Thursday, November 15, 2007

Jury awards $74 million to developer trying to build new mall in Los Angeles

A jury awarded developer Rick Caruso $74 million in compensatory damages Thursday on his claim that the owner of the Glendale Galleria made illegal business threats to try to prevent a restaurant chain from moving into his competing complex.

The Los Angeles County Superior Court jury found that the Galleria's owner, General Growth Properties, engaged in "fraud, malice and oppression" to undermine Caruso Affiliated's Americana at Brand retail-and-residential center in Glendale. The $264-million development is scheduled to open next to the Galleria early in 2008.

In its suit, Caruso's company alleged that the Galleria's owner tried to stop the Cheesecake Factory from signing a lease with Americana by threatening to slow down or scuttle deals between the restaurant chain and other malls owned by the real estate company.