American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Pension Plan filed suit today against American International Group, New York, seeking to require the company to include a binding shareholder proposal that would allow shareholders access to the corporate proxy materials to nominate candidates to the board. The $600 million AFSCME plan filed suit in U.S. District Court in New York.
The proposal would amend the company's by-laws to allow access to AIG's proxy materials to make nominations to the board to shareholders that have owned at least 3% of AIG stock for at least one year.
The suit was filed after the SEC's Division of Corporation Finance issued an advisory opinion to AIG that the company could omit the AFSCME plan's proxy access shareholder proposal.
"We have no choice but to seek relief in the courts because of the current stalemate on proxy access rulemaking at the SEC," Gerald W. McEntee, chairman of the AFSCME Pension Plan and president of AFSCME, said in a statement. "… the current situation at AIG demands action now. AIG's business practices, now under investigation by the New York attorney general (Eliot Spitzer), put shareholders at risk for significant losses. We have lost faith in the current board dominated by Chairman and CEO Hank Greenberg and company insiders. Proxy access is one way for shareholders to bring fresh leadership to AIG, empowered to set the company on a new path."
The plan wants shareholders to vote on the proposal at the AIG annual meeting May 18. The law firm of Grant and Eisenhofer is representing the AFSCME plan in the suit. Joe Norton, AIG director-public relations, said company officials declined to comment on the suit.