The sad story of a multi-milllionaire's downfall, Part 1


The Great Recession of 2008 and 2009 has hurt not just the everyday working person, but also those who harbored big dreams in real estate only to see fortunes vanish as the bubble burst. In this Recession Diaries three-part special, developer Paul Pierce (whose name has been changed) shares his story of boom to bust through exclusive WalletPop interviews and excerpts from the diary he began writing hours after the biggest deal of his career fell through -- leading to losses in excess of $40 million.

On Saturday, Nov. 1, -- All Saint's Day, as he knew from his Catholic upbringing -- Paul Pierce walked into a Philadelphia Rite Aid store, plunked down two bucks and bought a notebook with a marbled red-and-white cardboard cover, the kind grade school students use to do homework.

Then he returned to his luxury home in the Society Hill neighborhood just a few blocks away, a double-lot house that developers like Pierce dream of building or buying for their families once they hit it big.

His stomach in a knot, he sat alone at the island in his spacious, modern urban kitchen, and started scrawling: