eChapman lost money, but chief got 51% raise

Finance firm's president defends increase, saying goals were met

May 01, 2001|By Bill Atkinson | Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF

eChapman.com Inc.'s chairman and president received a 51 percent increase in his pay package last year as the company lost money, its stock tumbled and it was forced to re-evaluate its business strategy, according to a proxy filed yesterday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Nathan A. Chapman Jr., the Baltimore broker who started the Internet financial services company, made $553,300 in salary and bonus last year, compared with a pay package of $366,667 in 1999.

Chapman, the company's largest shareholder with about 69 percent of the stock, defended the increase, saying, "just about everything we set out to do, we accomplished."

He noted that independent directors and the compensation committee approved the increase. He listed a number of accomplishments in 2000.

For example, three Chapman companies were consolidated into eChapman.com, which went public in June and raised about $12 million. Its stock trades on the Nasdaq stock market, and losses have been smaller than projected.

The company reported a pro forma loss of $4.48 million in 2000, the company said in a filing last month. It also revealed that its management team intended to "limit future investment" in its Web site and Internet business, and that its brokerage subsidiary, Chapman Co., had less than the minimum net capital required to meet the SEC net capital rule. The deficiency was later corrected and the company now is in compliance with the SEC rule.

Chapman said that the tough stock market and the dot-com blowup has hurt. Shares of eChapman.com closed unchanged at $2.24 yesterday, down 83 percent since the public offering.

Chapman said Kweisi Mfume, president of Baltimore-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, left the board of directors about six months ago.

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