Severance Agreement

 

 

 

 

 

 

EX-10.4 8 a2134714zex-10_4.htm EXHIBIT 10.4

EXHIBIT 10.4

 

EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT

 

 

EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT dated as of April 12, 2004, by and between Bimini Mortgage Management Inc. with its principal place of business at 3305 Flamingo Drive, Suite 100, Vero Beach, Florida 32963 (the “Company”), and Robert E. Cauley, residing at the address set forth on the signature page hereof (the “Executive”).

 

WHEREAS, the parties have previously entered into an employment agreement as of December 18, 2003, and wish to amend and completely restate such agreement as forth herein; and

 

WHEREAS, the Company wishes to employ the Executive, and the Executive wishes to accept such offer, on the terms set forth below:

 

Accordingly, the parties hereto agree as follows:

 

1.                                       Term.  The Company hereby employs the Executive, and the Executive hereby accepts such employment, for an initial term commencing as of the date hereof and continuing for a three-year period, unless sooner terminated in accordance with the provisions of Section 4 or Section 5; with such employment to continue for successive one-year periods in accordance with the terms of this Agreement (subject to termination as aforesaid) unless either party notifies the other party of non-renewal in writing prior to six months before the expiration of the initial term and each annual renewal, as applicable (the period during which the Executive is employed hereunder being hereinafter referred to as the “Term”).

 

2.                                       Duties.  During the Term, the Executive shall be employed by the Company as Secretary of the Company, Chief Financial Officer of the Company and Chief Investment Officer

 



 

of the Company and, and, for so long as he continues to be appointed as such, shall serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the Company (the “Board”), and, as such, the Executive shall faithfully perform for the Company the duties of said offices and shall perform such other duties of an executive, managerial or administrative nature as shall be specified and designated from time to time by the Chief Executive Officer of the Company, the President of the Company or the Board.  The Executive shall devote substantially all of his business time and effort to the performance of his duties hereunder; provided that in no event shall this sentence prohibit the Executive from performing personal and charitable activities, and any other business interests as may be approved by the Board.  It is expressly acknowledged and understood that the Executive may in the future seek to form and operate other companies, which may include mortgage “REITs” which are not directly competitive with the Company, and it is agreed that the Board will consider promptly and in good faith whether (i) any such proposed venture is competitive and (ii) to permit the Executive to pursue such venture provided that all of the Executive’s duties and obligations hereunder shall be capable, in the reasonable judgment of the Board, of being fully and satisfactorily performed during the remaining Term.

 

3.                                       Compensation.

 

3.1                                 Salary.  The Company shall pay the Executive during the Term a salary at a minimum rate of $150,000 per annum (the “Annual Salary”), in accordance with the customary payroll practices of the Company applicable to senior executives.  At such time as a registration statement on Form S-11 covering the initial public offering of the Company’s Class A Common Stock has been declared effective by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), the Executive’s Annual Salary shall be increased to $267,500.  At least annually, the Board shall review the Executive’s Annual Salary and may provide for such increases therein as it may in its

 

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discretion deem appropriate.  The Board shall also consider increases to the Executive’s Annual Salary following the completion of each capital raising event and following such time as a registration statement on Form S-11 covering the resale of the Company’s Class A Common Stock has been declared effective by the SEC.  (Any such increased salary shall constitute the “Annual Salary” as of the time of the increase.)

 

3.2                                 Bonus.  During the Term, in addition to the Annual Salary, for each fiscal year of the Company ending during the Term, the Executive shall have the opportunity to receive an annual bonus under the Company’s bonus plans or arrangements as in effect from time to time.  In providing for bonuses, the Board shall consider, among other things, whether the completion of a capital raising event should result in the payment of a bonus.  In addition, the Executive shall receive a $125,000 cash bonus at the time a registration statement on Form S-11 covering resale of the Company’s Class A Common Stock issued in November 2003 has been declared effective by the SEC.

 

3.3                                 Benefits - In General.  Except with respect to benefits of a type otherwise provided for under Section 3.4, the Executive shall be permitted during the Term to participate in any group life, hospitalization or disability insurance plans, health programs, retirement plans, fringe benefit programs and similar benefits that may be available to other senior executives of the Company generally, on the same terms as such other executives, in each case to the extent that the Executive is eligible under the terms of such plans or programs.

 

3.4                                 Certain Specific Benefits.

 

(a)  The Executive, shall be covered by reasonable medical, vision and dental insurance, to be provided at no cost to the Executive.  The Executive shall be covered by life insurance in an amount no less than $2,000,000, at no cost to the Executive, to the extent such

 

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insurance may be obtained at reasonable rates; provided that the Executive cooperates as reasonably requested by the Company in the Company’s efforts to obtain such insurance.  The Executive shall be covered by long-term disability insurance, to provide replacement income in an amount no less than 100% of Annual Salary, at no cost to the Executive, to the extent such insurance may be obtained at reasonable rates; provided that the Executive cooperates as reasonably requested by the Company in the Company’s efforts to obtain such insurance.

 

(b)  The Executive shall be entitled to vacation of no less than 25 days per year, personal days of no less than five days per year and holidays of no less than 14 days per year, to be credited in accordance with regular Company policies.

