polo portsmouth ri other studio plans in recovered emails
When the tortured and now very public tale of three departed Nike footwear designers reaches its conclusion, October will stand out as a pivotal time.
That’s when Holly Hearn, assistant general counsel for Nike, decided to pack up laptops, smartphones, hard drives and a thumb drive (silver colored with a Nike Swoosh on the side), and send them to Manassas, Va.
On the receiving end of Hearn’s package: Benjamin Cotton, chief executive of CyTech Services Inc., which specializes in forensic analysis and litigation support, including analyzing computers, laptops, portable hard drives, tablets, cell phones and smart phones for lost or hidden computer files. government,” says a court document describing the attributes of the Nike contractor.
Nike filed a lawsuit Monday in Multnomah County Circuit Court against Dekovic, Dolce and Miner accusing them of breach of contract and other alleged transgressions in connection with noncompete agreements they signed with Nike. The lawsuit, which says Nike is seeking up to $10 million in damages, contends the three had noncompete agreements preventing them from working with another sports footwear or apparel brand for a year following their Nike employment.
Adidas announced Sept. 24 it had hired Dekovic, Dolce and Miner to open a “Brooklyn Creative Studio” in New York City next year.
Dekovic, Dolce and Miner, through their attorneys, have made individual written statements acknowledging they had talks with Adidas officials before leaving Nike but denying having done any Brooklyn Design Studio work yet. Each designer also acknowledges having left the company with examples of Nike work but describes that work as being “ancient history” by the time the studio gets started. Each denies attempting to recruit other Nike employees to work in the studio, which also would be in violation of the noncompete agreements.
Nike is paying the designers half of their annual salaries $181,290 for Dekovic, $187,275 for Dolce, $152,445 for Miner for the one year noncompete period, as required under the agreements, according to Nike court filings. However, in addition to damages, Nike is seeking to have the money returned if it wins its case.
CyTech’s examination of recovered emails and text messages has contributed the bulk of information for Nike’s court filings 32 pages worth. 1 pick in this year’s NBA Draft, was signed by Adidas to a five year endorsement contract valued at $2.2 million a year.
“He’ll bring in less than 100 million in sales,
” Dolce commented, referring to the expected annual retail value for a Wiggins Adidas signature shoe.
“We have same salary and potential for + 5 billions (sic) in 3 years,” Dolce concludes. It is not clear who is the recipient of his email.
Dolce, in a May 18 email included in the court documents, advises Dekovic to pay a fee to add Twitter followers.
“You have 500,” Twitter followers, he writes. “I would buy at least 2,500 for $25. It makes it better approaching clients and then seeing you have this base.”
Perhaps the most intriguing written communication included in the filings, though, is an Aug. 29 email from Dekovic to Tauna Dean, Portland based director of talent acquisition for the Americas at Adidas Group. (Dekovic met with Dean as early as late June, sending her an email June 21 with an attached copy of his Nike noncompete agreement.)
In the Aug. 29 email, Dekovic sets out the proposed conditions for the design studio. This would include, the communiqu says, roles and responsibilities for the proposed studio, compensation, financial and other considerations during the noncompete year, location and physical requirements of the design studio and team structure.
During the noncompete year, the proposal calls for insurance coverage, relocation and moving expenses, two trips “to start building vision and connections,” payment of the other half of their Nike noncompete salary and “immigration for Denis.”
The last item is an apparent reference to Dekovic’s ongoing visa issues.
Dekovic, hired Nov. 1, 2005, as a senior footwear designer at Nike’s European headquarters in The Netherlands, is a Croatian citizen. In March 2007, he relocated to Nike’s World Headquarters in Oregon.
Dekovic worked for Nike based on an L 1A visa that was set to expire Oct. 28, according to a deposition filed by Abby Ornstein, senior director of human resources for Nike’s global design function.
“Any further extensions were not available since he had exhausted the full seven year term of the visa,” Ornstein says in the deposition. for a period of at least one year before he could qualify for a new L 1A visa.”
Dekovic, a senior design director who oversaw Nike’s soccer products, requested and Nike agreed to relocate him and his family to his wife’s native Italy in July.
“He told me he wanted to move his family in the summer so his children could acclimate to their new surroundings before the school year started,” Ornstein says.
(Some of Dekovic’s retrieved email transmissions were written in Italian. Nike paid to have them translated to English. “They (Adidas) need us bad and for us to influence other people to come,” he says in one to a colleague.)
(In another: “Yesterday I met the CEO of Adidas. (Herbert Hainer) I think I really impressed him because he told me to dream BIG and let him know what I want to do!