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There's Gold in Them Thar Malls!

CARL KNUDSON

Thomas Bourne's credentials were impeccable. He and his conglomerate, Emerge Markets, owned and operated ten large malls throughout the United States, plus several others in foreign countries. Thomas had a degree in finance and an M.B.A. and had spent his professional career developing an impressive network of connections. He was in his mid-40s, married with two beautiful daughters whom he showered with love and affection, and his trophy wife, Greta, was a major stockholder in his business. The Bournes lived in a $3 million townhome in upscale Beverly Hills, California, and traveled extensively throughout Europe.

However, Thomas had a dark side: He was arrogant, dismissive and short-tempered with his office staff and often launched into obscenity-laced tirades. The turmoil in the property management arm of his company was constant. It was the classic hostile work environment.

When It Rains, It Pours

World Wide Insurance Inc. (World Wide) received a claim from Thomas Bourne two months after a storm had purportedly caused severe damage to the Border Towne Mall, located in a small community 60 miles east of Los Angeles, California. Border Towne was one of the many malls owned and operated by Emerge Markets. The timing of Bourne's claim was strange in that the policy on the mall, written by one of World Wide's Los Angeles consultants, had ...

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