Earlier this month, the Denver Post simultaneously lost three key employees from the advertising side: senior vice president of advertising Reid Wicoff, director of digital advertising operations Nicole Brennan and senior digital sales strategist David Staley. Even more dramatic is the alleged reason for their departure.
According to a lawsuit filed Friday by the paper against the three individuals and their nascent company Digible, it all went down when other newspaper employees confronted Wicoff about the trio’s plans to set up an outside advertising agency. The lawsuit alleges that these plans have been in the works since February 2016 and that preparations were made for a different kind of subterfuge. From the complaint’s list of General Allegations:
34. The group even went so far as to plan their staggered departures from the employ of the Denver Post in order to avoid suspicion and, before leaving, to provide misinformation to others within the Advertising Division regarding a key customer’s account in order to make that account, which they were planning to take, appear less profitable and less attractive to the Advertising Division.
Brennan and Wicoff quit over the April 8-9 weekend, while Staley tendered his resignation Monday April 10. The real kicker in the lawsuit is the Post’s comparison of the pitch used in 2015 for parent company Digital First Media’s Adtaxi operation and the one presented on Facebook this week by Digible. The language is identical.
The paper is seeking injunctive relief and monetary damages.