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Cousins Properties Hints At Undiscovered Mold Trouble
Office tower owner appears to be telegraphing future mold related litigation.
February 10, 2023
Cousins Properties (CUZ), a sunbelt office tower REIT, appears fixated on mold. It’s not just the number of times it’s mentioned in the latest annual report— four versus one the prior three years and no mention at all five years ago— it’s how the firm discloses mold risk.

In the first instance, Cousins reminds investors mold is a product of excessive moisture accumulation in buildings. Investors might construe the new language that comes next as boilerplate or something more prophetic:

“...particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or is not addressed over a period of time.”

Next, just in case mold might be growing in one its properties, Cousins reminds investors of the legal risk posed by mold:

“In addition, the presence of significant mold or other airborne contaminants could expose us to liability from our tenants, employees of our tenants, or others if property damage or personal injury occurs.”

Lastly, after initially assuring it knows of no mold trouble Cousins comes full circle, once again hinting at what it implies are yet to be discovered problems:

“We are not currently aware of any environmental liabilities at locations that we believe could have a material adverse effect on our business, assets, financial condition, or results of operations. Unidentified environmental liabilities could arise, however, and could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.”
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