L.I. Shareholder Meeting Cancelled after Charges Fly

By Epstein, Jonathan D. | American Banker, September 19, 1995 | Go to article overview

L.I. Shareholder Meeting Cancelled after Charges Fly


Epstein, Jonathan D., American Banker


Suffolk Bancorp has canceled a shareholder meeting and filed a protest with regulators after shareholder North Fork Bancorp. publicly accused it of ignoring securities laws.

Suffolk took the unusual move after North Fork, a competitor on New York's Long Island, criticized it for not filing its proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission before sending it to shareholders.

Suffolk, based in Riverhead, said it discovered that the electronic filing of its proxy statement with the SEC hadn't been completed because of miscommunication between the company's filing agent and its SEC counsel.

The discovery was pressed by North Fork president and chief executive John Adam Kanas, who fired off a letter to Suffolk officials last week accusing them of ignoring federal laws.

But while acknowledging their mistake with the proxy filing, Suffolk officials stressed that they were not responding to Mr. Kanas, and reacted angrily to the rest of his letter.

"The board of directors takes exception to the remainder of Mr. Kanas' letter, which it considers irresponsible, also reckless in its attacks on the character of Suffolk's directors," said a press release from Suffolk.

In the letter, Mr. Kanas charged that Suffolk officials violated other securities laws by failing to disclose enough relevant information in the proxy. He claimed that the company's directors are acting to protect "self dealing transactions" worth "hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees" in 1994. …

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