 

All of the foregoing shall be implemented within a reasonable time after the date hereof.

 

3.5                                 Expenses - In General.  The Company shall pay or reimburse the Executive for all ordinary and reasonable out-of-pocket expenses actually incurred (and, in the case of reimbursement, paid) by the Executive during the Term in the performance of the Executive’s services under this Agreement; provided that the Executive submits proof of such expenses, with the properly completed forms as prescribed from time to time by the Company.  Expense reimbursement reports should generally be submitted to the Company within 60 days of the payment by the Executive of the out-of-pocket expense; provided that no report for reimbursement will be accepted after more than six months’ time, other than in the case of unusual circumstances as may be determined by the Board.

 

3.6                                 Certain Legal Expenses.  The Company shall pay directly or reimburse the Executive for all reasonable legal fees and expenses incurred by the Executive in connection with the review, negotiation and execution of this Agreement.

 

3.7                                 Automobile.  During the Term, the Executive shall be permitted the use of an automobile reasonably commensurate with the Executive’s positions with the Company.

 

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4.                                             Termination upon Death or Disability.  If the Executive dies during the Term, the Term shall terminate as of the date of death, and the obligations of the Company to or with respect to the Executive shall terminate in their entirety upon such date except as otherwise provided under this Section 4.  If the Executive by virtue of ill health or other disability is unable to perform substantially and continuously the duties assigned to him for more than 180 consecutive or non-consecutive days out of any consecutive 12-month period, the Company shall have the right, to the extent permitted by law, to terminate the employment of the Executive upon notice in writing to the Executive.  Upon termination of employment due to death or disability, (i) the Executive (or the Executive’s estate or beneficiaries in the case of the death of the Executive) shall be entitled to receive any Annual Salary and other benefits earned and accrued under this Agreement prior to the date of termination (and reimbursement under this Agreement for expenses incurred prior to the date of termination); (ii) subject to Section 5.2(c), for a period of three years after termination of employment, the Executive (if applicable), and in the event of his death, his spouse (or life partner) and his dependents, shall receive such continuing coverage under the group health plans they would have received under this Agreement (but at such costs no higher than as in effect immediately preceding such termination) as would have applied in the absence of such termination; (iii) without duplication of any amounts due under clause (i), the Executive shall receive an amount equal to the annual bonus that, in the absence of such termination, would have been payable for the fiscal year in which termination occurs, payable at such time as would have applied in the absence of such termination, with such amount to be multiplied by a fraction (x) the numerator of which is the number of days in the fiscal year preceding the termination and (y) the denominator of which is 365; (iv) all outstanding unvested equity-based awards (including stock options and restricted

 

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stock) held by the Executive shall fully vest and become immediately exercisable, as applicable, and, in the case of options, shall continue to be exercisable for their full terms; and (v) the Executive (or the Executive’s estate or beneficiaries in the case of the death of the Executive) shall have no further rights to any other compensation or benefits hereunder, or any other rights hereunder (but, for the avoidance of doubt, shall receive such disability and death benefits as may be provided under the Company’s plans and arrangements in accordance with their terms).

 

5.                                       Certain Terminations of Employment; Certain Benefits.

 

5.1                                 Termination by the Company for Cause; Termination by the Executive without Good Reason.

 

(a)  For purposes of this Agreement, “Cause” shall mean the Executive’s:

 

(i)                                     conviction of (or pleading nolo contendere to) a felony (but in no event including a traffic or similar violation), a crime of moral turpitude, dishonesty, breach of trust or unethical business conduct, or any crime involving the Company;

 

(ii)                                  engagement in the performance of his duties hereunder, in willful misconduct, willful or gross neglect, fraud, misappropriation or embezzlement;

 

(iii)                               repeated failure to adhere to the directions of the Board, to adhere to the Company’s policies and practices or to devote his business time and efforts to the Company as required by Section 2;

 

(iv)                              willful and continued failure to substantially perform his duties properly assigned to him (other than any such failure resulting from his Disability) after demand for substantial performance is delivered by the Company specifically identifying the manner in which the Company believes the Executive has not substantially performed such duties;

 

(v)                                 material breach of any of the provisions of Section 6; or

 

(vi)                              breach in any material respect of the terms and provisions of this Agreement and failure to cure such breach within 21 days following written notice from the Company specifying such breach;

 

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provided that the Company shall not be permitted to terminate the Executive for Cause except on written notice given to the Executive at any time following the occurrence of any of the events described in clauses (i), (ii) or (v) above and on written notice given to the Executive at any time not more than 30 days following the occurrence of any of the events described in clause (iii), (iv) or (vi) above (or, if later, the Company’s knowledge thereof).  No termination for Cause shall be effective unless the Board makes a Cause determination after notice to the Executive and the Executive has been provided with the opportunity (with counsel of his choice) to contest the determination at a meeting of the Board.

