Archive for Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Topeka company wins board battle

August 13, 2003

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A dispute over control of a Topeka-based life insurance company has been resolved.

First American Capital Corp. announced Tuesday that a Shawnee County District Court judge has allowed a group of corporate directors, proposed by the company's management team, to take office. The directors include two Lawrence residents, former Kansas Senate President Bud Burke and former Lawrence mayor Ed Carter.

Control of the company's board of directors had been an issue since early June when two founders and former officers of the company, Rick Meyer and Michael Fink, began pushing for a new slate of directors.

On Tuesday, Harlan Priddle, the company's chairman, said Meyer and Fink's proxy contest was funded by Citizens Inc., an Austin, Texas-based insurance company. Priddle said the Texas company sought control of First American, which has about $18 million in assets and about 5,000 shareholders.

Attempts to reach officials with Citizens were unsuccessful, but the company's Web site said part of its corporate strategy included acquiring small-to-medium size life insurance companies whose shareholders were willing to trade their shares for shares of Citizens, which is traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Priddle, a former state secretary of agriculture and secretary of commerce, said the Topeka company reached a settlement with Fink and Meyer to dismiss their lawsuit against First American. First American also agreed to dismiss its countersuit against Meyer and Fink. As part of the settlement, Citizens also agreed not to acquire any part of First American for at least two years.

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