Shareholders file lawsuit against bank

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National Trial Firm Robins Kaplan LLP says that a group of 16 employee-shareholders of Bremer Bank filed a complaint against three Trustees of the Otto Bremer Trust for breach of fiduciary duty and shareholder oppression.

“Today’s action seeks to stop the Trustees’ attempted seizure of the employee-shareholders’ voting rights,” said Richard Allyn, partner at Robins Kaplan. “For the last 30 years, the employees of Bremer Bank have controlled its destiny as majority voting shareholders, and they have nurtured and grown the bank into a landmark financial institution that serves local communities throughout Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Our clients allege that the Trustees’ efforts to seize voting control of the bank away from its employees and force a sale is unlawful and contrary to Otto Bremer’s vision for the bank to serve local communities and return the bank’s profits to those communities through grants, gifts, and charitable work.”

The complaint filed in Ramsey County Court District alleges that the defendants breached their fiduciary duty through “manipulative transfers” of shares to third parties.

The complaint also alleges that the actions of the defendants don’t act in the best interest of the bank, its shareholders or the community.

In a statement, Otto Bremer Trust said, “We believe very strongly that the bank’s employees are the integral component of Bremer’s culture, its successes to date and its future. And while we disagree with the substance of today’s legal filing, we share the plantiffs’ obvious concern for what comes next for the bank and its people. For that reason, we strongly believe that looking at strategic options for the bank is good for the institution, good for its employees, good for the people and communities who benefit from the philanthropy Otto Bremer made possible and good for everyone who – like the Trust – is a shareholder in the enterprise.”