A state judge has dealt a stinging blow to a California hedge fund that's trying to make a Massachusetts thrift sell.
Late Tuesday, Justice Hiller B. Zobel ordered attorneys for Stephen H. Gordon of Genesis Financial Partners to withdraw his public claim that the judge had rejected Central Co-operative Bank's case against Genesis.
Genesis, based in Newport Beach, had sued Somerville-based Central in January to obtain a copy of its shareholder list. Central countersued, claiming Genesis had not demonstrated it was a legitimate shareholder and accusing it of using insider information.
Late last week Judge Zobel, of Middlesex County Superior Court, dismissed the suit and counterclaim. And on Monday Mr. Gordon called news organizations, claiming that all litigation involving it and Central had been thrown out of court.
Mr. Gordon hailed the dismissal as a victory for Genesis in its months- long battle with the thrift, saying the ruling put an end to the delaying tactics advocated by Central's outside counsel, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. His comments were published Tuesday in a newsletter, SNL Daily ThriftWatch.
But according to the court clerk's office, the judge had ruled "without prejudice" on a technicality, not the merits. Such a ruling lets either party refile.
Justice Zobel had dismissed Genesis' suit and Central's counterclaim because 30 days earlier the parties had notified the court that they had agreed to settle, the clerk's office said.
In court late Tuesday, Central accused Mr. Gordon of making false statements. Genesis made "an irresponsible misuse of the court's process," said John Doherty, Central's president and chief executive, in a press statement.
The judge verbally ordered Genesis to "issue a retraction correcting the record," the thrift's statement said.
Central provided a proposed "public retraction" for Genesis to issue stating that "no judgment has been entered on Central Bank's counterclaims."
The $310 million-asset thrift said it is still "vigorously pursuing its claims against Genesis."
On Wednesday, Mr. Gordon declined to discuss Tuesday's order, and his attorneys could not be reached for comment.
But on Monday he had said he no longer needed the shareholder list, and no longer planned to pursue any other legal action against Central. The long legal brouhaha has boosted shareholder awareness of Genesis' concerns, he said.
"I don't need the shareholder list" anymore, said Mr. Gordon, who is president of Genesis's general partner, Gen Fin Inc. "Shareholders have been communicated with. If anything, the bank helped me out."
The thrift has refused to schedule its annual meeting until the fight with Genesis is resolved.