JPMorgan Chase Slavery Apology to Be Challenged at Company's Annual Meeting; NLPC Shareholder Proposal Says Bank Opens Itself to Slave Reparations Liability

May 14, 2007, 01:00 ET from National Legal and Policy Center

    FALLS CHURCH, Va., May 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A shareholder
 proposal critical of JPMorgan Chase's slavery apology will be considered at
 the company's annual meeting on Tuesday, May 15, 2007. The event will take
 place at 10 a.m. at the company's offices at One Chase Manhattan Plaza in
 New York City.
     The company unsuccessfully sought to exclude the resolution by
 appealing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which ruled in favor
 of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), the proponent.
     The resolution will be presented by Deneen Borelli, a Fellow of Project
 21, on behalf of NLPC.
     Deneen Borelli said today, "It's absurd for someone to apologize for
 the transgressions of others committed hundreds of years ago. Slavery was
 an abomination and blemish on our Nation's history. JPMorgan Chase's
 apology for slavery, along with a $5 million donation for a scholarship
 fund, are the fruits of a shakedown. It is the looting of shareholder
 assets and sets a terrible precedent."
     Peter Flaherty, NLPC President, said today, "If JPMorgan Chase CEO
 Jamie Dimon were alive 200 years ago and owned slaves, the apology would be
 appropriate. Otherwise it is about as cynical and as hollow as you can
 get."
     In a 2005 letter, then-Chairman & CEO William B. Harrison Jr. and then-
 President & COO Jamie Dimon stated, "We apologize to the African-American
 community, particularly those who are descendants of slaves, and to the
 rest of the American public..." This apology was accompanied by a Company
 pledge to establish a $5 million scholarship fund for African-Americans.
 Dimon now serves as Executive Chairman and CEO.
     The apology and monetary pledge were apparently prompted by a Company-
 commissioned report produced in response to a municipal ordinance in
 Chicago, requiring firms doing business with the city to disclose their
 links to slavery. The report found only the most tenuous connections to
 slavery over 200 years ago by two banks whose successor banks had been
 acquired by the Company.
     The supporting statement for the resolution points out that JPMorgan
 Chase (JPM) is currently being sued by plaintiffs seeking damages that they
 characterize as "slave reparations." The statement argues that the bank may
 be opening itself to lawsuits by the descendents of Irish, Chinese and
 Native Americans, whose ancestors also suffered injustice. For the complete
 proposal, supporting statement, and company response, go to
 http://www.nlpc.org.
     Slavery "apologies" or other expressions of regret have been recently
 adopted or are being considered by Congress, a number of state legislatures
 and several cities. Banks that have apologized for alleged links to slavery
 also include the Bank of America, Wachovia and Lehman Brothers.
     NLPC promotes ethics in public life, and sponsors the Corporate
 Integrity Project. The group has published a monograph titled The Case
 Against Slave Reparations that may be downloaded as a pdf file at
 http://www.nlpc.org/pdfs/Final_NLPC_Reparations.pdf.
 
 

SOURCE National Legal and Policy Center
    FALLS CHURCH, Va., May 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A shareholder
 proposal critical of JPMorgan Chase's slavery apology will be considered at
 the company's annual meeting on Tuesday, May 15, 2007. The event will take
 place at 10 a.m. at the company's offices at One Chase Manhattan Plaza in
 New York City.
     The company unsuccessfully sought to exclude the resolution by
 appealing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which ruled in favor
 of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), the proponent.
     The resolution will be presented by Deneen Borelli, a Fellow of Project
 21, on behalf of NLPC.
     Deneen Borelli said today, "It's absurd for someone to apologize for
 the transgressions of others committed hundreds of years ago. Slavery was
 an abomination and blemish on our Nation's history. JPMorgan Chase's
 apology for slavery, along with a $5 million donation for a scholarship
 fund, are the fruits of a shakedown. It is the looting of shareholder
 assets and sets a terrible precedent."
     Peter Flaherty, NLPC President, said today, "If JPMorgan Chase CEO
 Jamie Dimon were alive 200 years ago and owned slaves, the apology would be
 appropriate. Otherwise it is about as cynical and as hollow as you can
 get."
     In a 2005 letter, then-Chairman & CEO William B. Harrison Jr. and then-
 President & COO Jamie Dimon stated, "We apologize to the African-American
 community, particularly those who are descendants of slaves, and to the
 rest of the American public..." This apology was accompanied by a Company
 pledge to establish a $5 million scholarship fund for African-Americans.
 Dimon now serves as Executive Chairman and CEO.
     The apology and monetary pledge were apparently prompted by a Company-
 commissioned report produced in response to a municipal ordinance in
 Chicago, requiring firms doing business with the city to disclose their
 links to slavery. The report found only the most tenuous connections to
 slavery over 200 years ago by two banks whose successor banks had been
 acquired by the Company.
     The supporting statement for the resolution points out that JPMorgan
 Chase (JPM) is currently being sued by plaintiffs seeking damages that they
 characterize as "slave reparations." The statement argues that the bank may
 be opening itself to lawsuits by the descendents of Irish, Chinese and
 Native Americans, whose ancestors also suffered injustice. For the complete
 proposal, supporting statement, and company response, go to
 http://www.nlpc.org.
     Slavery "apologies" or other expressions of regret have been recently
 adopted or are being considered by Congress, a number of state legislatures
 and several cities. Banks that have apologized for alleged links to slavery
 also include the Bank of America, Wachovia and Lehman Brothers.
     NLPC promotes ethics in public life, and sponsors the Corporate
 Integrity Project. The group has published a monograph titled The Case
 Against Slave Reparations that may be downloaded as a pdf file at
 http://www.nlpc.org/pdfs/Final_NLPC_Reparations.pdf.
 
 SOURCE National Legal and Policy Center