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St. Elias Warns Shareholders: Dissidents Want Reprimanded Financial Salesperson On the Board And Have Failed To Provide Adequate Disclosure
Shareholders Should Rely On The Facts, Not Unfair Criticisms
By: PR Newswire
Dec. 13, 2012 08:15 PM
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Dec. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- St. Elias Mines (TSX-V: SLI) (U.S. Clearing Symbol: SELSF) (Frankfurt Exchange: EKL) today responded to a dissidents' circular issued by Gilby Len Hastman and Darcy Kim Hastman. Based on a preliminary assessment, St. Elias believes the dissidents' disclosure is inadequate and that the dissident nominees do not deserve shareholder support.
St. Elias believes that the biographies in the dissident circular confirm that none of the five dissident nominees should be elected to the Board. Four of the five do not have mineral exploration, corporate finance or public markets experience. This alone should be enough to alarm shareholders but there are even more serious issues with the fifth dissident nominee, James Rainbird, a reprimanded financial salesperson.
The dissidents want Mr. Rainbird on the St. Elias Board despite his admitted past misconduct. As disclosed in the dissidents circular, as a result of his transgression the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA) in 2010 not only reprimanded him but also prohibited him for five years from acting in a supervisory capacity for any MFDA members.
However, the dissidents failed to disclose the nature of Mr. Rainbird's misconduct, which involved hundreds of victims, millions of dollars and flagrant breaches of securities laws over a period of four years. This omission is very misleading. Only with a full description of the transgression can shareholders begin to understand the depths of the problems that St. Elias may face under the control of the dissidents.
"Shareholders should be concerned," said Lori McClenahan, President and CEO of St. Elias Mines. "The details of Mr. Rainbird's infraction suggest that he is not capable of identifying and managing risk and may not act in the best interests of St. Elias shareholders. Even worse is the failure by the dissidents to disclose these details. This must be corrected immediately. What else are the dissidents hiding? And what does this say about the dissidents' likely conduct if they were on the St. Elias board?"
Continued Ms. McClenahan, "The dissidents have not provided any details of how they intend to advance St. Elias' portfolio of high potential properties, nor do they have proposed a management team to operate St. Elias or the ability to raise capital. The combination of inadequate disclosure, lack of plans and inexperience means that the dissidents do not deserve shareholders' support."
Details of James Rainbird's Reprimand and Transgression
Mr. Rainbird was reprimanded by the MFDA even though he cooperated with its investigation and admitted to misconduct. He is prohibited for five years from acting in a supervisory capacity as a mutual fund salesperson. The MFDA demonstrated its lack of confidence in Mr. Rainbird by also requiring that he be subject to retraining and a six-month period of "close supervision."
According to MFDA disciplinary documents that the dissidents did not disclose, Mr. Rainbird, four associates and various others under their supervision sold to 656 clients a total of $50.2 million of high-risk debentures issued by a company called FactorCorp. Financial Inc. The sales occurred between June 25, 2003 and April 1, 2007. Shortly afterward, FactorCorp went bankrupt.
Mr. Rainbird personally sold the debentures to 167 clients and 7 people that he supervised sold the debentures to 226 clients. For virtually all of these clients the purchase was unsuitably risky, based on "know-your-client" information collected at the time of purchase. According to the MFDA, these debentures could only be sold to wealthy or sophisticated investors who qualified for an accredited investor exemption. At the time of purchase, none of these clients qualified.
These details and more are described in the MFDA disciplinary documents, which shareholders can find at www.steliasmines.com under the AGM tab and at the MFDA website under http://www.mfda.ca/enforcement/cases08/200827.html. St. Elias urges shareholders to read these disciplinary documents carefully.
Why shareholders should be concerned
Given that Mr. Rainbird and his fellow-dissidents are now standing for election to the Board of a high-risk junior mineral exploration company, St. Elias believes the details of the transgression, and the dissidents' failure to fully disclose it, is disturbing. The dissidents attempted to downplay the gravity of Mr. Rainbird's transgressions by referring to them only as "allegations [that] were centered around the aspects of inadequate training, compliance and supervision."
Shareholders of St. Elias deserve more fulsome disclosure from the dissidents. Shareholders should also be troubled by dissidents' hypocrisy, given the high disclosure standard that the dissidents are suggesting they will establish. In their circular, the dissidents claim that their vision is based first and foremost on "timely, open and candid communications with the shareholders."
Clearly, the dissidents have already failed to meet their own standard. They have made the decision that candid communications excludes a description of Mr. Rainbird's misconduct. They think shareholders don't need to know. We think this disclosure decision by the dissidents is strong evidence that they don't deserve your vote.
The inadequate experience of the other four dissident nominees
As noted above, St. Elias believes the experience of the other four dissident nominees is sorely lacking. None of them have disclosed any experience in mineral exploration. St Elias also notes that:
The dissidents don't have a plan for St. Elias, just criticism
The dissidents have not provided any plans for St. Elias and don't say who will lead the Company. Meanwhile, the dissidents have leveled unfair criticisms at the Company's nominees and management. Members of this team have assembled St. Elias' impressive portfolio of mineral properties and have acted prudently to explore and finance them.
In the mineral exploration business there is always a risk that drilling results will disappoint. The key is to know when to adjust strategies as new facts emerge. This is precisely what the Board and management of St. Elias has done, specifically with regard to the Company's flagship Tesoro gold project in Peru.
Nowhere do the dissidents say how they would advance the Company's high potential exploration properties. In fact, nowhere in their materials do they even mention that St. Elias is a mineral exploration company. They also deliberately distance themselves from the operations of the Company, saying that all of the dissident nominees will be independent and none expect to be employed by the Company.
St. Elias has not hidden a gold discovery
According to internet conspiracy theorists who appear aligned with the dissidents, St. Elias has fraudulently hidden a giant gold discovery at Tesoro. It is only possible to jump to such an absurd conclusion if the critic doesn't have any knowledge of how value is created in mineral exploration.
Consider these facts:
St. Elias: successfully financed in challenging conditions
St. Elias raised $13 million in challenging market conditions over the past three years and has prudently deployed its capital. This is a significant accomplishment that speaks to the experience of the management team and potential of all of the Company's exploration projects. The dissidents claim that these funds have been misused for promotion. Consider these facts:
Vote for an experienced and capable Board
The nominees put forward by the Company are experienced and capable. Under their supervision, the current management team will advance our exploration properties and raise awareness of St. Elias in a prudent and measured fashion – all with a view to surfacing value for our shareholders.
This is not a short-term game. The Board and management of St. Elias are in it for the long-term and remain committed to creating value for our shareholders. Please vote your WHITE proxy today.
Vote the WHITE proxy for an experienced board
Please review the Management Information Circular at www.steliasmines.com or www.SEDAR.com and vote only the WHITE proxy. Vote today. If you have questions or seek assistance with voting your WHITE proxy, please call our proxy solicitation agent, Georgeson toll free at: 1-888-605-8412 or email@example.com.
About St. Elias
If you have questions or need assistance voting your shares, contact our proxy solicitation agent, Georgeson Shareholder Communications Canada Inc. at 1-888-605-8412 (North American toll free) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
ST. ELIAS MINES LTD.
(signed "Lori McClenahan")
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
This News Release may contain forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, comments regarding the timing and content of upcoming work programs, geological interpretations, potential mineral recovery processes, etc. Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and therefore involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements.
For more information contact:
SOURCE St. Elias Mines Ltd.
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