CHICAGO-The San Diego-based law firm Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP has filed a class action lawsuit against General Growth Properties Inc. in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Defendants also include current and former GGP officers John Bucksbaum, Bernard Freibaum, Joel Bayer, Edmund Hoyt, Jean Schlemmer and Robert A. Michaels. The suit, which references recent management moves and announcements by the company, claims to represent stockholders in the company for the period of April 30, 2008 to Oct. 26, 2008. The filer is E. B. Gorham, a stockholder, though the law firm has stipulated that anyone else wishing to serve as lead plaintiff can notify the court within the next 60 days.

In late October, GGP said it was replacing its CEO and president with two new hires, Adam Metz and Thomas Nolan Jr., respectively, who will serve in interim positions. Former CEO John Bucksbaum will continue to serve as chairman and former president Robert Michaels moved to COO. In that announcement, the company admitted that an “affiliate of a Bucksbaum family trust” advanced unsecured loans to Michaels and former director and CFO Bernard Freibaum, who is no longer with the company. The $10 million loan to Michaels is paid, the company says, but Freibaum still owes $80 million of the $90 million he received, said company officials in a statement.

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