Ex-DraftKings exec faked friend’s death to steal info for rival: lawsuit

DraftKings is accusing a former executive of faking a friend’s death as part of an elaborate plan to steal proprietary information before bolting for a fellow sports betting competitor.

The company is suing Michael Hermalyn, a former vice president of VIP at DraftKings, for allegedly taking documents from the sportsbook operator before taking a job with Fanatics last week.

DraftKings claims Hermalyn lied about flying to Philadelphia after the loss of a friend and instead flew to Los Angeles to meet with Fanatics brass, including CEO Michael Rubin, for contract negotiations with the company.

Hermalyn is accused of downloading DraftKings’ Super Bowl 2024 business plans before taking off for the meeting “in concert with Fanatics.”

“Hermalyn knows DraftKings’ playbook on how to engage and retain VIP clients,” a complaint filed in Massachusetts states, according to a report from Front Office Sports.

“On information and belief, Hermalyn, acting in concert with Fanatics, timed his departure and theft of confidential information to coincide with the critical days leading up to the Super Bowl to further a scheme to irreparably interfere with DraftKings’ customer and business relationships by pursuing those relationships at Fanatics using the confidential information and goodwill that he obtained at DraftKings.”

Hermalyn reportedly worked for DraftKings for three years before resigning on Feb. 1 when he informed the company that he would be joining Fanatics as its VIP president. 

DraftKings is suing a former executive.

The lawsuit also alleges that Hermalyn secretly met with Rubin before last year’s Super Bowl and encouraged other DraftKings employees to do so as well. 

The former DraftKings executive is also accused of engaging “in unwelcome physical contact with a female employee without her consent” and making “inappropriate comments regarding his female colleague’s physical appearance,” per FOS. 

A Fanatics spokesperson all but denied the allegation in a statement to Front Office Sports. 

“This is just sour grapes,” an unnamed source at the company wrote in a statement to FOS. “DraftKings is understandably upset that one of its employees left for the greener pastures at Fanatics. The fact that they are trying to drum up ridiculous allegations on one of their well-respected executives in an attempt to ruin his reputation sheds some light on why employees may be choosing to leave that organization.”

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