Phylis M. Esposito, a principal at Artemis Capital Group Inc. and one of the firm's founding members, has left the firm following a dispute over management issues, executives at the firm confirmed yesterday.

Esposito, who could not be reached for comment, is on a leave of absence, said Robin L. Wiessmann, a principal at the women-owned bond firm.

Esposito will sever her relationship with the firm, including her ownership position, sometime in the near future, Wiessmann said.

It is nuclear if Esposito chose to leave Artemis, founded in 1990 by six women who were Wall Street municipal bond professionals, or if she was forced out.

"To be frank, we had some differences regarding the management of the firm," Wiessmann said. The decision to sever the relationship was made last week, Wiessmann said.

Of the six principals who founded Artemis, five came from Goldman, Sachs & Co: Esposito, Wiessmann, Aimee S. Brown, Deborah A. Buresh, and Roberta B. Connolly. Sandra A. Alworth came from Citibank. The firm has expanded in the last few years, opening regional offices in Dallas, Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Boca Raton.

There are now three founding principals left at the firm: Wiessmann, Brown, and Alworth.

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