It’s a case of legal déjà vu for John Chevedden. The retired aerospace worker and shareholder activist is once again facing a legal challenge in his attempt to submit a proposal to shareholders of a public company. This time, it’s KBR.
Last year, Chevedden was sued by Apache Corp., which rejected his shareholder proposal because it said it couldn’t confirm he owned the company’s stock. Chevedden is an annual meeting gadfly, and companies view him with disdain. He owns small stakes in a host of companies, and he’s a prolific filer of shareholder proposals.
(KBR channels Apache, sues activist investor | Loren Steffy | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle, 1/20/2011.) Steffy goes on to note that Chevedden’s “proposals are reasonable.” “The disturbing thing about the legal bullying being employed by KBR and Apache is that it could be applied to almost any individual shareholder.” (See notification to SEC.)
Steffy doesn’t mention it but Apache has also challenged Chevedden again. “Apache Corp. has renewed its battle with shareholder activist John Chevedden over the proof of ownership required to file shareholder proposals.” (Apache Plans to Exclude a Chevedden Proposal Again, RiskMetrics Group, 1/7/2011) Apache is attempting to again bypass the SEC’s no-action request process.
If KBR and Apache succeed, all shareowners will lose because this tactic of intimidation will be copied over and over again. How many shareowners will be willing to risk an expensive lawsuit with the largest corporations in America by simply filing a shareowner proposal? Who will defend them or Chevedden?
I’m hoping the United States Proxy Exchange will again take up Chevedden’s cause but these efforts take time and money. If you think shareowner rights are a cause worth defending, please consider joining USPX. For $3.95 a month you’ll help them defend the rights of all shareowners. (See also,
Rejected No-Action Request Clarifies Required Ownership Evidence and Apache v Chevedden: Postmortem.