TRADE SECRETS LEGAL DRAMA: When the international digital commerce giant Ascential bought Flywheel, did the pig come with a poke?

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TRADE SECRETS LEGAL DRAMA: When the international digital commerce giant Ascential bought Flywheel, did the pig come with a poke?

BY KEN ROSSIGNOL

THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY

The UK-based Ascential firm, with roots going back over one hundred years, is dazzling the commerce world with its brilliance and relevance in marketing, primarily due to its acquisition of Flywheel Digital for a reported four hundred million dollars in 2018.

Some might say that Ascential didn’t do its due diligence and investigate the origin and roots of Flywheel Digital comprehensively when they bought the firm.

 Undoubtedly, the unusual story of how James C. “Chip” DiPaula was out of a job after his boss lost the race for reelection as Maryland governor in 2006 is exciting. He turned to a position of trying to hold declining retail malls together when they were rocked by recession, gang crime, and competition from online commerce managed to hit the big digital time remarkable.

How was DiPaula suddenly a wunderkind of digital marketing?

Did Chip DiPaula learn all about digital commerce from in the trenches of internecine political warfare in the back alleys of Annapolis?  

Those halls of the Maryland Statehouse and the bars of the waterfront were good places to learn about corruption, bribes, deception, prostitution, and dalliance, as the city is full of historical levels of crimes against the taxpayers by politicians who enrich themselves much like the pirates of two hundred and fifty years earlier, many of whom originated in the United Kingdom.

One would conjure a scenario when an esteemed firm such as Ascential wished to invest hundreds of millions to purchase a viable asset on the world stage that has only been around four years would hire the Pinkerton Detective Agency.

When the Peaky Blinders wished to invest in American assets in the 1920s, they checked around to learn about the truthfulness and veracity of Al Capone.

If Ascential wished to learn about the background of Patrick Miller and Chip DiPaula, they would have learned that the pair of alleged purloiners of Trade Secrets worked at Compass Marketing until they suddenly departed after a Montgomery County attorney created a new LLC for Flywheel Digital.  

A sleuth could have told Ascential that Chip and Patrick might have repackaged the trade secrets of Compass. Like the vendors at the Farmers Market hawk copied and stolen videos, music, and fancy purses to the unaware, the unknowing, and those who don’t give a hoot.

But the stockholders of Ascential likely have plenty of other things to worry about when the company’s management is too busy yachting off to the Caribbean to be concerned about background investigations of companies that are on the buy list for busy CEOs.

Fans of Peaky Blinders know how Tommy Shelby would handle this situation. He would send his brother Arthur over to see Alfie Solomon and ask him to take care of the person who said buying Flywheel was prudent. Fans of The Untouchables know how Al Capone would have dealt with that decision-maker, and everyone who lives in Jersey knows how this tale would end on Boardwalk Empire or the Sopranos.

There is a school of thought that the ones left holding the bag here don’t live on either side of the Atlantic but the shores of the South China Sea. Ask Charlie Chan, he learned a lot in DANGEROUS MONEY.

As in every good mystery, remember, only The Shadow knows for sure.

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