Lawsuit: Jewel parent tried to kill Wal-Mart store

By Becky Yerak
Posted June 24, 2010 at 9:57 a.m.

Jewel-Osco’s parent company engaged in “dirty tricks” to defeat the building of a Wal-mart store in Mundelein, alleges a lawsuit filed Wednesday in a U.S. District Court in Chicago.

Rubloff Development Group Inc. is suing Minneapolis-based SuperValu Inc., which does business as Jewel-Osco, and a Hingham, Mass.-based consulting firm called Saint Consulting Group, whose Web site describes it as specializing “in winning zoning and land-use battles.”

Rubloff is trying to protect its use of certain documents in court. It says it has in its possession materials “that reveal that defendants orchestrated ‘dirty tricks’ campaigns to defeat or otherwise delay the establishment of new Wal-mart stores at shopping centers” that the Rockford-based real estate developer and another firm were planning.
SuperValu “secretly retained” Saint “to harass and interfere” with Rubloff’s proposed shopping development to keep rival Wal-mart out of the area, the lawsuit said.

Through “unlawful conduct” that included “false statements and sham litigation,” Saint, acting at SuperValu’s direction, interfered with and delayed the developers’ shopping centers, in some cases to the point where Wal-mart, as the anchor tenant, pulled out, the complaint said.

One such project was in Mundelein. The project was approved by the city in July 2007 and was supposed to be finished in 2008. Rubloff anticipated profits of more than $20 million through the project.

Menards was to purchase a parcel, and Wal-mart was in the “final stages of an agreement” to buy another parcel. Others entering into lease agreements included Kohls, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Chase. Rubloff also had tentative pacts or was negotiating with Lane Bryant, Dress Barn and Fifth Third Bank, among others.

“As a result of delays caused by defendants’ wrongful conduct, Rubloff no longer has binding leases with these entities,” the lawsuit said.

Saint and SuperValu couldn’t be reached for immediate comment.

The lawsuit said that, on May 3, 2010, Rubloff sent a letter to SuperValu, advising SuperValu that Rubloff had uncovered hundreds of pages of documents revealing what it said was a “dirty-tricks” campaign against the Mundelein development that had been “secretly orchestrated” by SuperValu and a consultant to conceal SuperValu’s involvement in the opposition to the shopping development. SuperValu never responded in writing to the letter, the lawsuit said.

Instead, on May 10, counsel for Saint responded to the letter by threatening to sue Rubloff based on Rubloff’s allegedly wrongful possession of Saint’s allegedly confidential information related to the Mundelein development.

“Plaintiffs don’t believe there is any legitimate trade secret” in the documents and therefore they believe there’s nothing to prevent the use of the materials in their claims against SuperValu and Saint.

Another plaintiff in the case is McVickers Development LLC.

To read the lawsuit, click here.

Read more about the topics in this post: , , ,

Companies in this article


Read more about this company »


Read more about this company »


  1. Innocent_III June 24, 2010 at 11:33 a.m.

    Because you’ll always pay more … at the UNION store.

  2. JNews June 24, 2010 at 11:45 a.m.

    Wal-Mart: Proudly replacing good middle-class American jobs with wage slavery for over 30 years.

  3. jewel June 24, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    This doesn’t surprise me in the least. I would gladly work at Walmart over Jewel. Jewel in our area pays significantly LESS than Walmart. Walmart offers insurance to their employees (Jewel does also but you must work at least 30 hours per week over a 6mnth period in order to qualify. Jewel will make sure they schedule you just under the minimum so you do not qualify). Walmart also pays out quarterly bonuses in cash. Jewel offers you the option to either join the union and pay dues or not work for them. I have not seen one incentive as to how the union has helped protect the worker over non-union Walmart.

  4. **** June 24, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    There would be no middle class in this country if it weren’t for unions. Obstructionist America-Haters learn some history before you just listen to the blog reading fake oracle on the radio. If you all hate this country so much, then leave!

  5. matt June 24, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    I dispise Walmart, my wife and I will gladly pay higher prices to avoid the trash hole know as Wally-World.

  6. Jefferson June 24, 2010 at 1:31 pm


    Because you’ll always pay more … at the UNION store.

    You are correct. UNION stores pay, while not perfect, offer wages one can live on and benefits.

    There is a choice: consumers can pay these costs in the form or higher priced goods or through their tax bill.

    Innocent AND ignorant!

  7. Norman D.Ploumb June 24, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Why does a grocery bagger need to be unionized? Or a cashier? Or stocker? These are not careers, but entry level jobs. The closed union shop mentality that has a stranglehold on the grocery business is why Dominicks and Jewel are losing market share – they have to inflate prices to cover the union wages! And the unions are fighting to keep their hold over 16 year olds who have to PAY to have a job…how messed up is that?

  8. jack (me) June 24, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    The thing that the commenters here don’t realize is that SuperValu is probably also behind the so-called union resistance to Walmart in Chicago. Here, in Mundelein, at least an attempt is made to expose certain dirty tricks.

    As far as the store being unionized, it is up to the union to organize it. I tend to shop at stores that appear to use immigrant labor, even though not Walmart, but if they sell the same product for half the price as Jewel, and do not give me the lip that the fishmonger at Pier 14 does, I rather shop there. That’s how the consumer chooses. Apparently SuperValu does not want to compete on that basis.

  9. Noah June 24, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Jewel using ‘dirty tricks’?
    This is not news. They have used ‘dirty tricks’ on their suppliers and vendors for years.

  10. Gil Ramirez June 24, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    …Wait…This is news? Jewel and Dominick’s have been doing this for decades. Nice reporting, Trib!