Joseph Stilwell is continuing to aggressively attack Harvard Illinois Bancorp (HARI) as part of his effort to get his nominee on the board.
The activist investor is now accusing management of nepotism because Brian Rebhorn, one of the $170 million-asset company's board nominees, is the son of a retiring director.
See more of American Banker's People blog.
"The younger man's other qualifications seem to center around being the store manager of Buck Bros.," Stilwell wrote in a letter to shareholders, referring to a supplier of agricultural and landscaping equipment and supplies.
"Being a bank director requires a degree of financial or legal sophistication," Stilwell says. "Without passing judgment about this man's character or his interest in serving a community institution, one can surely say that he's not the most qualified individual to be a director of our bank."
Harvard Illinois disagrees, stating in its preliminary proxy for the May 22 annual meeting that it believes its nominees, including Rebhorn, possess "the background and experience that make them valuable contributors to the success of the company."
Rebhorn, who has been a Buck store manager for at least five years, specifically "brings valuable business and leadership skills and financial acumen to the board," Harvard Illinois added. His appointment would further an "objective of maintaining a membership of experienced and dedicated individuals with diverse backgrounds, perspectives, skills and other qualities that are beneficial to the company."
Stilwell, who owns more than 9% of Harvard Illinois' stock, has been fighting hard to get Mark Saladin, a lawyer at Zanck, Coen, Wright & Saladin, appointed. Saladin lost by less than 141,000 votes last year.
The activist investor recently gained attention for including a photo of former Harvard Illinois Chairman William Schack snoozing behind a table during a recess at the company's 2013 annual meeting. Harvard Illinois tersely responded by stating that it would avoid waging its side of the proxy contest "in the gutter."