Former Reliance CEO Sues Bank, FDIC Over Back Pay

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The former chief executive of Reliance Bank in St. Louis is suing for salary and benefits he says the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. unfairly prevented him from receiving.

Jerry Von Rohr filed a complaint on Tuesday in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri asking the bank for $405,000 in back pay and benefits, the amount he would have earned in the year when, he claims, he was still under contract despite having been fired by the bank.

He is also suing the FDIC, alleging the regulator falsely told the bank that paying him this money would violate conditions of the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Von Rohr's complaint asks the court to clear up the question of whether this payment is legal.

The Treasury Department issued rules that restrict so-called golden parachute payments by companies that received Tarp money. Reliance Bancshares, the $1 billion-asset parent company of Reliance Bank, took $40 million in Tarp funds in February 2009.

Von Rohr founded Reliance Bank in 1999 and was president, chairman and CEO of the bank and its parent company through 2010, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Allan Ivie replaced him as president and CEO of the bank and chairman of the holding company in 2010, but Von Rohr remained chairman of the holding company until September 2011.

The suit claims that Von Rohr's contract with Reliance extended through September 2012, and demands one year's salary of $338,000, plus the value of other perks including the use of a company car, the cost of a country club membership and 401(k) contributions.

The $936 million-asset Reliance Bank has been under regulatory pressure for years, and is operating under a consent order with the FDIC. It lost more than $80 million from 2009 to 2011, according to FDIC data.

The board hired a consultant in early 2012 to help improve its finances and that move appears to be paying off. Through the first nine months of 2012 it lost $131,000, compared to a loss of $16 million for the same period in 2011.

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