Long Island bank director is ousted amid lawsuit against rival

It was the board or his son, and he chose the son.

A board director at Long Island-based Hanover Bank was ousted last week after the chief executive confronted him over the fact that his son had recently left to work at a competitor — a hotly contested defection that has spurred a lawsuit, sources told The Post.

“We Sapanskis stick together,” John Sapanski told Hanover CEO Michael Puorro before a shareholder vote last week, according to a source briefed on the showdown.

On Monday, Hanover announced that investors in the privately held, Mineola-based bank, which is angling to go public later this year, voted to remove Sapanski, even as they reelected three directors loyal to the CEO.

Sapanski is the father of Kenneth Sapanski, Hanover’s former chief credit officer who is now an executive at First Central Savings Bank, a Glen Cove-based rival. In a November lawsuit, Hanover accused the younger Sapanski of stealing competitive information when he moved to First Central. Hanover later claimed that he and two other defectors worked with activist shareholder Brian Pun to derail Hanover’s planned IPO.

According to one source familiar with vote, the elder Sapanski fell out of favor with Puorro and his team after his son’s defection and Pun’s move against the bank last month.

In a phone conversation from his home in Florida, John Sapanski confirmed the showdown.

“My son was a top performer at Hanover, and he’s been in banking for 30, 40 years, and he wanted out,” he told The Post. “He’d just had open heart surgery, so when all that happened, I said, ‘You’re my son, I love you. I’ll stick with you.’”

As The Post reported, Pun penned an open letter to fellow shareholders on Feb. 10, detailing allegations that Puorro granted himself a lavish compensation package while handing out a job to his son that he wasn’t qualified for and using “the submission of inaccurate time sheets” to provide his daughter with a “no-show job” with full benefits.

Pun’s letter provoked a swift and scathing response from Puorro and Hanover, claiming in a Feb. 12 letter to shareholders that Pun owes millions of dollars to the bank, alleging that he was collaborating with First Central in order to damage Puorro and stall Hanover’s IPO.

John Sapanski denies that the Hanover IPO was ever under threat, and told The Post that he suggested the bank go public years ago. When asked if he had planned to stay on Hanover’s board despite the family drama, Sapanski laughed at the idea before quipping, “I’m 89 years old.”

In Monday’s statement, Puorro assured shareholders plans for the public offering remain on track.

Representatives for Pun declined to comment.

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