By: Mark Fitzgerald FIVE TOP MARKETING executives of the York (Pa.) Newspaper Co. used company time, equipment and confidential information to operate a competing direct-mail advertising business, the newspaper firm charged in a lawsuit filed Dec. 6. In just eight pages, the lawsuit al-leges an astounding story of corporate treachery at the highest levels of the company's advertising and marketing departments. York Newspaper, the firm administering the joint operating agreement of the York Daily Record, York Dispatch and York Sunday News, accused vice president of sales and marketing Smith "Sandy" Purdum II and four other ex-ecutives of using the company's computers, software and confidential subscription lists "for the production of proposals, billing statements, copy layout, fliers, brochures and other direct mailing literature at [the company's] expense and without remuneration to [the firm]." York Newspaper said the five targeted current and potential newspaper advertisers with their cheaper direct-mail operation. In addition, the lawsuit accused the five of selling subscriber lists to "com-petitors of plaintiff, including, but not limited to, direct-mailing businesses." The lawsuit also said two executives used company funds to acquire a laptop computer and software, which they used in their homes. Named in the lawsuit in addition to Purdum were the following: ? William Marks, director of mar-keting research; ? Denton "Ray" Koons, display classified manager; ? Charles Preston Jr., advertising art director; ? Darlene Lighty, administrative assistant to the vice president of sales and marketing. York Newspaper had fired all the executives without public explanation Nov. 29. Company lawyers went to court Dec. 6 seeking a preliminary injunction against the five executives, but the judge recused himself because of un-specified previous involvement with two parties in the lawsuit, according to a story in the Harrisburg, Pa., Patriot. According to court papers, the firm is asking for an immediate halt to the direct-mail business, a written account of its operations and transactions, and return of all company-owned equipment. The lawsuit said Marks and Preston acquired a laptop computer and software. No specific damages are re-quested in the lawsuit, which said, "The monetary value of this harm cannot be definitely ascertained at this time." Purdum did not return a phone mes-sage left at his home. Preston and Lightly have unpub-lished numbers and could not be reached for comment. A message left on the answering machine at the num-ber for Koons was not returned. Marks referred questions to his attorney, William Poole, who did not return phone messages for comment.