Baltimore Bancorp, the parent company of the Bank of Baltimore, announced it will release a list of its shareholders to a group of dissidents who are trying to take control of the bank holding company.
The group is led by Edwin F. Hale Sr., the owner of the Baltimore Blast soccer team and trucking and barging companies.
Hale's group has been asking for the list since it launched the proxy fight in May. Such a list could have been used to personally solicit shareholder votes for Hale's candidates for the board of directors.
Even without the list, six of Hale's group were elected to Baltimore Bancorp's board of directors. A case is now pending before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which may determine whether 10 more Hale candidates will be placed on the board.
The court also could order a new vote on the question of enlarging the board by 10 positions. In that case, the list would be useful to the Hale group in the new campaign. The bank holding company said it is prepared to hold such a vote Aug. 29.
Baltimore Bancorp has 4,300 shareholders, who hold 12.8 million shares.
"While we are not legally required to release the shareholder list, we are doing so because we believe it is what our shareholder would wish us to do, in addition to being the fair thing to do," Robert F. Comstock, chairman and chief executive officer of Baltimore Bancorp, said in a prepared statement.
Stanley Kay, vice president of Dewe Rogerson Inc., a New York proxy solicitation firm working for Hale, said the group was pleased by the release, but said the bank is still withholding other information requested by the Hale group. That information includes records on bank finances and performance necessary for the new directors to perform their duties, Kay said.
He also said the new directors wanted the list of shareholders in their capacity as board members and partly because of the possibility of a new vote.
Kay said that as recently as Tuesday the bank had refused to release the list of shareholders.