A Texas City industrial pressure washer company is suing several former employees over what it asserts was a conspiracy to use internal communications to steal clients for a newly formed company.

GreenTex Equipment Corp. doing business as Tri-Star Equipment filed suit against Lethia Manuel, Louis Manuel, Stefan Ygdevik and Stingray Industrial Rentals Sept. 27 in the 10th District Court.

Tri-Star, which began in Texas City in early 2016, hired Louis Manuel to handle sales and operations and Lethia Manuel to assist with accounting, the lawsuit asserts.

A company owned by Ygdevik then tried to purchase Tri-Star in early 2017, but the agreement fell through and Ygdevik along with the Manuels formed Stingray on April 14, the lawsuit asserts.

The Manuels used financial information and internal communications to gain information about clients and bids Tri-Star was working on, the lawsuit asserts.

“Almost immediately, defendants Manuel and Lethia began diverting customers and revenue to Stingray from Tri-Star,” the lawsuit asserts. “Defendant Manuel caused customers of Tri-Star to believe that Tri-Star was no longer in business or that it had changed its name to Stingray.”

Stingray began winning bids, including on out-of-state projects, that Tri-Star had been working on because of its access to internal information, the lawsuit asserts.

Louis Manuel, at one point, even told one of Tri-Star’s customers to change purchase orders to Stingray, leading the client to believe the company had changed names, the lawsuit asserts.

The lawsuit is seeking more than $100,000 in damages.

The original filing requested a temporary injunction that would prevent the defendants from using internal communications, court records show.

The defendants failed to file a timely response and Judge Kerry Neves granted the temporary injunction Oct. 31, court records show.

CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS

The owners of Tanger Outlets in Texas City are suing several construction companies, asserting that defects have led to damage at the outlet mall.

Galveston Outlets filed the lawsuit against DPR Construction II, DPR Construction III, DPR Construction, Hardin Construction and Joslin Construction Oct. 16 in the 212th District Court.

“The shopping center has certain construction defects, including defects that have resulted in the cracking of floor slabs and exterior hardscape, damage to walls and door frames, damage to tenant fixtures attached to walls and damage to ceiling installations,” according to the lawsuit.

Bad fill soil under the floor slabs has led to most of the defects, the lawsuit asserts.

Hardin Construction was the general contractor on the projects, DPR Construction is the successor-in-interest to Hardin and Joslin Construction was the subcontractor who did the soil work, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit seeks more than $1 million in relief, court records show.

The defendants have not yet filed a response to the lawsuit, court records show.

WATER BILLS

The attorney who filed a lawsuit against a Webster apartment complex on claims of overcharging tenants for water and sewer said Monday the suit was moving along.

“The lawsuit is progressing, and discovery is proceeding,” attorney R. Martin Weber Jr. said. “We anticipate filing for class certification in the near future.”

Weber filed a lawsuit against Baybrook Village apartments Feb. 6 on behalf of Paul Simien, a Harris County resident, asserting representatives of the apartment complex had been overcharging residents for water and sewer in violation of state law.

Baybrook Village apartments is at 2702 Bay Area Blvd. in Webster.

The lawsuit also lists landlord Mosaic Residential Inc. along with the past and present owners of the complex as defendants.

The lawsuit was transferred for a time to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, but has since been remanded back to Harris County, Weber said.

The state’s water code prohibits apartment owners from charging tenants more than the actual costs of the water and sewer services owners incur in each apartment.

Owners found violating the water code have to pay the tenant three times the amount of the overcharge and a civil penalty equal to a month’s rent, according to the lawsuit.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com

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