 

(b)                                 The Company may terminate the Executive’s employment hereunder for Cause, and the Executive may terminate his employment on at least 30 days’ and not more than 60 days’ written notice given to the Company.  If the Company terminates the Executive for Cause, or the Executive terminates his employment and the termination by the Executive is not for Good Reason in accordance with Section 5.2, (i) the Executive shall receive Annual Salary and other benefits (including any bonus for a fiscal year completed before termination and awarded but not yet paid, but not any other bonus) earned and accrued under this Agreement prior to the termination of employment (and reimbursement under this Agreement for expenses incurred prior to the termination of employment); (ii) in the case of such a termination by the Executive, he shall receive an amount equal to the annual bonus that, in the absence of such termination, would have been payable for the fiscal year in which termination occurs, payable at such time as would have applied in the absence of such termination, with such amount to be multiplied by a fraction (x) the numerator of which is the number of days in the fiscal year preceding the termination and (y) the denominator of which is 365; and (iii) the Executive shall

 

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have no further rights to any other compensation or benefits hereunder on or after the termination of employment, or any other rights hereunder.

 

5.2                                 Termination by the Company without Cause; Termination by the Executive for Good Reason.

 

(a)                                  For purposes of this Agreement, “Good Reason” shall mean, unless otherwise consented to by the Executive,

 

(i)                                     the material reduction of the Executive’s authority, duties and responsibilities, the failure to continue the Executive’s appointment as a member of the Board, or the assignment to the Executive of duties materially inconsistent with the Executive’s position or positions with the Company;

 

(ii)                                  a reduction in Annual Salary of the Executive;

 

(iii)                               the relocation of the Executive’s office to more than 25 miles from Vero Beach, Florida;

 

(iv)                              the Company’s failure to pay the Executive any amounts otherwise due hereunder or under any plan, policy, program, agreement, arrangement or other commitment of the Company; or

 

(v)                                 the Company’s material and willful breach of this Agreement.

 

Notwithstanding the foregoing, (i) Good Reason shall not be deemed to exist unless notice of termination on account thereof (specifying a termination date no later than 30 days from the date of such notice) is given no later than 30 days after the time at which the event or condition purportedly giving rise to Good Reason first occurs or arises; and (ii) if there exists (without regard to this clause (ii)) an event or condition that constitutes Good Reason, the Company shall have ten days from the date notice of such a termination is given to cure such event or condition and, if the Company does so, such event or condition shall not constitute Good Reason hereunder.

 

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(b)  The Company may terminate the Executive’s employment at any time for any reason or no reason and the Executive may terminate the Executive’s employment with the Company for Good Reason.  If the Company terminates the Executive’s employment and the termination is not covered by Section 4 or 5.1, or the Executive terminates his employment for Good Reason:

 

(i)                                     the Executive shall receive Annual Salary and other benefits (including any bonus for a fiscal year completed before termination, but not any other bonus) earned and accrued under this Agreement prior to the termination of employment (and reimbursement under this Agreement for expenses incurred prior to the termination of employment);

 

(ii)                                  if (and only if) the Executive provides a general release in a form reasonably acceptable to the Company which is or has become irrevocable,

 

(A)           the Executive shall receive (I) a single-sum cash payment equal to 300% of the sum of (x) the Executive’s Annual Salary (as in effect immediately before such termination) plus (y) the average bonus to the Executive for the three fiscal years ending coincident with or immediately preceding such termination (such amount to be deemed to be $350,000 if termination occurs before the end of the first year, and, in addition, such amount in all events to include for the first year any $125,000 bonus payable in accordance with the last sentence of Section 3.2), payable no later than ten days after such termination (but subject to the release provided for above having become irrevocable), (II) subject to Section 5.2(c), for a period of three years after termination of employment, such continuing coverage under the group health plans the Executive would have received under this Agreement (but at such costs (if any) to the Executive no higher than as in effect immediately preceding such termination) as would have applied in the absence of such termination; (III)  an amount equal to the annual bonus that, in the absence of such termination, would have been payable for the fiscal year in which termination occurs, payable at such time as would have applied in the absence of such termination, with such amount to be multiplied by a fraction (x) the numerator of which is the number of days in the fiscal year preceding the termination and (y) the denominator of which is 365; and

 

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(IV)  at the Company’s cost (not to exceed $7,500), outplacement services reasonably selected by the Company; and

 

(B)             all outstanding unvested equity-based awards (including stock options and restricted stock) held by the Executive shall fully vest and become immediately exercisable, as applicable, and, in the case of options, shall continue to be exercisable for their full terms; and

 

(iii)                               the Executive shall have no further rights to any other compensation or benefits hereunder on or after the termination of employment, or any other rights hereunder.

 

(c)                                  Notwithstanding clause (ii) of the third sentence of Section 4 or clause (ii)(A)(II) of the second sentence of Section 5.2(b), (i) nothing herein shall restrict the ability of the Company to amend or terminate with general application the plans and programs referred to in such clauses from time to time in its sole discretion, and (ii) the Company shall in no event be required to provide any benefits otherwise required by such clauses after such time as the Executive becomes entitled to receive benefits of the same type from another employer or recipient of the Executive’s services.

 

5.3                                 Change of Control.

 

(a)                                  Without duplication of the foregoing, upon a “Change of Control” (as defined below) while the Executive is employed, all outstanding unvested equity-based awards (including stock options and restricted stock) shall fully vest and become immediately exercisable, as applicable.  In addition, if, after a Change of Control, the Executive terminates his employment with the Company as of the three-month anniversary of the Change of Control, such termination shall be deemed a termination by the Executive for Good Reason covered by Section 5.2.

