NJ trip planner Steve Perillo stole competitor’s trade secrets: lawsuit

A New Jersey travel planner known for his kitschy television commercials used insider information stolen from a competitor to launch a faith-based Christian tour department, a new lawsuit alleges.

Steve Perillo, most known for his ads hawking trips to Italy, allegedly poached an employee at the faith-based travel company Homeric Tours after the two conspired to use Homeric’s proprietary information to build out Perillo’s brand.

Homeric sued Perillo Tours and its former employee, John Klados, earlier this week for stealing its divine data on “Christian Faith” tours that let guests “trace the steps of Jesus throughout Israel, to travel to Italy to view the Shroud of Turin, to follow the footsteps of Apostle Paul in Cyprus,” a lawsuit filed late Thursday in Manhattan civil court alleges.

Klados allegedly downloaded approximately 20 proprietary documents, consisting of brochures and itineraries for Homeric’s religious tours — then handed them over to Perillo after leaving his post as Homeric’s VP of Sales for a new gig at Perillo in January.

“In order to develop and sell these unique travel packages, Homeric has spent countless time, money, and resources developing relationships with vendors, countries, and clients,” the company stated in court papers filed Wednesday, “as well as proprietary analytics, budgets, and trade secrets that Homeric uses to compete in the competitive travel industry.”

Homeric provided email exchanges between Perillo and Klados dating back to April 2019, which show the two discussing Homeric’s financial data as they plotted to launch a similar faith-based tour at Perillo, according to the lawsuit.

“I love the faith market and I know Perillo Tours would be great at it – especially Catholic tours,” Perillo wrote to Klados in November, the suit alleges.

Homeric issued a cease-and-desist letter over the emails, demanding its data to be returned, but Perillo didn’t comply, the lawsuit alleges.

Perillo has become somewhat of a household name in the metropolitan area, with his stiff tour commercials running for decades. Last year, SNL spoofed the spots with Adam Sandler donning a fake beard and tan suit to parody Perillo in a “Romano Tours” sketch.

“For two generations, my family has provided high-quality tours of Italy to people from all over the world — but mostly Long Island and Jersey,” Sandler joked.

Perillo Tours did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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