Saturday, April 18, 2009

Starwood Suit Alleges Hilton Stole Over 100,000 Trade Secret Files on New Brand

WHITE PLAINS, NY—Starwood and Hilton, two of the world’s largest hotel chains, are at each other’s throats in a multi-million-dollar corporate espionage lawsuit filed in Federal Court here.

(Hilton's Beverly Hills, CA headquarters building, top right photo)

The suit alleges former Starwood executives Ross Klein and Amar Lalvani stole more than 100,000 electronic and hard-copy files related to the emerging lifestyle hotel market, before and after they were hired away by Hilton in 2008.

The suit alleges the stolen files focused on Starwood’s W hotel brand.

Hilton, acquired by New York City-based Blackstone Group in 2008, is rushing to come out with its new lifestyle brand called Denizen.

The Beverly Hills, CA-based chain plans to showcase Denizen in several major cities, including Beverly Hills and Abu Dhabi.
The suit aims to stop the debut of this brand.

Denizen is expected to compete with independent hotels and boutique properties, including Starwood’s W line, Morgans Hotel Group Co. and Thompson Hotels.

The suit also will be asking for punitive and compensatory damages totaling “in the millions,” according to industry sources in a position to know.

The suit is expected to take at least a year to settle, according to persons familiar with similar court actions.

Hilton spokesman Michael Buckley called the suit “frivolous and without merit.” He says Hilton will vigorously defend itself against the allegations.

Starwood’s lead lawyer Kenneth Siegel charges Hilton’s alleged theft amounted to a “wholesale looting of proprietary Starwood information.”

He calls the action “a blatant case of theft of trade secrets.”

Siegel says the stolen files included “a step-by-step playbook for creating a lifestyle luxury hotel brand.”
But the most damaging aspect of the alleged theft was that the files “enabled Hilton to launch a new brand in only nine months instead of the usual three to five years,” Siegel charges.

Klein was the former president of Starwood Luxury Brands Group. Lalvani was senior vice president of that unit. At Hilton, Klein is head of luxury and lifestyle brands; Lalvani, is head of development for the same division.

Besides the W brand, Starwood operates the Sheraton and St. Regis hotel chains.

Aswin Suri opens new Exit Realty of Daytona Real Estate Brokerage

Firm recruits 28 new agents and expects to hire 70 more this year.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - Exit Realty has moved into its new facility at 211 E. International Speedway Blvd. in Daytona Beach and has already recruited 28 new realty agents.

Exit Realty Owner Aswin Suri, (middle right photo) who has more than 25 years of experience in real estate, said Exit Realty is undergoing something few recession-era companies can report: a growth boom.

"We expect to have more than 100 agents before the end of this year," Suri said.

Over the past two years, Suri sold real estate properties worth more than $62 million, and ranked number one in sales volume for 2007 and 2008.

"Right now we have 24 commercial and residential sales under contract valued at more than $5 million," Suri said.

Exit Realty spent more than $100,000 to renovate a three-story, 8,000 square foot building as its new headquarters, Suri said. A grand opening and ribbon-cutting event are planned for April 24 with local elected officials and business leaders.

For more information, please contact:
Aswin Suri, MHA, B.A., Owner Exit Realty of Daytona, 386-383-3000 (direct)

Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications, 407-644-4142

Sheila Goodman, Larry Vershel Communications, 407-644-4142 P407-644-4410 F

CBRE"s Erik Schwetje Negotiates Four Leases Totaling 87,429 SF in Orlando

ORLANDO, FL-- The Orlando office of CB Richard Ellis is pleased to announce the following four leases launching a great start to the second quarter of 2009 at four industrial centers by their exclusive leasing agent Erik W. Schwetje, (top right photo) Vice President.

Enterprise Electric is planning an expansion at Airport Commerce Center (bottom left aerial) and signed a deal new for approximately four and half years of 4,800-sq.ft. at 1629 Parkline Boulevard, Suite 500, Orlando, Florida.