 

(b)                                 For purposes of this Agreement, “Change in Control” shall mean the happening of any of the following:

 

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(i)                  any “person,” including a “group” (as such terms are used in Sections 13(d) and 14(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), but excluding the Company, any entity controlling, controlled by or under common control with the Company, any employee benefit plan of the Company or any such entity, and Executive and any “group” (as such term is used in Section 13(d)(3) of the Exchange Act) of which the Executive is a member) is or becomes the “beneficial owner” (as defined in Rule 13(d)(3) under the Exchange Act), directly or indirectly, of securities of the Company representing 30% or more of either (A) the combined voting power of the Company’s then outstanding securities or (B) the then outstanding Common Stock of the Company (in either such case other than as a result of an acquisition of securities directly from the Company); provided, however, that, in no event shall a Change in Control be deemed to have occurred upon an initial public offering or a subsequent public offering of the Common Stock under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended; or

 

(ii)               any consolidation or merger of the Company where the stockholders of the Company, immediately prior to the consolidation or merger, would not, immediately after the consolidation or merger, beneficially own (as such term is defined in Rule 13d-3 under the Exchange Act), directly or indirectly, shares representing in the aggregate 50% or more of the combined voting power of the securities of the corporation issuing cash or securities in the consolidation or merger (or of its ultimate parent corporation, if any); or

 

(iii)            there shall occur (A) any sale, lease, exchange or other transfer (in one transaction or a series of transactions contemplated or arranged by any party as a single plan) of all or substantially all of the assets of the Company, other than a sale or disposition by the Company of all or substantially all of the Company’s assets to an entity, at least 50% of the combined voting power of the voting securities of which are owned by “persons” (as defined above) in substantially the same proportion as their ownership of the Company immediately prior to such sale or (B) the approval by stockholders of the Company of any plan or proposal for the liquidation or dissolution of the Company; or

 

(iv)           the members of the Board at the beginning of any consecutive 24-calendar-month period (the “Incumbent Directors”) cease for any reason other than due to death to constitute at least a majority of the members of the Board; provided that any director whose election, or nomination for election by the Company’s stockholders, was approved by a vote of at least a majority of the

 

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members of the Board then still in office who were members of the Board at the beginning of such 24-calendar-month period, shall be deemed to be an Incumbent Director.

 

6.                                       Covenants of the Executive.

 

6.1                                 Covenant Against Competition; Other Covenants.  The Executive acknowledges that (i) the principal business of the Company (which expressly includes for purposes of this Section 6 (and any related enforcement provisions hereof), its successors and assigns) is the acquiring, owning and selling residential mortgage-related securities and/or debt securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, U.S. government sponsored or chartered enterprises or U.S. government agencies  (such business herein being referred to as the “Business”); (ii) the Company is one of the limited number of persons who have developed such a business; (iii) the Company’s Business is, in part, national in scope; (iv) the Executive’s work for the Company has given and will continue to give him access to the confidential affairs and proprietary information of the Company; (v) the covenants and agreements of the Executive contained in this Section 6 are essential to the business and goodwill of the Company; and (vi) the Company would not have entered into this Agreement but for the covenants and agreements set forth in this Section 6.  Accordingly, the Executive covenants and agrees that:

 

(a)                                  By and in consideration of the salary and benefits to be provided by the Company hereunder, including the severance arrangements set forth herein, and further in consideration of the Executive’s exposure to the proprietary information of the Company, the Executive covenants and agrees that, during the period commencing on the date hereof and ending one year following the date upon which the Executive shall cease to be an employee of the Company and its affiliates, he shall not in the United States, directly or indirectly, except with the prior approval of the Board, (i) engage in the Business (other than for the Company or its affiliates) or otherwise compete with the Company or its affiliates, (ii) render any services to

 

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any person, corporation, partnership or other entity (other than the Company or its affiliates) engaged in the elements of the Business, or (iii) become interested in any person, corporation, partnership or other entity (other than the Company or its affiliates) engaged in the elements of the Business, as a partner, shareholder, principal, agent, employee, consultant or in any other relationship or capacity; provided, however, that, notwithstanding the foregoing, the Executive may invest in securities of any entity, solely for investment purposes and without participating in the business thereof, if (A) such securities are traded on any national securities exchange or the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. Automated Quotation System, (B) the Executive is not a controlling person of, or a member of a group which controls, such entity and (C) the Executive does not, directly or indirectly, own 5% or more of any class of securities of such entity.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, the restrictions in this Section 6(a) shall not apply upon and after (i) a termination covered by Section 5.2 or (ii) a termination by the Executive after a Change in Control.  In addition, the restrictions of this Section 6(a) shall not apply to any existing investments or other activities of the Executive which have been disclosed in writing to the Board prior to the date hereof.

 

(b)                                 During and after the period of the Executive’s employment with the Company and its affiliates, the Executive shall keep secret and retain in strictest confidence, and shall not use for his benefit or the benefit of others, except in connection with the business and affairs of the Company and its affiliates, all confidential matters relating to the Company’s Business and the business of any of its affiliates and to the Company and any of its affiliates, learned by the Executive heretofore or hereafter directly or indirectly from the Company or any of its affiliates (the “Confidential Company Information”); and shall not disclose such Confidential Company Information to anyone outside of the Company except with the

 

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Company’s express written consent and except for Confidential Company Information which is at the time of receipt or thereafter becomes publicly known through no wrongful act of the Executive or is received from a third party not under an obligation to keep such information confidential and without breach of this Agreement.

