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Modell's CEO accused of economic espionage against competitor

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A New Jersey-based Internet news outlet revealed on Friday that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of America's largest retail chains allegedly used spy "tradecraft" to steal confidential information from his top competitor, according to an economic-espionage lawsuit.

A Dick's Sporting Goods legal team in a lawsuit filed in Mercer County, N.J., civil court allege that Mitchell Modell, CEO of Modell's Sporting Goods, visited Dick's Princeton, N.J., superstore last month telling the store's managers and "associates" that he was a senior vice president from Dick's corporate headquarters.

While the incident and subsequent filing of a lawsuit occurred in February, the story hadn't been reported until a Bergen County, N.J., newspaper, The Record, published the report, as did the New York Daily News, on February 28.

Modell allegedly told Dick's store employees that he was visiting in order to confer with their CEO. While he was waiting, he requested Dick's store staff members to give him a tour of the facility including the store's backroom. During the tour, workers claimed Modell asked questions about the business and they, believing he was a Dick's executive, answered his inquiries.

Specifically, the lawsuit accuses Modell of garnering details of Dick's online sales, including a so-called "cutting-edge" program that allows customers to have faster deliveries of their products.

Neither side of the lawsuit would respond to reporters' questions regarding the lawsuit and the activities that led to it.

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