State says Bremer trustees attempted 'hostile takeover' by selling charity's stake in bank
September 28, 2021
Leaders of the Otto Bremer Trust attempted a "hostile takeover" of Bremer Financial Corp., the big Minnesota bank the trust owns but doesn't control, by inviting other investors to join their effort to sell the firm two years ago, a state attorney said on the opening day of a trial over their conduct.
The trustees - Daniel Reardon, Brian Lipschultz and Charlotte Johnson - have spent $16 million of the trust's money on legal fees as Bremer Financial and, later the state of Minnesota, tried to stop them from selling it, the state attorney said.
Mike Ciresi, the attorney representing the trustees, said in his opening statement that their attempt to sell Bremer Financial was "thoughtful." And the sale of some of the trust's shares to other investors to back their efforts was "objectively reasonable" in the face of opposition from Bremer Financial's top executives and other board members, he said.