For those of you who've been following the ugly break-up of the polling and consulting powerhouse firm of Penn, Schoen & Berland, I've got another piece here from this week's paper focusing on a series of intercepted emails at the center of the million-dollar dispute.
The firm, led by Hillary Clinton pollster Mark Penn, arranged to intercept the messages from a former employee, Mitchel Markel, as evidence that Markel and, among others, Bloomberg pollster Michael Berland were conspiring to steal corporate clients in violation of clauses in their original contracts. That, in turn, produced a counter-suit from Markel charging that Penn and company had violated federal eavesdropping laws.
I've got a little bit more on how it all happened, and what, precisely, was in those emails that made them so valuable to Penn.
UPDATE: A PSB spokesman just called to voice his disagreement with the situation as an ‘ugly breakup.’ It was the departure of four employees in a firm of about 200, with business still humming along, he said.
I didn’t mean to imply that the firm had ceased to operate, although it’s worth mentioning that Doug Schoen and Michael Berland – the other named partners in the firm — have also left, and that Penn is actively trying to ensure that they don’t compete within the industry.