NANA files complaint against dissenting shareholders

Posted: Monday, April 03, 2000

KOTZEBUE (AP) -- The Native regional corporation for northwest Alaska has filed a complaint against dissident shareholders who tried to recall the corporation's board of directors.

NANA Regional Corp. lodged the complaint with the state Division of Banking, Securities and Corporations. It claimed that a petition being circulated by the shareholders group was misleading and violated the state's proxy regulations.

The complaint cites four people by name: Grant Ballot, Jay Tony Jones, Dean Westlake and Tina Harris.

Harris said the shareholders were just trying to exercise their rights within the corporation.

''It's real disheartening when your own corporation goes against you,'' Harris said. ''If we did violate anything, it wasn't intentional. We tried to work with NANA, but they wouldn't work with us, so we went ahead with the petition.''

Westlake said NANA has ignored shareholder concerns over a range of issues, including employment for shareholders, education and training opportunities, and land use policies.

NANA claims that a petition to hold a special meeting to recall the board mailed to shareholders at the beginning of this year contained several misleading and false statements.

Among the complaints, NANA said that at least two of the 23 people named to replace the current board were not aware their names were listed on the petition, said Jacquelyn Luke, NANA's attorney.

The petition also sought to require NANA to get shareholder approval before it could sell any of its land. In its complaint, NANA asserted the board of directors is responsible for managing the business of the corporation.

NANA has requested that the state void all signatures collected so far and require the petitioners to issue a corrected statement.

In addition, the corporation wants dissidents to file any future petition with the state prior to distributing it to shareholders for the next three years.

''There are problems with the petition, and all we ask is that they correct the problems and refile the petition,'' Luke said. ''We're not trying to stop shareholders from calling special meetings. We just want to make sure that our shareholders are getting the true story.''

Eileen Buchanan, securities examiner with the Division of Banking, Securities and Corporations, said she had received written responses from the defendants and would make a decision soon.

If the group did violate state regulations, its members could face fines up to $5,000.

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