A showdown is brewing in North Carolina between the state's governor and a former community banker who is now under indictment.
Gov. Jim Hunt is calling on D. Mark Boyd, former chairman and chief executive officer of Lincolnton-based Carolina First Bancshares, to resign immediately from an advisory state banking commission. Mr. Boyd was indicted this month on four felony counts of securities fraud in connection with Carolina First's pending acquisition of Community Bank and Trust Co., a $101 million-asset bank in Marion, N.C.
But Mr. Boyd said he has no plan to step down until he gets his day in court. "I feel everyone's long-run interests will be best served for me to resign soon," he wrote in a letter to the governor. "I plan on this being accomplished when I can communicate my side of the story to the general public."
Mr. Boyd relinquished his posts at $563 million-asset Carolina First after the indictments were handed down. He is charged with buying shares of Community Bank and Trust while Carolina First was negotiating to buy it.
In his letter, Mr. Boyd insisted that "no investigative or law enforcement authority" had contacted him before the indictment, and he maintained that a lawyer had told him the stock purchase was legal.
But the governor is standing firm. "The governor's office notified Mr. Boyd a week or two ago that we thought it would be in the best interest of both the commission and the state for him to step down," said Sean Walsh, press secretary to Mr. Hunt. "That continues to be his position."
The commission is a 15-member body that advises Hal D. Lingerfelt, the state's top bank regulator. Mr. Boyd, once one of five active bankers on the commission, was appointed in 1993 and reappointed last year by Gov. Hunt. His term is to expire in April 2001.
Mr. Boyd already had a reputation as a maverick among the state's bankers.
"He's the type of person you go into a deal with thinking you are trading coal for coal, but he ends up with diamonds," said a North Carolina banker who asked not to be named.
Last year, after Carolina First's offer to buy Peoples Bank in Newton, N.C., was rejected by Peoples' management, he sent letters directly to shareholders. This effort also failed.
And this year Mr. Boyd placed ads in newspapers urging the sale of Bank of Union. The Monroe, N.C., bank did sell itself-but not to Carolina First. Instead, it chose First Charter National Bank of Concord.
Mr. Boyd did not return repeated calls placed to his other business, a Lincolnton oil company. James T. Burt 3d, president of Carolina First, also did not return calls.
However, in a statement released at the time of the indictment, Mr. Burt said, "We have every confidence that once all the facts have been ascertained, Mr. Boyd will be returned to his position at the bank."