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Wed Nov 20, 2019, 06:24 AM

To halt potential sale, Bremer Bank sues trustees of parent Otto Bremer Trust

St. Paul-based Bremer Bank is suing its philanthropic parent — the Otto Bremer Trust — in order to halt efforts by three trustees to sell bank shares to a group of hedge funds and outside investors, the first step toward a potential bank sale.

Founded in 1943, the $13 billion financial institution is the fourth-largest bank in Minnesota and the 11th-largest farm and agricultural lender in the country. The charitable trust is a 92 percent shareholder in the bank, which is otherwise employee-owned.

The bank company, Bremer Financial Corp., filed suit Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court against S. Brian Lipschultz, Daniel Reardon and Charlotte Johnson, both individually and as trustees of the Otto Bremer Trust. The 165-page lawsuit alleges that with the goal of enriching themselves, the trustees have lied to the bank’s board of directors and violated a structure set up 30 years ago as part of a 1989 bank reorganization, the first and last time its bank shares had ever been sold.

Bank President and CEO Jeanne Crain addressed Bremer Financial’s 1,800 employees by phone Tuesday afternoon to apprise them of the lawsuit.

Read more: https://www.twincities.com/2019/11/19/to-halt-potential-sale-bremer-bank-sues-trustees-of-parent-company-otto-bremer-trust/

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