North Fork Bancorp unveiled Thursday a list of five people it plans to nominate as directors of Dime Bancorp as part of its attempt to take over the New York thrift.
Melville, N.Y.-based North Fork has also demanded that Dime call a special meeting of shareholders at a date well in advance of Dime's regular annual meeting next spring.
North Fork's nominees are former Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro; investment stars Muriel Siebert, A. Robert Towbin, and Warren Marcus; and investor Josiah Austin.
John Adam Kanas, chairman and chief executive officer of North Fork, has vowed to press his $1.9 billion unsolicited offer for Dime even though Dime's management and board have repeatedly rejected the bid, calling it "inadequate."
In July, Mr. Kanas got what he considered to be a major victory. Seventy percent of the Dime shareholders who voted at Dime's annual meeting took North Fork's advice and withheld authority to elect Dime's slate of director nominees, which included Dime's chief executive officer, Lawrence J. Toal.
Dime and North Fork are disputing whether the outcome of the shareholder vote means those nominees are on or off the board for now. But North Fork is seizing on the directorship dispute as a way of taking over the company through the back door.
"It is imperative that Dime shareholders be given the opportunity to decide who should fill the seats occupied by the holdover directors who have been divested of any legitimate claim to directorial power," Mr. Kanas said of the demand for a special meeting. In an interview Thursday, Mr. Kanas said he would push for an October date.
In a statement late Thursday, Dime called North Fork's request for a special meeting "grandstanding."
One of the nominees, Mr. Austin, said in an interview that they would focus on pushing Dime to merge, either with North Fork or another company. "I am not an agent of North Fork," said Mr. Austin, who said he owns 100,000 shares of Dime and "quite a few" shares of North Fork. "But I think the best way is a merger with somebody."
The nominees are a collection of New York celebrities and well-known shareholder activists.
Ms. Ferraro, a former congresswoman, has been a consultant at Golin Harris McGinn, a communications firm, since May 1999.
Ms. Siebert was the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange and founded a discount brokerage firm, Muriel Siebert & Co. She also served as New York's Superintendent of Banking from 1977 to 1982.
Mr. Towbin is co-chairman of C.E. Unterberg Towbin, a New York-based investment and merchant banking firm that specializes in high-tech companies. From 1987 to 1994 he was managing director at Lehman Brothers and co-head of its high-tech investment banking group.
Mr. Austin is a private investor who runs his own firm, El Coronado Holdings LLC, that invests primarily in bank stocks. He also owns cattle ranches in Arizona and Mexico.
Mr. Marcus is founder and chief executive officer of WRM Equity Management, a registered investment adviser that also specializes in bank stock investing. Mr. Marcus is a former general partner of Salomon Brothers, where he was manager of bank stock research in the late 1960s.