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Manhattan, New York (July 2006)
Melvin’s Madison Avenue Office…
It was only mid-morning and Gretchen was already busy at her desk, preparing various reports for Melvin Porter’s review. His primary focus that day revolved around several resort renovations. Under Bette’s supervision, the Times Square remodel was a first-class project and had attracted many corporate and high-end clients. The San Francisco project was also a major renovation that included the construction of an elevated platform in the hotel center atrium that housed a bar, restaurant, lounge, meeting rooms and market. It was a huge undertaking, but Bette managed it perfectly, on time and on budget.
Gretchen’s concentration was eventually interrupted by Blake Ward, the interim Chief Financial Officer of Tellus Group. Blake stepped into the position when Cam suddenly dropped his letter of resignation on Melvin’s desk, and within weeks under Melvin’s orders, started a clandestine audit of the company’s finances.
“Good morning, Gretchen, is Mr. Porter available? It’s critical I see him immediately.”
“Good morning, Mr. Ward. Let me see if he can see you,” Gretchen replied. After buzzing Melvin, she quickly ushered Blake into Mr. Porter’s office.
“Mr. Ward, what’s so pressing?” Melvin said as he continued scanning the construction reports on his desk.
“Mr. Porter, I just completed the audit as you directed, and I found some disturbing information that I believe you should know right away.”
“Please, sit down,” Melvin directed Blake to one of the guest chairs in front of his desk. “Now tell me what you found.”
“We’ve uncovered what appears to be a significant embezzlement scheme that involves your son.” Blake handed Melvin a detailed audit report, which contained a number of supporting documents similar to those Bette used to piece together Cam’s involvement.
Melvin scanned the executive summary and a few of the supporting documents and noticed Cam’s name, along with Victor Padula’s, on all transactions associated with V.P. Construction and Suite Hospitality. “How much and for how long?” Melvin succinctly asked.
“$1.25 million over almost two years, but there’s an interesting twist.”
“Two months after young Mr. Porter’s resignation, Miss Porter transferred that same amount from her personal account to the company’s general fund.”
“What does Elizabeth have to do with this?”
“I don’t know. I’m not even sure the two are connected. The transaction was only marked as ‘repayment’.”