Banker Says He Was Fired for Executive Pay Stand

By Staff Report

Mar. 26, 2009

A banker has sued Citizens Republic Bancorp, saying he was fired for questioning a $7.5 million bonus for the company’s chief executive on the eve of a federal bailout payment.

John D. Schwab filed a lawsuit Tuesday, March 24, in Genesee County Circuit Court in Flint, Michigan.

Schwab says then-chief executive William R. Hartman fired him as executive vice president in January after Schwab opposed a four-year contract for Hartman with a $7.5 million bonus.

The suit says Hartman sought the deal in anticipation of the Michigan bank getting $300 million in federal aid.

Bank spokesman Brian J. Smith says the Flint-based bank follows all federal executive pay guidelines and has “strong policies and practices to protect” its employees.

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