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Eddy Elfenbein submits: I’ve followed Mills Corp. (MLS) for many years. The company is a real estate investment trust that owns several gigantic mall complexes.

To show you what a dramatic impact the tech bubble had, investment money was being drawn away from conservative investments. In December 1999, Mills Corp.’s stock got down to $15.31 a share, even though it was paying $0.503 a share in dividends. That comes to 13.8%.

But as the tech market fizzled, the real estate market took off. By mid-2005, Mills Corp. broke $60 a share. Today, the company is facing bankruptcy. An internal investigation has revealed accounting errors and executive misconduct.

Accounting mistakes included a failure to record a foreign currency gain, miscalculations of executive bonuses and a mix-up between Mills revenue and revenue generated by joint ventures, the company said.

Mills also failed to properly account for its Empire Tract property in the Meadowlands, which the company sold to the state as part of winning the bidding to develop Xanadu project, the filing said.

Those errors “reflect a lack of competence and in some instances a failure of communication and inadequate internal controls,” Mills said.

The stock was down about 15% yesterday.

MLS 1-yr chart
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MLS 1-yr chart