A Bedford Hills auto body shop owner claims that two former employees, including his nephew, pirated his business.
Gregory Beobide, owner of Ultimate Auto Body Inc., sued Ethos Auto Body LLC and co-owners Matthew Beobide and Dan Zimdahl for $1 million on Dec. 20 in Westchester Supreme Court.
While Ethos’ co-owners still worked for Ultimate, they were misappropriating “as much confidential and proprietary information as possible,” Gregory Beobide says in an affidavit, to “minimize their own costs in developing their new shop.”
Matthew Beobide declined to discuss the lawsuit and referred inquiries to Ronald G. Crispi, his attorney. Crispi was not available to comment.
Matthew Beobide worked for Ultimate for 13 years and managed the Bedford Hills shop. Zimdahl worked for Ultimate for four years and managed the Mount Vernon shop.
They continued to work for Ultimate until Oct. 6, when Gregory Beobide confronted them about their new business.
Ethos was established three months before and operated at 785 Bedford Road, Bedford Hills, near Ultimate’s shop. Its website “history” states it has been providing auto body repair services “for over 30 years.”
Gregory Beobide claims that his nephew contacted Assured Performance Network, a certification company, and represented his uncle as a co-owner of Ethos, according to the complaint, to transfer original equipment manufacturer certificates to the new business. Then he took the OEM plaques.
His former employees hijacked Ultimate’s website, according to the complaint, replacing it with a “ghost” website that had no contact information and incorrect location information.
He claims his nephew pirated Ultimate’s social media sites, listing his own cellphone number as the contact number on Google Business and Yelp and taking the Facebook page off line.
Ethos recruited Ultimate employees, according to the complaint, and a painter, helper and body work man left to work for Ethos.
Gregory Beobide also accuses his nephew of taking vendor contracts and a customer list and downloading professionally-taken photographs of work being done in his shop. The photos were then allegedly used on Ethos’ website and Facebook page and posted on the Katonah Chamber of Commerce website.
He claims that his former employees sent email blasts to Ultimate’s customers, soliciting their business. An email announcing the new business was headlined, “Grand Opening Ultimate Auto Body, Formally,” implying, according to the complaint, that Ethos was a new location for Ultimate.
Customers have been confused, the complaint states, “into believing that Ethos and Ultimate were the same entity.”
The strength and net worth of an auto body shop, Gregory Beobide states in his affidavit, rests on its brand, services, image, reputation, pricing, employees and customer base.
His former employees, he alleges, misappropriated confidential information and trade secrets, unjustly enriched themselves and breached their duty of good faith and loyalty.
Ultimate is demanding $1 million and a court order barring Ethos from exploiting its proprietary information.
Ultimate is represented by Patrick V. DeIorio of Rye Brook.