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Bribery and Corruption Casebook: The View from Under the Table by Laura Hymes, Joseph T. Wells

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CHAPTER 19

A Sweet Deal

JASON PETRUSIC

Normally when people think of M&Ms, they picture those innocuous, multicolored chocolate candies and the animated characters used to advertise them. For five managers at Lumbergh Hospitality Group (LHG), however, M&Ms represented a kickback that was a gateway to other illegal activities. Because of weakened economic conditions, many companies were forcing employees to complete more work with less staff and resources. This situation is often a formula for disaster that generally includes a lack of duty segregation and decision-making responsibilities. At LHG, a company that was not immune to this problematic business model, M&Ms represented a selfish act of gratification that ultimately shattered management’s trust in its employees.

Brenda Magee was a charismatic, visionary manager capable of inspiring employees to follow her as if she was the Pied Piper. But I always got used-car-salesman vibes from her for some reason. She was nice to me when I would come by for routine reviews and tell me what I wanted to hear, but I felt certain that as soon as I was gone she was bad-mouthing me behind my back.

Brenda was seen as the alpha staff member at Lumbergh, not only because of her tenure but also because of her close relationship with the owner, Eugene. Add the fact that she won more awards than anyone else in the company, and it was as if she could do no wrong. If you wanted to succeed at Lumbergh, Brenda was the one to emulate.

Brenda’s direct ...

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