PHILADELPHIA, July 12, 2004 – LAWFUEL – Law Offices Bernard M. Gross, P.C. (http://www.bernardmgross.com) announces that a class action lawsuit, numbered 04cv 3259, was commenced in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, before the Honorable Timothy J. Savage, against defendants Commerce Bancorp (“Commerce” or the “Company”)(NYSE:CBH) and Vernon W. Hill, II – Chairman of the Board of Directors, President and Chief Executive Officer – on behalf of all persons who purchased Commerce’s common stock (NYSE:CBH), between June 18, 2002 and June 30, 2004 (the “Class Period”) seeking remedies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”).
The complaint alleges that Commerce and Vernon W. Hill II made material misrepresentations and omissions in Commerce’s press releases, public filings and conference calls. Recently, a criminal indictment was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against a number of individuals including, among others, Ronald A. White, a director of Commerce PA, Glenn K. Holck, president of Commerce PA and Stephen M. Umbrell, regional vice president of Commerce PA. (“Indictment”) The federal investigation leading up to this Indictment was never disclosed by Commerce in its SEC filings. This Indictment has arisen from actions taken by Commerce and/or its subsidiaries’ employees, officers and directors to gain favor and, subsequently, business from the City of Philadelphia. The aggressive expansion of business by Commerce as well as the actions undertaken by these employees, officers and/or directors violated not only the Company’s Codes of Ethics and Conduct, but also the federal securities laws. Not disclosed was that throughout 2002, and until October 2003, Commerce Bank paid $15,000 a month to Ronald A. White apart from his compensation for serving on the Board, and made other payments to favor his interest. For 2002, Commerce paid White $182,000. In return for this compensation White directed Corey Kemp, City of Philadelphia treasurer, to award financial services and contracts to Commerce PA and Commerce Capital on Commerce Bank’s behalf. Additionally, during this time period, Commerce waived certain conditions on loans and made loans on favorable terms. Additionally, during this time period, Commerce made numerous campaign contributions and provided other remuneration to public officials and political candidates. Banks are barred from donating money to elected officials who oversee municipal bond deals, but Commerce controls a Political Action Committee, which contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to numerous politicians and government officials. As a result of these disclosures, as well as the indictment on June 30, 2004, Commerce stock went tumbling from a close on June 28 of $64.46 a share to a close on June 29 of $61.15, and on June 30 of $55.01. The stock is down 16% since the indictment became public.
If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions concerning this notice or your rights or interests, please contact plaintiff’s counsel, Deborah R. Gross or Susan R. Gross of Law Offices Bernard M. Gross at 866-561-3600 (toll-free) or via e-mail at: (email@example.com). If you are a member of this class, you can view a copy of the complaint, as filed, at: (http://www.bernardmgross.com). Any member of the purported class may move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member.
If you purchased or otherwise acquired the securities of COMMERCE BANCORP between June 18, 2002 through, and including, June 28, 2004, and sustained damages, you may, no later than August 31, 2004, file a motion to be appointed lead plaintiff, if you so choose. Law Offices Bernard M. Gross, P.C. has significant experience and expertise in prosecuting class actions.