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Dissident Speaks Up at Southwest Bancorp Meeting

Times Staff Writer

Given the expected fireworks, Southwest Bancorp’s annual shareholders meeting Friday ended rather tamely.

But dissident shareholder John Blick III ensured that his fellow shareholders at least knew of his allegations--contained in a lawsuit filed recently--that Southwest officers committed fraud, breached their fiduciary responsibility and were negligent in connection with a 1984 7-for-1, common-for-preferred stock swap.

Blick, who last year filed a suit that questioned the legality of the 1985 annual meeting, also protested the legality of Friday’s meeting--both at the outset and four times during the otherwise routine meeting.

“I think everyone knows about my challenge,” Blick said after the meeting. “I accomplished what I came here to do.”

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Southwest Bancorp President Sidney Fox dismissed Blick’s protests, however, as “nothing . . . a non-event. He said he wants to help us become a better bank, but there’s no better bank . . . in San Diego County.” Southwest is the parent of Southwest Bank in Vista, the county’s third largest independent bank.

Blick’s lawsuit last year was dismissed after he failed to post a required $50,000 bond.

However, last week Blick filed another suit after the state Department of Corporations acknowledged that it was investigating the bank because of the stock swap.

Southwest on Friday reported that net income rose 7% to $370,000 and total assets increased 6% to $315 million for the first quarter ended March 31. Deposits rose 6% to $269 million and total loans increased 8% to $202 million.

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Fox predicted the bank’s “continued growth and progress” during the remainder of the year.


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