Mills Cuts 70 Jobs, Trims Building Projects

By Terence O'Hara
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 6, 2006

Mills Corp. cut another 70 jobs last week, decimating its development division and laying off the division's longtime chief as the Arlington real estate company significantly scales back the number of new projects it will build.

The cuts, disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing yesterday, bring to more than 160 the number of jobs eliminated since January, when Mills halted work on 10 development projects and admitted accounting errors that will lead it to restate its results for the past five years. Since then, the SEC has launched a formal investigation of the company and Mills has lost billions in market value as doubts have grown about the quality of its accounting.

A Mills spokesman did not return phone calls last night.

The company will take a $3 million charge to pay for this round of layoffs. In February, Mills said it would lay off 77 people, taking a $1.2 million charge.

Mills employs about 1,200 people, 500 of whom are in the Washington area.

Included in the cuts is James F. Dausch, 63, who has been with Mills since 1995 and managed construction and development, including many of the 42 regional shopping malls in Mills' portfolio in the United States and Europe. Dausch received nearly $1 million in severance and will continue to work as a consultant on the Xanadu mall, a $1.3 billion project in the Meadowlands, N.J.

Mills also provided more information about the departure of Kenneth R. Parent, the former chief operating officer. Last year, Mills said he would retire. Yesterday, Mills said that Parent was terminated and that it hadn't determined how much, if any, severance he will receive. Parent, who was the company's chief financial officer during much of the period it is now restating, will receive $20,000 a month "for making himself available on business issues" until his severance is worked out.

Also yesterday, Mills said it would make Richard J. Nadeau its new chief financial officer, and he will "transition" into the job now held by M.J. Morrow. Nadeau, 51, who was hired March 27 as executive vice president of finance and accounting, was previously the chief financial officer of Colt Defense LLC, a gunmaker. Mills did not say what would happen with Morrow, who has been chief financial officer since 2003.

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