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Activist Land & Buildings dismisses Taubman board moves

Activist Land & Buildings Investment Management LLC expressed its disappointment at Taubman Centers Inc.'s latest move that it said is aimed at further entrenching the present board and the Taubman family.

The company recently named Cia Buckley Marakovits to its board and existing board member Myron Ullman III to the newly created position of lead director. Ullman had rejoined the board in April and was named chairman of the nominating and corporate governance committee in September.

Land & Buildings said it views the appointments as an "attempt to create the appearance" of improving its "woeful" corporate governance.

The activist noted that Ullman was on the board in 2003 when a federal judge found the body to be in likely breach of its fiduciary duty to shareholders. The board amended had the company's bylaws to make it more difficult for shareholders to call a special meeting to consider a takeover attempt by Simon Property Group Inc., Litt said.

Ullman also failed to respond to Land & Building's previous concerns as a member of the audit committee, and it is unclear if Ullman's appointment to the newly created role will have any power, the activist said in its statement.

Further, Land & Buildings pointed out Marakovits' lack of public market real estate experience and said it believes she is "not the optimal choice" for shareholders at present.

Taubman had not responded to a request for comment by press time.