FIRST OFF . . .
A Delaware chancery court judge reserved decision Thursday on a petition filed by a dissident Occidental Petroleum Corp. stockholder who opposes a proposed settlement of a legal dispute over financing a museum to house the art collection of Occidental Chairman Dr. Armand Hammer. In Wilmington, Vice Chancellor Maurice Hartnett took the action in the petition filed by New York investor Alan Kahn. Kahn seeks to block settlement of another shareholder suit in which Occidental agreed to limit contributions to Hammer charities. Under that settlement, Hammer would accept a binding agreement to donate his collection to the museum that is under construction in Westwood. Occidental Petroleum is committed to $86 million in construction and operation subsidy contributions for the museum. The museum, to be attached to Occidental’s existing headquarters, would be called the Occidental Petroleum Cultural Center Building. Kahn argues the settlement doesn’t effectively limit Occidental donations to Hammer organizations and includes a $1.4 million windfall for lawyers who represented shareholders who have agreed to it. If Hartnett accepts the agreement, it would be binding on all parties. Hartnett gave no indication when he would issue his ruling on Kahn’s petition.