Private equity giant TPG Global is suing former spokesperson Adam Levine for the “blatant misuse and unlawful retention of confidential and proprietary information,” according to a complaint filed with the US District Court in Fort Worth on Wednesday.
When Levine, former assistant press secretary for President George W. Bush, learned late last year that he would not be promoted to a partnership position in TPG’s public affairs group, he began “an ominous series of threats,” according to the compliant. Among them, Levine purportedly called himself a “weapon of mass destruction” and claimed he “could and would destroy TPG within a matter of days by planting a few key stories in the national press,” according to the filing.
Although he had signed multiple confidentiality agreements, Levine began removing confidential documents and information from TPG’s offices and systems in an effort to “take down” the firm, the complaint said. The filing describes this confidential information as: “nonpublic and proprietary information concerning the business and operations of TPG; its affiliates, related persons and entities; the investment funds managed by TPG; the investors in such investment funds; the portfolio companies of such investment funds; and certain information provided to TPG by third-parties.”
Levine visited the firm’s San Francisco office after work hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in order to secretly access TPG documents and materials, the TPG complaint alleges. He began leaking information to the press, contacting The New York Times and other media outlets, and spreading confidential information as well as documents that TPG claims were fraudulent and altered.
TPG officially fired Levine as of December 31, but Levine has not yet returned any of the confiscated materials or his firm-owned laptop and BlackBerry. TPG stresses that Levine’s breaches of contract have caused “irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law” and that the firm’s “reputation, investor confidence and goodwill” will suffer if he continues to disclose information.
The suit claims that Levine’s actions were part of an effort to “extort millions of dollars from TPG” and requires Levine to return all TPG property, enjoins him from “using, disclosing, or exploiting” confidential information, and seeks compensatory damages.
TPG was not immediately available to return a request for comment.