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Park Rapids surveyor charged with stealing trade secrets from former employer

A well-known Park Rapids surveyor and developer faces felony theft charges in a case that has elements of competitive espionage to it.

Thomas Miller, 64, has been charged with downloading the database of Arro Surveying, his former employer, and taking it and a client list to Lindow Surveying and Mapping, where he is now employed.

Miller is a fixture at Hubbard County Board of Adjustment and Planning Commission meetings, where his projects and clients are frequently presented. He is well respected by those boards and the County Board of Commissioners, with which he has done business on a regular basis.

The information is valued at $165,000. Miller also faces a charge of theft of a trade secret from Arro.

"Espionage? I don't think it's quite that romantic," said Miller's attorney Aaron Morrison of Minneapolis, a member of a leading criminal defense firm.

"Mr. Miller, of course denies doing a anything wrong," Morrison said. "He didn't do anything wrong here and we'll wait to see how it works out in court, but I'm quite confident in the end there will be a different spin to it than what's in the complaint."

Morrison said there is a "tremendous history" between the rival companies. Founder Kevin Lindow left Arro Surveying in February.

Each felony carries a maximum of 10 years and/or a $50,000 fine upon conviction.