Summarized by Rosemary Pollock
Bank-merger foe says intimidation attempted
Deseret News 5Oct99 B4
By Max B. Knudson: Deseret News business editor
An affidavit has been filed in a federal lawsuit opposing the merger
of Zions Bancorp and First Security Corporation. A petition has been
filed asking the Fed asking for an extension of time in which the public
can make comments for or against the merger.
Provo businessman and former bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, Richard P. Valgardson, filed suit along with several
other plaintiffs in an attempt to stop the merger. He said, the merger
would cause "a virtual 100 percent (banking) monopoly in southern Utah
and even in Utah County."
Valgardson is president of Provo-based Irontown Housing. He claims
his younger brother, David Valgardson, was informed by his bishop, Craig
Carlile, an attorney who was acting as an agent of his client, First
Security Corp., to "stay out of any activity related to protesting or
objecting to the merger."
"As a direct consequence of Bishop Carlile's warning to David to stay
out of the dispute relating to the proposed merger, David told my
parents, who are 80 years of age, that he had been warned to stay out of
the dispute," writes Richard Valgardson. Valgardson claims that his
rights of free speech "have been significantly curtailed."
"Based on my prior services as a Mormon bishop, I believe that Bishop
Carlile's warning to my brother to stay out of the dispute relating to
the merger was contrary to long-established church policy that private
business affairs may not be conducted on church property and was an act
made by Bishop Carlile not as a Mormon bishop, but rather as an agent of
his client, First Security Corp., to deliberately stifle opposition
comments to this body."
Carlile could not be reached for comment. A First Security spokesman
said Monday that the bank would have no comment on the allegations.