Court for Nebraska to block the nominations of Thomas J. Burcham and Matthew P. Wagner to its board.

Mr. Burcham and Mr. Wagner were nominated by Franklin Mutual Advisers, a Short Hills, N.J.-based fund that has been pressuring Commercial Federal to sell. Franklin owns a 7.9% stake in the $12.8 billion-asset thrift.

Commercial Federal said Mr. Burcham and Mr. Wagner are ineligible because its bylaws prohibit any senior executive of a competing institution from serving on its board.

Mr. Burcham was chairman and chief executive officer of Missouri Bank and Trust Co. in Kansas City from 1985 until August of this year. Mr. Wagner is president and chief executive officer of Western Bancorp in Newport Beach, Calif.

Commercial Federal operates in eight states, including Missouri. Western is being sold to Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp, which operates in some of Commercial Federal's markets. It is unclear whether Mr. Wagner would remain with U.S. Bancorp after the deal closes, but a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission stated that Mr. Wagner would relinquish his post at Western if named to Commercial Federal's board.

Franklin, the thrift's largest shareholder, has been pushing for Commercial Federal's sale since August because it does not believe the company's stock price will ever reflect its value if it remains independent.

Commercial Federal, which sued last week, is not challenging the nomination of Franklin's other nominee, George R. Zoffinger.

-- Matt Andrejczak

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