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Trenton, N.J. • The CEO of a sporting goods chain who once appeared on the TV show "Undercover Boss" pretended to be an executive from a rival company in an effort to get confidential information, according to a lawsuit.
Dick's Sporting Goods claims in a lawsuit filed Feb. 20 in Mercer County Court that Mitchell Modell, CEO of Modell's Sporting Goods, showed up at a Dick's store in Princeton in February saying he was a Dick's senior vice president. The lawsuit was first reported Friday by The Record newspaper (http://bit.ly/1dJeWqz).
Dick's alleges Modell told employees he was to meet the Dick's CEO there and persuaded workers to show him the backroom of the store and to answer questions about the business. Modell gathered information about online sales, including a "ship from store" program that gets products to customers' doors quickly, the lawsuit said.
Dick's accuses its rival of civil conspiracy and trespass and is seeking attorneys' fees and a judge's order to prevent Modell and his workers from entering nonpublic areas of Dick's stores or posing as employees.
Modell's spokesman Jason Karlowski says he can't comment immediately but would be able to answer questions later Friday.
In 2012, Mitchell Modell shaved his head and put on an oversized mustache to pose as a low-level employee on the CBS show "Undercover Boss." He later said the experience taught him how physically demanding warehouse work was and led to staffing and workload changes throughout the company.
His New York-based chain has more than 150 stores, mostly in the Northeast. Dick's, based in Pittsburgh, is a publicly traded company with more than 550 stores nationwide.
Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), http://www.northjersey.com