Last week, Realtor.com operator Move, Inc. shook up its trade secrets litigation against Zillow by filing an anonymous letter with the court that included a wide variety of accusations about business practices at the Seattle-based real estate search company.
Now, the writer of that letter may be anonymous no more: Zillow accused Chris Crocker, the company’s former Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, as its writer in a private filing revealed today in court by Move. In a motion objecting to the letter being put under seal first reported on by Inman News, Move called Crocker a “whistleblower.” The filing argues that his letter should be available in largely unredacted form, contrary to a judge’s order from earlier this week.
Move also included a copy of a document that Zillow filed privately with the court-appointed Special Master in the case, accusing Crocker of writing the letter. The company said that Crocker was “advised that he was being terminated earlier this year,” but Zillow offered him two months to find a new job.
The filing also accused Move’s lawyer of communicating with Crocker about the case before Crocker was told of his confidentiality obligations to Zillow. Crocker joined Zillow in December 2012, and left the company last month, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Zillow did not have much to say about the filing, except to point out that the company did not publicly identify the letter’s author.
“We have not publicly identified an author of the letter,” Zillow spokeswoman Amanda Woolley said in a statement emailed to GeekWire. “Beyond that, we have no comment.”
The letter contains a number of accusations, including claims that Zillow scrapes data from Realtor.com in order to benchmark its own listings, and that Chief Industry Development Officer Errol Samuelson (whose departure from Move and subsequent hiring by Zillow is at the heart of this case) was doing work prohibited by an injunction.
Crocker did not respond to a request for comment on this report, and a representative for move declined to comment beyond the company’s legal filing. Move’s filings are embedded below.
[This story has been updated with more details about Chris Crocker.]