Make us your home page
Instagram

Pinellas Park firm says a rival stole its business with Duke Energy

 A Pinellas Park company said its future is endangered and $1.2 million in annual sales lost because it did what Duke Energy told it to do.
[Times file photo]

A Pinellas Park company said its future is endangered and $1.2 million in annual sales lost because it did what Duke Energy told it to do. [Times file photo]

ST. PETERSBURG — A Pinellas Park company said its future is endangered and $1.2 million in annual sales lost because it did exactly what a big client told it to do.

In this case, Duke Energy Florida told Carlwood Safety Inc., a supplier of safety, industrial and janitorial suppliers, to cooperate fully with a consultant that was helping Duke in its acquisition of Progress Energy by integrating the two utilities' supply lists, Carlwood said. That merger was completed on July 3, 2012.

But in a lawsuit filed this week in Pinellas County, Carlwood said the consultant, Wesco Distribution of Pittsburgh, stole its business with Duke after getting proprietary information from Carlwood under the guise of its consulting work for Duke.

Carlwood said Duke had indicated to it that the firm, which had provided supplies for Progress, would continue to do so for Duke and that opportunities existed to increase those sales.

But Wesco, which declined to comment on pending litigation, obtained Carlwood's pricing and supplier information and later undercut the firm to "misappropriate" Duke's business, the suit said.

The result, the lawsuit said, was that Carlwood lost $100,000 a month in sales and $20,000 in monthly profit.

The lawsuit said that Duke, which is not named as a defendant, did not disclose to Carlwood that Wesco "would, or might come to be a competing supplier to Duke." In fact, an early meeting with Duke and Wesco indicated the opposite, Carlwood said. Duke declined to comment.

But a couple of months after that meeting with Wesco, Carlwood said its orders with the utility had declined. Carlwood said it later learned that Wesco has instructed its suppliers to stop providing products to Carlwood.

Carlwood called Wesco's activities "deceitful" and said the company's fortunes are "in a precarious unstable position." Duke represented about 70 percent of Carlwood's total sales, the suit said.

Contact William R. Levesque at levesque@tampabay.com. Follow @Times_Levesque.

Pinellas Park firm says a rival stole its business with Duke Energy 04/28/17 [Last modified: Saturday, April 29, 2017 12:59am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. As Clearwater Marine Aquarium expands, it asks the city for help

    Growth

    CLEARWATER — When Clearwater Marine Aquarium CEO David Yates saw an architect's initial design for the facility's massive expansion project, he told them to start all over.

    Clearwater Marine Aquarium Veterinarian Shelly Marquardt (left), Brian Eversole, Senior Sea Turtle and Aquatic Biologist (middle) and Devon Francke, Supervisor of Sea Turtle Rehab, are about to give a rescued juvenile green sea turtle, suffering from a lot of the Fibropapillomatosis tumors, fluids at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Wednesday afternoon. Eventually when the turtle is healthy enough the tumors will be removed with a laser and after it is rehabilitated it will be released back into the wild.  -  The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is launching a $66 million renovation to expand its facilities to take in injured animals and space to host visitors. The aquarium is asking the city for a $5 million grant Thursday to help in the project. American attitudes toward captive animals are changing. Sea World is slipping after scrutiny on the ethics of captive marine life. But CEO David Yates says CMA is different, continuing its mission of rehab and release, it's goal is to promote education, not exploitation. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times

  2. One of the best places for investing in a rental house is in Tampa Bay

    Real Estate

    Two Tampa Bay ZIP Codes are drawing national attention.

    . If you're looking to invest in a house to rent out, few places are better than  ZIP Code 34607 in Hernando County's Spring Hill area, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.
[LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Times
 file photo]

  3. Tampa Chamber of Commerce announces small business winners

    Business

    TAMPA — The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce selected the winners of the 2017 Small Business of the Year Awards at a ceremony Wednesday night at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. More than 600 attendees celebrated the accomplishments of Tampa Bay's small business community.

    Vincent Cassidy, president and CEO of Majesty Title Services, was named Outstanding Small Business Leader of the Year by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

  4. International array of artists chosen as finalists for pier project

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — A diverse group of six artists will compete for a chance to install their work at the city's multimillion-dollar Pier District, expected to open in early 2019.

  5. Gourmet food fight between top chefs raises $200,000

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — The chefs came armed with their secret ingredients — pork rinds, truffle butter, pork bellies.

    (From left to right) Chefs Ryan Mitchell, Michael Buttacavoli, Ted Dorsey and Matthew Brennan compete during Tampa Bay Food Fight at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. The event features chefs from the Tampa Bay area and benefitted Metropolitan Ministries. EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times