East Coast Intimates signed a new deal for 3,219-sq.ft. at the Sand Lake Service Center at 7661 Currency Drive, Orlando, Florida.

Kauffman Tire signed a two-year extension of 50,400-sq.ft. in the Presidents V Building located at 7482 Presidents Drive, Orlando, Florida.

Ann Huntington, Senior Vice President of CBRE in Dallas and David Murphy, Senior Vice President of CBRE in Orlando represented the tenant.

Ace Relocation Systems, Inc. signed a two-year renewal on 29,010-sq.ft. at the Beeline Distribution Center located at 2507 Investor's Row, Suite 400, Orlando, Florida.

For more information about Erik W. Schwetje, CCIM, visit

Contact: Angelique Greven, 407.839.3158,

Johnson-Laux of Orlando Ranked 172nd Largest GC

ORLANDO, FL – Orlando-based general contractor Johnson-Laux Construction was prominently ranked as the Southeast’s 172nd largest general contractor in Southeast Construction Magazine’s 2009 Top General Contractors survey published in its April issue.

Led by President and LEED Accredited Professional Kevin Johnson, and Vice President Anthony Laux, (top left photo) Johnson-Laux is a full-service construction management and general contracting firm specializing in mission-critical healthcare, industrial, multi-family, municipal, office, retail and other projects throughout Central Florida.

Contact: Kenneth H. Cristol, 407-774-2515

Roger B. Kennedy Inc. Ranked 5th Largest General Contractor

ORLANDO, FL – Altamonte Springs-based Roger B. Kennedy, Inc. was prominently ranked as Central Florida’s 5th largest general contractor in Orlando Business Journal’s 2009 Top General Contractors survey published April 3, 2009.

Led by Roger B. Kennedy, Jr., (top left photo) President, the company reported 2008 revenues of $82.6 million. The company also ranks as one of Central Florida’s largest family-owned businesses.

Contact: Kenneth H. Cristol 407-774-2515

Sikon's Scott Speaks to Real Estate Students at UCF

ORLANDO, FL – Florida retail construction veteran Dale E. Scott, (top right photo) Senior Executive Vice President of Deerfield Beach-based SIKON Construction Corporation, one of the nation’s leading commercial contractors, served as symposium co-moderator along with Crossman & Co.’s John Crossman (bottom right photo) on March 25 at the University of Central Florida’s Dr. P. Phillips School of Real Estate.

Topics covered at the interactive presentation included strategies for real estate students entering business careers with an emphasis on networking and character-building issues.

Attended by approximately 40 undergraduate real estate students, the event was held in the classroom of Randy I. Anderson, Ph.D., (bottom left photo) who also serves as the inaugural Howard Phillips Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair at UCF’s Dr. P. Phillips School of Real Estate.

Contact: Kenneth H. Cristol 407-774-2515

Camden Property Closes $420 Million Fannie Mae Credit Facility

HOUSTON, TX, (BUSINESS WIRE)--Camden Property Trust (NYSE:CPT) announced the closing of a $420 million secured credit facility with Red Mortgage Capital, Inc., a Fannie Mae DUS® lender.

The ten-year facility has a fixed annual interest rate of 5.12% with payments of interest only, and matures on May 1, 2019. The loan is secured by 11 multifamily communities.

Camden intends to use the proceeds from this credit facility for the pay down of amounts outstanding under its revolving line of credit, retirement of existing debt and for general corporate purposes.

Prior to this transaction, the Company retired $46 million of secured mortgage debt which was scheduled to mature in early 2010.

Camden owns interests in and operates 181 properties containing 62,903 apartment homes across the United States. Upon completion of five properties under development, the Company’s portfolio will increase to 64,329 apartment homes in 186 properties.

Camden was recently named by FORTUNE® Magazine for the second consecutive year as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America.

For additional information, please contact Camden’s Investor Relations Department at 800-922-6336 or 713-354-2787 or access our website at

Camden Property Trust, Kim Callahan, 713-354-2549