ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- An executive who left Atlantic City's top casino to work for a competitor must return a cellphone laden with valuable information on his previous employer's highest rollers and best customers, a federal judge ordered.
U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro issued a temporary restraining order Thursday preventing two executives who left the Borgata casino this summer to work for Ocean Casino Resort from contacting any past, current or prospective Borgata customers.
She also temporarily ordered them not to use or pass along to Ocean Casino any trade secrets or confidential information belonging to Borgata.
But the judge did not order the two executives removed from their new jobs at Ocean, and she determined that no evidence has been presented that Ocean knew about them using any Borgata trade secrets.
Executives at both casinos declined to comment Friday.
In a lawsuit filed last month in Nevada, the Borgata accused Ocean of poaching a half-dozen of its marketing executives in an attempt to "cripple" it by using secret details about its best and most profitable customers.
The lawsuit focuses heavily on William Callahan and Kelly Ashman Burke, two former Borgata executives now working at Ocean. Borgata officials say Callahan was hired by Ocean in late July but retained his Borgata-owned phone with valuable details about Borgata customers -- and has refused to return it.
The lawsuit claims Callahan oversaw Borgata's highest-level customers, those who spent $1.5 million to $4 million per visit. Collectively, these customers were worth at least $25 million a year to the Borgata, which would use its corporate jet to fly them to events and to and from the casino.
At particular issue is a cellphone Callahan is said to have taken with him from Borgata to Ocean, containing priceless information on Borgata's top customers -- including their personal cellphone numbers, gambling preferences, likes and dislikes including favorite foods and beverages, how much the casino might be willing to discount large losses for them, and instances in which the casino might change the rules of some games for these players.
The lawsuit was filed in Nevada because the Borgata's parent company, MGM Resorts International, is based there. But it also asserts the hiring of the executives violates New Jersey state law regarding unfair competition.