Housing News

BofA Misleads on Merrill

Attorney Generals Suing

Ken Lewis, Bank of America’s top gun, is expected to retire by the end of the year. That is, if he isn’t kicked out first. Here is the latest wrongs done by BofA under Lewis’ leadership:

Time Magazine writes, “… Lewis’ problems came to a head this summer. Bank of America had struck a deal with the SEC to pay $33 million to end an investigation into whether some unnamed Bank of America executives had mislead shareholders when it purchased Merrill. The SEC alleges that in early December, on the eve of a vote to approve the Merrill deal, Bank of America executives told shareholders that no bonuses would be paid to Merrill executives prior to the acquisition. In fact, Bank of America had agreed more than a month earlier to approve the payment of more than $5 billion in year-end bonuses to Merrill employees.”

Now, Ohio is taking a shot at reclaiming its lost money from BofA’s alleged risky acquisition. In a report by The Columbus Dispatch, the state is currently pursuing the same case against Lewis and three other top executives, “… The attorney general’s office is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against Bank of America, alleging that the nation’s largest bank withheld damaging information from investors in the days leading up to and after the September 2008 announcement that it planned to acquire Merrill Lynch… (It) was designated to lead the litigation because it represents two Ohio public pension funds that lost millions through investments in Bank of America. The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System lost $50 million, and the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio lost $34million, according to pension-fund officials.”

We think its time Lewis steps out of the office. The bank’s in shambles since the dawn of the credit crisis, and there’s no way it can recover by 2011. It stands on a very turbulent period in our economy, and all it needs is a new leader. But we’re in doubt, too, if the man or woman who will succeed Lewis can step up to the plate. I t’s a very tough position to be in.

In the case of Ohio, we have a strong belief that it can win this case but as to when, that’s a question that’s even harder to answer.

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