Sapir claims employee stole trade secrets

Legal assistant allegedly sent “countless files” to her personal Gmail account

The Sapir Organization's Alex Sapir (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)
The Sapir Organization's Alex Sapir (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

The Sapir Organization has a leak problem – and not the kind you find in shoddy condo buildings.

A legal assistant employed by one of Sapir’s subsidiaries has allegedly been hoarding trade secrets that competitors could use to undercut Alex Sapir’s real estate empire, a new lawsuit claims.

Patricia Lemanski, who’s worked for Sapir’s SFM Realty Corp. since 2011, allegedly sent “countless files, agreements and other trade secret and confidential information” to her personal Gmail account, according to a Federal lawsuit SFM filed against Lemanski in New York’s Southern District last week.

Those documents include business contact information, operating agreements, leases, vendor agreements, loan agreements and other info on Sapir’s operations that others could use to gain an unfair competitive advantage against the company, the lawsuit claims.

Some of the documents could even be considered “inside information” under the securities laws of Israel, where the Sapir Corp. is listed on the Tel Aviv Stock exchange, according to the complaint.

Representatives Lemanski and Sapir did not immediately respond to requests for comment

While the lawsuit doesn’t name any specific competitors that Lemanski could leak information to, Sapir is asking the court to grant a temporary restraining order preventing her from sharing any sensitive documents.

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And while Lemanski worked as paralegal for the company, Sapir claims she didn’t work directly on any of the documents she emailed to her personal account – an apparent effort to get ahead of an argument claiming she had a justifiable reason for stockpiling the trade secrets.

“There is no possible legitimate reason [Lemanski] could have to forward these documents to her personal email account,” the lawsuit claims.

The Sapir Organization and Tel Aviv-listed Sapir Corp. are run by Alex Sapir, son of self-made billionaire real estate mogul Tamir Sapir.

Sapir office properties like the 28-story building it’s headquartered in at 261 Madison Avenue and hospitality assets like the NoMo SoHo hotel.

He is also developing the 16-unit Arte residential condominium in the town of Surfside north of Miami Beach.

Sapir Corp. last year was looking to sell a Murray Hill development site at 218 Madison Avenue where it had planned a residential condo building.

Sapir’s stock price in Tel Aviv fell about 18 percent at the end of the year when the company reported a loss of more than $5 million in the third quarter.