General Growth Properties Inc., the second-largest shopping mall owner in the U.S., asked for court permission to pay as much as $11.6m in incentive bonuses to 12 executives including Chief Executive Officer Adam Metz and Chief Operating Officer Thomas Nolan.

The funds would come from an existing incentive plan the company wants to amend, as well as a new 'key employee incentive plan,' according to papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.

'Without the employee incentive programs, employees’ total direct compensation potential will remain substantially below market and the effect on their incentives will be devastating,' wrote attorneys from General Growth’s two law firms, Kirkland & Ellis and Weil Gotshal & Manges.