The way was cleared Friday for dissident shareholder Jona Goldrich, a wealthy Los Angeles real estate developer, to mount another challenge for a seat on the board of directors of Western Federal Savings & Loan Assn.
Goldrich received enough votes for a directorship at Western Federal's annual meeting 13 months ago, but the nomination was declared invalid after the Marina del Rey-based S&L said that he and two other investors had misstated the size of their stock holdings.
The two sides have now agreed a temporary halt to litigation that arose during last year's proxy fight, the S&L announced Friday. The accord also allows Goldrich to seek a board seat again without the validity of his nomination being challenged.
This means that Goldrich not only plans to run again but may seek to place a candidate of his own on the board as well, said Terry Christensen, Goldrich's attorney. Goldrich will also sponsor a shareholder resolution seeking to prevent management from enacting anti-takeover provisions, Christensen said.
Terms of the accord call for the annual meeting to be delayed until next Jan. 27, when two directors on the seven-seat board will be up for reelection.
Meanwhile, Western Federal officials say they feel confident that they can withstand a second challenge from Goldrich. The S&L is making more money today because interest rates are falling and its stock price has nearly doubled from year-ago levels, President Robert B. Thompson said.
Goldrich owns just under 10% of Western Federal's stock and is seeking permission from federal banking regulators to buy another 15%.
Western Federal has assets of $1.43 billion and earned $4.5 million in its last fiscal year ended June 30. It is California's 33rd-largest savings and loan.