The founding chairman of U.S. Century Bank in Miami will step down.
Ramon Rasco, who has led the board of the $938 million-asset bank since 2002, will step down at yearend, U.S. Century said Thursday. R. Alex Acosta, a former U.S. attorney for the southern district of Florida, will succeed Rasco as chairman, the company said.
Rasco is stepping down to focus on his law firm in Coral Gables, Fla., and his family, he said in a news release. His resignation was first reported in the South Florida Business Journal.
Several shareholder lawsuits have accused Rasco and other directors of using U.S. Century as a piggybank to fund outside business ventures and make below-market loans to their family and friends. U.S. Century persuaded a judge to toss out one shareholder suit against Rasco and other directors in October.
With Rasco's departure, all directors targeted by the suits have left U.S. Century's board, the South Florida Business Journal said.
"Although the bank has been a major commitment that has consumed a very large amount of my time, effort and passion over more than a decade, it is time for me to move on," Rasco said in a news release. "[I]n the last five, very difficult, years, together with the bank's board and management, I helped the bank navigate through its many challenges."
Acosta has been the dean of the law school at Florida International University in Miami since 2009. He was the U.S. Attorney for South Florida from 2005 through 2009; earlier, he was the assistant attorney general for the civil rights division for the U.S. Justice Department. He also clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito when Alito was a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals.
U.S. Century is one of the largest troubled banks in the country, and was hit hard by the Florida housing bust. It agreed this year to a recapitalization deal that would give a controlling stake in the company to a group led by Miami real estate investors.
Under the deal, the investor group would redeem at a substantial discount U.S. Century's $50.2 balance with the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The deal would also clear about $95 million in bad loans off U.S. Centurys books.
But the recapitalization is on hold pending regulatory approval, and its closing deadline is Dec. 31.
U.S. Century agreed to sell itself to C1 Bank in St. Petersburg, Fla., last year, but that deal fell through because of difficulties related to repayment of U.S. Century's debt to Tarp.