Baltimore Bancorp, the target of a bitter takeover fight, was scheduled to reconvene its annual meeting today for one hour to receive the final shareholder votes.
The company, which is the parent of the Bank of Baltimore, extended shareholder voting past its annual meeting last Wednesday
The takeover effort is being led by Edwin F. Hale Sr., a Baltimore truck and shipping executive and owner of the Baltimore Blast soccer team. He and 15 other shareholders are trying to win positions on the board of Baltimore Bancorp.
In a proxy fight, a group tries to persuade shareholders to support its slate of candidates by sending in their votes before the annual meeting or casting them at the meeting.
The annual s meeting was scheduled to reopen at 11 a.m. today and adjourn at noon. Today's session was only for voting and no other business was to be conducted, according to Jerome P. Baroch, senior executive vice president for Baltimore Bancorp.
The counting of the votes will not be completed until later this week or early next week, Baroch said. The count is complicated because shareholders got three separate proxy cards and they are allowed to revoke previous votes.
Dissident stockholders have accused management of extending the voting to persuade stockholders to cast their ballots for current directors. But Baltimore Bancorp management said the Securities and Exchange Commission threatened enforcement action unless the company extended the voting.
Baltimore Bancorp said the SEC demanded the extension to give shareholders more time to return proxy cards that were sent out the week before the annual meeting and to allow adequate dissemination of information about a Federal Reserve Board decision. The decision allowed the dissidents to pursue the proxy fight.
The dissidents filed a suit on Friday in U.S. District Court 'N challenging the extension.