 

(c)                                  During the period commencing on the date hereof and ending one year following the date upon which the Executive shall cease to be an employee of the Company and its affiliates, (i) the Executive shall not, without the Company’s prior written consent, directly or indirectly, knowingly (i) solicit or encourage to leave the employment or other service of the Company, or any of its affiliates, any employee or independent contractor thereof or (ii) hire (on behalf of the Executive or any other person or entity) any employee or independent contractor who has left the employment or other service of the Company or any of its affiliates within the one-year period which follows the termination of such employee’s or independent contractor’s employment or other service with the Company and its affiliates, and (ii) the Executive will not, whether for his own account or for the account of any other person, firm, corporation or other business organization, intentionally interfere with the Company’s or any of its affiliates’ relationship with, or endeavor to entice away from the Company or any of its affiliates, any person who during the Term is or was a customer or client of the Company or any of its affiliates.

 

(d)                                 All memoranda, notes, lists, records, property and any other tangible product and documents (and all copies thereof), whether visually perceptible, machine-readable or otherwise, made, produced or compiled by the Executive or made available to the Executive concerning the business of the Company or its affiliates, (i) shall at all times be the property of the Company (and, as applicable, any affiliates) and shall be delivered to the Company at any

 

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time upon its request, and (ii) upon the Executive’s termination of employment, shall be immediately returned to the Company (except that in all events the Executive may retain a copy of his contacts list).

 

6.2                                 Rights and Remedies upon Breach.  The Executive acknowledges and agrees that any breach by him of any of the provisions of Section 6.1 (the “Restrictive Covenants”) would result in irreparable injury and damage for which money damages would not provide an adequate remedy.  Therefore, if the Executive breaches, or threatens to commit a breach of, any of the provisions of Section 6.1, the Company and its affiliates, in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other rights and remedies available to the Company and its affiliates under law or in equity (including, without limitation, the recovery of damages), shall have the right and remedy to have the Restrictive Covenants specifically enforced by any court having equity jurisdiction, including, without limitation, the right to an entry against the Executive of restraining orders and injunctions (preliminary, mandatory, temporary and permanent) against violations, threatened or actual, and whether or not then continuing, of such covenants.

 

7.                                       Other Provisions.

 

7.1                                 Severability.  The Executive acknowledges and agrees that (i) he has had an opportunity to seek advice of counsel in connection with this Agreement and (ii) the Restrictive Covenants are reasonable in geographical and temporal scope and in all other respects.  If it is determined that any of the provisions of this Agreement, including, without limitation, any of the Restrictive Covenants, or any part thereof, is invalid or unenforceable, the remainder of the provisions of this Agreement shall not thereby be affected and shall be given full effect, without regard to the invalid portions.

 

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7.2                                 Duration and Scope of Covenants.  If any court or other decision-maker of competent jurisdiction determines that any of the Executive’s covenants contained in this Agreement, including, without limitation, any of the Restrictive Covenants, or any part thereof, is unenforceable because of the duration or geographical scope of such provision, then, after such determination has become final and unappealable, the duration or scope of such provision, as the case may be, shall be reduced so that such provision becomes enforceable and, in its reduced form, such provision shall then be enforceable and shall be enforced.

 

7.3                                 Enforceability; Jurisdiction; Arbitration.

 

(a)  The Company and the Executive intend to and hereby confer jurisdiction to enforce the Restrictive Covenants set forth in Section 6 upon the courts of any jurisdiction within the geographical scope of the Restrictive Covenants.  If the courts of any one or more of such jurisdictions hold the Restrictive Covenants wholly unenforceable by reason of breadth of scope or otherwise it is the intention of the Company and the Executive that such determination not bar or in any way affect the Company’s right, or the right of any of its affiliates, to the relief provided above in the courts of any other jurisdiction within the geographical scope of such Restrictive Covenants, as to breaches of such Restrictive Covenants in such other respective jurisdictions, such Restrictive Covenants as they relate to each jurisdiction’s being, for this purpose, severable, diverse and independent covenants, subject, where appropriate, to the doctrine of res judicata.

 

(b)  Any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this Agreement or the breach of this Agreement (other than a controversy or claim arising under Section 6, to the extent necessary for the Company (or its

 

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affiliates, where applicable) to avail itself of the rights and remedies referred to in Section 6.2) that is not resolved by the Executive and the Company (or its affiliates, where applicable) shall be submitted to arbitration in Vero Beach or Palm Beach, Florida in accordance with Florida law and the procedures of the American Arbitration Association.  The determination of the arbitrator(s) shall be conclusive and binding on the Company (or its affiliates, where applicable) and the Executive and judgment may be entered on the arbitrator(s)’ award in any court having jurisdiction.  In any action in which the Executive is the prevailing party, the Company shall pay the Executive’s legal fees.

