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TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-The Florida Credit Union League reported last week that it has uncovered ties between Mark Dern, the individual claiming in postcards to be looking to invest $5,000 with various credit unions nationwide, and the Florida Bankers Association. Both Dern and the Florida Bankers Association are represented by the law firm of Akerman Senterfitt. Dern Capital Management Corporation, which counts Dern and Alvin Dern as principals of the firm and has filed paperwork each year with the Secretary of State’s Division of Corporations, listing Leonard H. Bloom as the firm’s registered agent. Bloom is an attorney with Akerman Senterfitt with offices in most Florida cities and Washington, D.C. and boasts it is the “general counsel to the Florida Bankers Association,” according to the firm’s Web site. In May, 1,200 credit unions all the way out in Hawaii and Texas have received postcards from Dern requesting to purchase five-year, $5,000 share certificates. Calls from Credit Union Times to the number on the postcard and Dern Capital Management were not returned prior to deadline. CUNA has also reported that credit unions in Vermont and Michigan have received suspicious phone calls and mail about membership. Many in the credit union community believe this is a test of credit unions’ adherence to field of membership restrictions. Dern declined to comment previously to the Florida league about why he was involved in the postcard effort or why he did not just contact a Palm Beach County credit union. An investment advisor, who wished to remain anonymous said previously that he had advised Dern to make offers to try to become a member of credit unions that are more likely to go public. The advisor said he knows nothing of the “big coincidence” that Dern and the Florida Bankers Association use the same law firm. FCUL President and CEO Guy Hood questioned Dern’s motives. “It is obvious when reading Mr. Dern’s background and qualifications that he is a very sophisticated investor. We remain curious if Mr. Dern wants to join a credit union why he doesn’t simply inquire of the credit unions in Palm Beach County,” Hood said. Dern holds a juris doctorate from the University of Florida and has a BBA in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin, according to the biography on his Web site. [email protected]

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