Equity Bank files suits against former execs

08/09/2012 12:00 AM

08/09/2012 12:00 AM

Equity Bank and its holding company are pursuing separate lawsuits in Butler and Sedgwick counties against two former executives who now work for a competing bank – Rose Hill Bank.

But the lawsuits against Cuy Mauck, former west Wichita market president for Equity Bank, and Karen Teschner, former chief credit officer for Equity, seek different outcomes, according to copies of the lawsuits obtained by The Eagle.

According to the lawsuit filed by Equity Bancshares and Equity Bank in Butler County District Court on Oct. 4, 2011, the companies seek to prohibit Teschner from working at Rose Hill Bank.

In Equity’s lawsuit against Mauck, filed April 23, 2012, in Sedgwick County District Court, the bank is seeking damages of more than $75,000 for each of three counts, “including without limitation reimbursement of all compensation and consideration paid by Equity to Mauck,” the lawsuit said.

Equity alleges in the lawsuit against Teschner that she violated a restricted stock unit agreement with Equity Bancshares for 10,202 shares because she was “working in a consulting or other capacity with American State Bank’s acquisition of Rose Hill State Bank,” the lawsuit said. The lawsuit said Teschner voluntarily ended her employment at Equity Bank in May 2011.

Great Bend-based American State acquired Rose Hill Bank from Rocky Waitt in November 2011.

Equity alleges in the lawsuit that Teschner violated a condition of the stock agreement by going to work for an institution that competes with Equity.

Equity’s lawsuit against Teschner seeks “a temporary and permanent injunction prohibiting the Defendant from any further violation of the party’s agreement by assisting directly or indirectly American State Bank or Rose Hill State Bank in any capacity which violates the Agreement.”

Teschner, executive vice president and chief credit officer at Rose Hill, denied the allegations in an answer that was filed with the court Oct. 20, 2011.

Last week, a motion by Teschner for summary judgment was denied by the court, according to Butler County court records.

Teschner declined to comment for this story.

In its lawsuit against Mauck, Equity alleges that Mauck breached his fiduciary duties to the bank by “secretly” working to purchase or acquire controlling interest in at least one bank while employed at Equity, the lawsuit said. The lawsuit also said he “misappropriated” proprietary information about Equity, and “secretly formed … Target Acquisition LLC to continue these pursuits.”

The lawsuit also alleges that Mauck, now an executive vice president and director of commercial lending at Rose Hill Bank, breached Teschner’s contract with Equity.

He breached her contract, the lawsuit said, “by hiring Karen Teschner to perform examination and evaluation of loan/asset portfolios and/or other due diligence in connection with his attempt to acquire a bank, contrary to Equity’s best interests.”

Mauck denied the allegations in a May 29 answer and counterclaim filed in Sedgwick County. In Mauck’s counterclaim, he alleges he was pressured into buying stock in Equity at $17 a share, and because of mismanagement and breaches of fiduciary duties by the bank’s officers and directors, the “stock suffered” and “Mr. Mauck was forced to sell for $12 per share, causing a net loss of approximately $24,215.”

Mauck would not comment on the lawsuit, instead deferring comment to Don LacKamp, CEO of American State Bancshares, the holding company of Rose Hill.

LacKamp said his bank’s counsel reviews employment agreements made by incoming employees with their previous employers.

“We kind of run a prudent shop,” he said. “That’s one of the first things we ask a new employee, if they are under any type of agreement with an employer.” LacKamp said he also reviewed the court documents concerning the lawsuits against his Rose Hill executives.

“Quite frankly, I think it’s a suit that should not have been brought. I don’t think they have any case whatsoever,” LacKamp said, “… In this case we’ll just have to see where it goes from here.”

Brad Elliott, chairman and CEO of Equity Bank, said he couldn’t comment on the lawsuits.

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