 

7.4                                 Indemnification and Insurance.  The Company agrees to indemnify (in addition to any other indemnification provided to the Executive under any separate agreement or the by-laws of the Company) the Executive to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, as the same exists and may hereafter be amended, from and against any and all losses, damages, claims, liabilities and expenses asserted against, or incurred or suffered by, the Executive (including the costs and expenses of legal counsel retained by the Company to defend the Executive and judgments, fines and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by or imposed on such indemnified party) with respect to any action, suit or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative in which the Executive is made a party or threatened to be made a party, either with regard to his entering into this Agreement or in his capacity as an officer or director, or former officer or director, of the Company or any affiliate thereof for which he may serve in such capacity.  Such indemnification shall continue after the Executive is no longer employed by the Company and shall inure to the benefit of his heirs, executors, and administrators.  The Company also agrees to attempt to secure and maintain reasonable officers and directors liability insurance at reasonable rates, within a reasonable time after the date hereof, providing coverage for Executive, which coverage would continue after termination of

 

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employment for a reasonable time (but in no event for a shorter time than is applicable to any other senior executive of the Company).

 

7.5                                 Notices.  Any notice or other communication required or permitted hereunder shall be in writing and shall be delivered personally, telegraphed, telexed, sent by facsimile transmission or sent by certified, registered or express mail, postage prepaid.  Any such notice shall be deemed given when so delivered personally, telegraphed, telexed or sent by facsimile transmission or, if mailed, five days after the date of deposit in the United States mails as follows:

 

(i)                                     If to the Company, to:

 

Bimini Mortgage Management Inc.

3305 Flamingo Drive, Suite 100

Vero Beach, Florida 32963

Attention:  Chief Executive Officer

 

with a copy to:

 

Clifford Chance US LLP

200 Park Avenue

New York, New York  10166

Attention:  Robert E. King, Jr.

 

(ii)                                  If to the Executive, to the address set forth on the signature page hereof.

 

Any such person may by notice given in accordance with this Section 7.4 to the other parties hereto designate another address or person for receipt by such person of notices hereunder.

 

7.6                                 Entire Agreement.  This Agreement contains the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the subject matter hereof and supersedes all prior agreements, written or oral, with respect thereto.

 

7.7                                 Waivers and Amendments.  This Agreement may be amended, superseded, canceled, renewed or extended, and the terms hereof may be waived, only by a written instrument signed by the parties or, in the case of a waiver, by the party waiving compliance.  No

 

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delay on the part of any party in exercising any right, power or privilege hereunder shall operate as a waiver thereof, nor shall any waiver on the part of any party of any such right, power or privilege nor any single or partial exercise of any such right, power or privilege, preclude any other or further exercise thereof or the exercise of any other such right, power or privilege.

 

7.8                                 GOVERNING LAW.  THIS AGREEMENT SHALL BE GOVERNED BY AND CONSTRUED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA WITHOUT REGARD TO PRINCIPLES OF CONFLICTS OF LAW.

 

7.9                                 Assignment.  This Agreement, and the Executive’s rights and obligations hereunder, may not be assigned by the Executive; any purported assignment by the Executive in violation hereof shall be null and void.  In the event of any sale, transfer or other disposition of all or substantially all of the Company’s assets or business, whether by merger, consolidation or otherwise, the Company may assign this Agreement and its rights hereunder.

 

7.10                           Withholding.  The Company shall be entitled to withhold from any payments or deemed payments any amount of tax withholding it determines to be required by law.

 

7.11                           Binding Effect.  This Agreement shall be binding upon and inure to the benefit of the parties and their respective successors, permitted assigns, heirs, executors and legal representatives.

 

7.12                           Counterparts.  This Agreement may be executed by the parties hereto in separate counterparts, each of which when so executed and delivered shall be an original but all such counterparts together shall constitute one and the same instrument.  Each counterpart may consist of two copies hereof each signed by one of the parties hereto.

 

7.13                           Survival.  Anything contained in this Agreement to the contrary notwithstanding, the provisions of Sections 6, 7.3, 7.4 and 7.10, and the other provisions of this Section 7 (to the

 

19



 

extent necessary to effectuate the survival of Sections 6, 7.3, 7.4 and 7.10), shall survive termination of this Agreement and any termination of the Executive’s employment hereunder.

 

7.14                           Existing Agreements.  The Executive represents to the Company that he is not subject or a party to any employment or consulting agreement, non-competition covenant or other agreement, covenant or understanding which might prohibit him from executing this Agreement or limit his ability to fulfill his responsibilities hereunder, except that, as previously disclosed to the Board, the Executive may have certain non-solicitation and non-interference obligations to a former employer.

 

7.15                           Headings.  The headings in this Agreement are for reference only and shall not affect the interpretation of this Agreement.

