Louisiana Pension Fund Sues Regions Financial

June 15, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A Louisiana pension fund has filed a lawsuit against Regions Financial Corp. over alleged actions during its acquisition of AmSouth Bancorp.

The Birmingham Business Journal reports that the 11,000-member Louisiana Municipal Police Employees Retirement System claims Regions’ executives misled investors through “falsification of Regions financial statements” about the $10 billion-acquisition. The suit filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court, charges that the bank’s board members and management team approved and received “excessive bonuses” and compensation while the company raked in taxpayer money and was “experiencing significant losses, including material declines in company revenues,” according to the news report.

“Shareholders are being left to hold the bag here for this and the executives still continue to do very well in compensation,” said Connecticut-based Scott & Scott attorney Mary K. Blasy, one of the lawyers representing the case, in the news report. “They are just taking away barrels of cash for themselves and meanwhile Regions has had to turn to the U.S. government for bailout funds.”

Regions CEO Dowd Ritter received more than $35 million in total compensation within the past three years, and in 2008, the Birmingham-based bank’s directors awarded its management team about $5.3 million in stock awards.