While Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. are fighting their phone hacking scandal, details are resurfacing that one of their subsidiaries faced a computer hacking scandal in New Jersey not that long ago.
The owners of FLOORgraphics in Hamilton Township, George and Richard Rebh, brought a federal case to trial against News America Marketing in Trenton in 2009.
The Rebh’s complaint read, “News employed numerous illicit tactics in a prolonged effort to destroy FLOORgraphics." According to NJ.com, in a trial transcript from March 2009, George Rebh testified that FLOORgraphics password-protected computer systems had been accessed without authorization on 11 occasions by computers registered to News America Marketing in Connecticut.
And Rebh also said in the trial that William Berkley, a board member of FLOORgraphics, faxed a note describing the breach to News Corp. Chief Financial Officer David DeVoe, and received no response.According to BNET, FLOORgraphics also contacted Chris Christie, a U.S. Attorney at the time, and former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez asking for an investigation. The company got no response, and was told the case was under review.
Suddenly in the middle of the trial, News America Marketing settled the case and bought FLOORgraphics in a deal worth about $30 million that requires the Rebhs to not discuss the case.
The purchase of the company by News America Marketing indicates that News Corp. saw a substantial legal risk here, said Wayne Eastman, a Rutgers business law professor.
David Carr of the New York Times reports that the News Corporation has paid about $655 million to make charges of corporate espionage and questionable behavior disappear for News America Marketing.