 

7.16                           Parachutes.  If any amount payable to or other benefit receivable by the Executive pursuant to this Agreement is deemed to constitute a Parachute Payment (as defined below), alone or when added to any other amount payable or paid to or other benefit receivable or received by the Executive which is deemed to constitute a Parachute Payment (whether or not under an existing plan, arrangement or other agreement), and would result in the imposition on the Executive of an excise tax under Section 4999 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), then, in addition to any other benefits to which the Executive is entitled under this Agreement, the Executive shall be paid by the Company an amount in cash equal to the sum of the excise taxes payable by the Executive by reason of receiving Parachute Payments plus the amount necessary to put the Executive in the same after-tax position (taking into account any and all applicable federal, state and local excise, income or other taxes at the highest applicable rates on such Parachute Payments and on any payments under this Section 7.16) as if no excise taxes had been imposed with respect to Parachute Payments.  “Parachute Payment”

 

20



 

shall mean a “parachute payment” as defined in Section 280G of the Code.  The amount of any payment under this Section 7.16 shall be computed by a certified public accounting firm selected by the Company and reasonably acceptable to the Executive, subject to the last sentence of this Section 7.16.  Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section 7.16, if a reduction in Parachute Payments by 10% or less would cause there not to be excise taxes imposed upon the Executive under Section 4999 of the Code (as determined by the accounting firm referred to above, but subject to the last sentence of this Section 7.16), then (i) no payments shall be made to the Executive under the foregoing provisions of this Section 7.16, and (ii) the payments and benefits provided under this Agreement shall be reduced to the extent necessary so that no excise taxes would be imposed upon the Executive.  In the event that the Internal Revenue Service or a court, as applicable, finally and in a decision that has become unappealable, decides that the determinations by the accounting firm under this Section 7.16 are incorrect, then the parties shall within five business days take such corrective actions as are necessary to conform to such final decision; provided that (i) the Executive shall not initiate any proceeding or other contests regarding these matters, other than at the direction of the Company, and shall provide notice to the Company of any proceeding or other contest regarding these matters initiated by the Internal Revenue Service, and (ii) the Company shall be entitled to direct and control all such proceeding and other contests, if it commits to and does pay all costs (including without limitation legal and other professional fees) associated therewith.

 

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IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have signed their names as of the day and year first above written.

 

 

 

BIMINI MORTGAGE MANAGEMENT INC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

By:

/s/  Jeffrey J. Zimmer

 

 

 

 

 

Name:

Jeffrey J. Zimmer

 

 

 

 

Title:

President

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

/s/ Robert E. Cauley

 

 

 

Robert E. Cauley

 




 

 

EX-99.1 2 bmnm8k06302009ex991.htm CAULEY AGREEMENT DATED JUNE 30, 2009

 

 

AGREEMENT

 

 

THIS AGREEMENT (the “Agreement”) is made and entered into this 30th day of June, 2009, between BIMINI CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, INC., a Maryland corporation (the “Company”) and ROBERT E. CAULEY (“Executive”). This Agreement replaces and supersedes the Severance Agreement between the Company and the Executive dated as of December 18, 2008.  Certain capitalized terms used in this Agreement are defined in Section 7.

Background

 

The Company acknowledges that Executive has made and is expected to make significant contributions to the growth and success of the Company.  The Company also acknowledges that there exists the possibility of a Change in Control of the Company.  The Company recognizes that the possibility of a Change in Control may contribute to uncertainty on the part of senior management and may result in the departure or distraction of senior management from their operating responsibilities.

 

Outstanding management of the Company is always essential to advancing the best interests of the Company and its shareholders.  In the event of a threat or occurrence of a bid to acquire or change control of the Company or to effect a business combination, it is particularly important that the business of the Company be continued with a minimum of disruption.  The Company believes that the objective of securing and retaining outstanding management will be achieved if the Company’s key management employees are given certain assurances so that they will not be distracted by personal uncertainties and risks created by such circumstances.

 

NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the mutual covenants and obligations herein and the compensation the Company agrees herein to pay to Executive, and other good and valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which are hereby acknowledged, the Company and Executive agree as follows:

 

1.           Term of Agreement.  The Effective Date of this Agreement is the day and year first above written.  The Term of this Agreement begins on the Effective Date and ends on June 30, 2012 “The Initial End Date”.  Notwithstanding the preceding sentence ( x ) the Term of this Agreement shall be extended for an additional twelve month period (each such extension giving rise to a new “Extended End Date”, as of each June 30 beginning June 30, 2010 (each such June 30 being a “Renewal Date”), unless the Company gives Executive written notice, at least ninety days prior to the applicable Renewal Date, that the Term of this Agreement will not be extended and ( y ) the Term of this Agreement shall be extended automatically to the day preceding the three year anniversary of a Control Change Date if a Control Change Date occurs during the Term of this Agreement.

 

2.           Right to Receive Termination Benefits.  Executive shall be entitled to receive the Termination Benefits described in Section 3 if during the Term of this Agreement (i) the Company terminates Executive’s employment with the Company without Cause, (ii) Executive resigns from the employment of the Company and Executive has Good Reason to resign from the Company, or (iii) if the Executive dies during the Term or the Executive, by virtue of ill health or other disability, is unable to perform substantially and continuously the duties assigned to him for more than 180 consecutive or non-consecutive days out of any consecutive 12-month period.  No amounts will be payable under this Agreement unless Executive’s employment with the Company is terminated as described in the preceding sentence.

 

3.           Termination Benefits.  Upon a termination of Executive’s employment in accordance with Section 2, Executive shall be entitled to receive the following Termination Benefits:

 

(a)           Payment of any accrued but unpaid salary from the Company through the date that Executive’s employment terminates.

