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News Now

CU System
First Basin group files to depose officials
ODESSA, Texas (4/15/08)--On the eve of today's annual meeting of First Basin CU, members of a group formed to oppose an earlier conversion attempt petitioned the courts, seeking depositions from key officials of the credit union. Attorneys for Save First Basin and members Carol Uranga, Letty Ayaly-Moreno and Sylvia Acosta filed the petition Monday in the District Court of Ector County, Texas. It requests authority to take depositions from the Odessa, Texas-based credit union CEO Shem Culpepper and Board Chairman Annette Snowdon. The depositions relate to a potential claim of defamation and breach of fiduciary responsibilities, said the court document. However, it also says "a suit is not actually anticipated at this time." The group announced at a press conference at the Ector County Courthouse that it filed the petition because the $113 million asset credit union had spent roughly $500,000 "of member-owned funds trying to convert" the credit union to a mutual savings bank earlier this year. The group says the credit union will hold elections for the board of directors tonight at the annual meeting, but added the sitting directors have not told members the election will take place. A notice of an annual meeting does not mention a board election. Save First Basin planned to field a slate of candidates but said the credit union has not informed members when the election would be or which directors are up for re-election. Going on the assumption that a vote will be conducted tonight, the group flew an airplane trailing a banner reading "First Basin Votes Tues! SaveFirstBasin.com" over Odessa on Sunday. Monday's legal action comes just over a month after the group reported that management had announced it would sue three members. The credit union has not confirmed that report (News Now March 13). In February, the credit union announced it would suspend the membership vote and special meeting on the proposal to convert to a mutual savings bank. The credit union cited "numerous false statements" being circulated by opponents of the conversion proposal (News Now Feb. 18).


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