Officials of a New Jersey thrift rejected a proposal by a hostile shareholders group to support each other's candidates for two open seats on the thrift's board.
The shareholders group, led by activist investor Lawrence B. Seidman, had offered in June to support the nomination of Arthur J. Abramowitz to the board of Cherry Hill-based IBS Financial Corp. Mr. Abramowitz, a bankruptcy lawyer whose firm is the thrift's general counsel, is one of two management nominees for the seven-member board.
In exchange, Mr. Seidman's group wanted management to back a shareholders' nominee for the other vacant seat. The nominee was not identified.
But officials of the $750 million-asset thrift said "no." IBS chairman and chief executive officer Joseph M. Ochman Sr. said in an interview last week that IBS first wants to know who Mr. Seidman wants to nominate. And he said Mr. Seidman has refused to sign a so-called standstill agreement, promising not to wage another proxy fight next year.
"He wants everything totally his way," Mr. Ochman said. "Every proposal we've offered to him he's rejected. The basketball is back in his court, and we're waiting for him to put it up in the air again."
Mr. Seidman was out of the country and could not be reached for comment.
Mr. Ochman said IBS officials may consider some form of compromise with Mr. Seidman depending on the outcome of an appeal pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Philadelphia. The thrift is challenging a court decision that barred it from reducing the number of positions on its board.