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— "Jack McGrory has never established himself as a real estate investment trust manager," says Allen, who thinks highly of the executives who resigned. "There is no reason to buy a REIT with no dividend unless you are banking on a turnaround." And that could be some time down the road, if ever.

Finally, there is Burnham Pacific Properties, which once sported well-located and well-diversified San Diego holdings. San Diego real estate scion Malin Burnham played a key role in the company, but management permitted a San Francisco real-estate magnate to gain control. At first, things were glorious. In late 1998, the powerful California Public Employees' Retirement System contributed $250 million worth of properties in a linkup with Burnham that made national headlines.

But some speculative efforts in the Bay Area and elsewhere did not bear fruit. In 1999, an Ohio entrepreneur bid $13 (later $13.50) a share for Burnham stock when it was selling for $11. The board said Burnham was worth more and set up defenses. Eventually, the company simply liquidated, and it appears that shareholders will get around $8 a share. Understandably, they are bitter; they could have received far more for their stock, and also haven't been receiving the stout income they had become used to getting regularly.

The properties are now almost entirely liquidated, and the stock has been trading for around 30 cents. Experts in the real estate investment trust industry consider it one of the major scandals of the past decade.

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