Commerce Bank founder Vernon Hill 2d's golden parachute deflated Tuesday when a federal jury in Camden determined that it was "legally impossible" for the bank to pay him the $17.2 million he is owed on his employment contract.
"It's a disappointment," said Hill's lawyer, Edwin J. Jacobs Jr. of Jacobs & Barbone in Atlantic City.
"We are pleased with the jury's decision and are happy to put this matter behind us," a spokeswoman for TD Bank, which acquired Commerce five years ago, said Tuesday.
In 2007, Hill, who founded Commerce in 1973, was ousted by the board "without cause" amid concerns from federal regulators about business dealings the bank had with his wife's design company and Hill's real estate development company.
In January 2008, Hill filed a lawsuit against the bank asking for the severance payments spelled out in his contract.
For Hill to be paid, Commerce, and later TD, would have had to certify that it had no information suggesting that Hill had done anything wrong or illegal that would have a "materially adverse" effect on the bank, according to federal regulations cited in testimony by bank officials.