I found Brodin standing at a folding table loaded with blueprints and the remains of a large fast-food meal. He was wearing an immaculate suit and a battered white hard hat that made the suit seem out of place and talking to a man, also with a white hard hat, who looked as if he dug holes for a living. Brodin smiled broadly and slapped the man on the shoulder as if they were both teammates on the same basketball team. The man didn’t seem happy about it and left. Brodin bent to the blueprints and studied them while popping french fries into his mouth one at a time. It seemed awfully late for lunch or awfully early for dinner, but what did I know? It’s not like I follow a standard schedule myself.
Brodin didn’t see me until I was standing next to him.
“Jeezuz, McKenzie.” He was visibly startled. “Where did you come from?”
“Mr. Brodin,” I said, “I just came from Casa del Lago. Mary Pat Mulally said she was going to have her lawyer take a quick look at the papers you sent over before she signed them.”
He shook his head. “I don’t like doing business with that woman. If it weren’t for Riley…”
I offered my hand. He shook it reluctantly.
“What do you want?” he asked.
“A few minutes of your time if you can spare them.”
Brodin popped another french fry in his mouth. “I’m a busy man, McKenzie.”
I thought it would be smart to move him over to my side quickly, so I waved my hand at the construction site.
“Brodin Plaza,” I said. “Sounds impressive.”
“Oh, it will be.”
“A little late in the year to start building, though, isn’t it? I mean in Minnesota.”
“No, no, no. This is the best time. With a fall start, excavation and foundations can be completed before freeze-up. The aboveground building core and structure can be erected in the winter, and the skin goes up in the spring. Used to be we’d have to wait because the old masonry skins—brick, plaster, stone—they were very difficult to work with in the cold. The newer skins, though, we can put those up almost anytime. And with a mid-September start—that’s when we broke ground—there’s a better market for competitive bids from subcontractors that are winding down from the busy summer season and are looking for one more project to round out the year.”
He ate another fry and bent to the blueprints. I bent with him. It was all pencil scratches to me, yet to Brodin it could have been the design for the tomb of Tutankhamun.
“It’s going to be beautiful,” he said. “Just beautiful. Six stories. Ninety-four thousand square feet. Right here—parking ramp, four hundred stalls, connected to the main building with a skyway. Lake is here; trees, park benches. I’ll be moving Lake Minnetonka Community to the ground floor; the drive-through will be right here. There’ll also be space for a restaurant—we’re negotiating with three different national chains and an independent. Caribou has already signed on to operate a coffeehouse. In fact, we’re forty-four percent occupied and the building won’t even be finished for another fifteen months. It’s all mine, too. Thirty-four-point-five million dollars, not counting tenant fit-out and some soft costs. Not a dime of it is Muehlenhaus money. Not a nickel.”
“How about Navarre?” I asked. “Is any of his money invested?”
Brodin’s head came up. His eyelids blinked at me like the shutter of a camera.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” he asked. He grabbed a few more french fries and washed them down with soda.
“Just curious,” I said.
“I resent your manner.”
That’s all right, I don’t mind, my inner voice said. Fortunately, I was smart enough to keep it to myself (and that hasn’t always been the case). I needed information; I needed the man to talk, and antagonizing him wasn’t going to get it done.
“Mr. Brodin, I don’t mean to be rude,” I said. “You’re a serious man and serious things are happening. I need your help.”
“Have you heard about Mrs. Rogers?”
“Did you hear that Anne Rehmann was assaulted in her real estate office?”
Brodin reached for what I assumed was a chicken tender, dipped it in barbecue sauce, and took a bite.
“I don’t think I know her,” he said.
“The man who attacked them was seen outside Riley’s building this morning.”
His eyes grew wide.
“It was just dumb luck that I was there to stop him from attacking your daughter.”
He took another bite of chicken, and it occurred to me that Brodin was compulsive in the same way an alcoholic was compulsive. The difference was that instead of trying to drink his troubles away, he ate them.
“This person is definitely looking for Navarre,” I said. “I hope you can help me find him first, find him before any more damage is done.”
Brodin set down the remains of the chicken and wiped his large hands with a napkin.
“Juan Carlos Navarre.” He pronounced the name slowly and carefully like a child identifying the thing he disliked most. “Mrs. Rogers introduced us at the club. He told me he was a Spanish national, that he was moving to Minnesota. He said he wanted to transfer funds from his bank. He asked if I could accommodate him and I did.”
“A bank in Madrid?”
“I’m not at liberty to say.”
“I have a duty of confidentiality to my customers.”
“I have five million dollars. Can you at least tell me if it’s more or less than that?”
“Confidentiality is not just confined to account transactions. It extends to all the information the bank has about the customer. And McKenzie, you’re worth four-point-two million dollars.”