting several forms of monetary relief, including profits Avion earned as a result of the alleged conspiracy.