 

(b)           Payment of any bonus that has been approved by the Compensation Committee of the Board (the “Committee”) but which remains unpaid as of Executive’s termination of employment.

 

(c)           Reimbursement for any expenses that Executive incurred on behalf of the Company prior to termination of employment to the extent that such expenses are reimbursable under the Company’s standard reimbursement policies.

 

(d)           A severance benefit equal to the amount described in either (i) or (ii), as applicable.

 

(i)           This Section 3(d)(i) applies if either (x) the Company terminates Executive’s employment with the Company without Cause within six months before or after a Control Change Date or (y) Executive resigns from the employment of the company within six months after a Control Change Date and Executive has Good Reason to resign from the Company.  The severance benefit payable under this Section 3(d)(i) is equal to three (3) times the Executive’s Current Cash Compensation.  The term “Current Cash Compensation” means the sum of one year of Executive’s annual base salary from the Company as in effect on the date Executive’s employment terminates and the average of the annual cash bonuses paid to Executive for the Company’s two fiscal years ending before the date Executive’s employment with the Company terminates; provided that any extraordinary bonuses shall not be considered in determining Current Cash Compensation.  (For this purpose, a bonus is an “extraordinary bonus” if it is characterized as such in a resolution approved by the Committee in connection with the payment of the bonus.)

 

(ii)           This Section 3(d)(ii) applies if Executive’s employment terminates in accordance with Section 2 but the requirements of Section 3(d)(i) are not satisfied.  The severance benefit payable under this Section 3(d)(ii) is equal to the Executive’s Current Cash Compensation multiplied by the Quotient of (a) the number of days between the date that Executive’s employment terminates and later of the Initial End Date or the Extended End Date and (b) 365.

 

(e)           The Company shall pay the cost of continued health plan coverage for Executive and his qualified beneficiaries through the later of the (i) The Initial End Date or (ii) The Extended End Date.

 

The Termination Benefits described in Sections 3(a), 3(b), 3(c), 3(d)(i), and 3(d)(ii) shall be payable in a single cash sum within thirty days after Executive’s termination of employment; provided, however, that any amount payable under Section 3(a), 3(b), 3(c), 3(d)(i), or 3(d)(ii) that is subject to Code Section 409A shall be payable in a single cash sum on the date that is six months after Executive’s termination of employment.  

 

In addition to the Termination Benefits described in this Section 3, Executive also shall be entitled to receive any benefits or payments that Executive is entitled to receive under any employee benefit plans or other arrangements or agreements, including by way of example, restricted stock and stock option awards, that cover Executive.  If (and only if) Executive is entitled to receive the Termination Benefits pursuant to Section 2 hereof, nonvested restricted stock, stock options and other equity awards will become automatically vested on the date of Executive’s termination of employment.

 

4.           Excise Tax Indemnification.  Executive shall be entitled to a payment under this Agreement if any payment or benefit provided under this Agreement or any other plan or agreement with the Company constitutes a “parachute payment” (as defined in Section 280G(b)(2)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (the “Code”), but without regard to Code Section 280G(b)(2)(A)(ii)) and Executive incurs a liability under Code Section 4999.  The amount payable to Executive under this Section 4 shall be the amount required to indemnify Executive and hold him harmless from the application of Code Sections 280G and 4999 with respect to benefits, payments, accelerated exercisability and vesting and other rights under this Agreement or otherwise, and any income, employment, hospitalization, excise and other taxes attributable to the indemnification payment.  The benefit payable under this Section 4 shall be calculated and paid not later than the date (or extended filing date) on which the tax return reflecting liability for the Code Section 4999 excise tax is required to be filed with the Internal Revenue Service.  To the extent that any other plan or agreement requires that Executive be indemnified and held harmless from the application of Code Sections 280G and 4999, any such indemnification and the amount required to be paid to Executive under this Section 4 shall be coordinated so that such indemnification is paid only once and the Company’s obligations under this Section 4 shall be satisfied to the extent of any such other payment (and vice versa).  Executive shall be entitled to the benefit described in Section 4 without regard to whether he becomes entitled to receive the Termination Benefits described in Section 3.

 

5.           Covenants of the Executive.  Executive acknowledges that (i) the principal business of the Company (which expressly includes for purposes of this Section 5 and any related enforcement provisions hereof, its successors and assigns) is the acquiring, owning and selling of residential mortgage-related securities and/or debt securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, U.S. government sponsored or chartered enterprises or U.S. government agencies (such business herein being referred to as the “Business”); (ii) the Company is one of a limited number of persons who have developed such a business; (iii) the Company’s Business is, in part, national in scope; (iv) Executive’s work for the Company has given and will continue to give him access to the confidential affairs and proprietary information of the Company; (v) the covenants and agreements of Executive contained in this Section 5 are essential to the business and goodwill of the Company; and (vi) the Company would not have entered into this Agreement but for the covenants and agreements set forth in this Section 5.  Accordingly, the Executive covenants and agrees that:

 

(a)           During and after the period of Executive’s employment with the Company and its affiliates, Executive shall keep secret and retain in strictest confidence, and shall not use for his benefit or the benefit of others, except in connection with the business and affairs of the Company and its affiliates, all confidential matters relating to the Company’s Business and the business of any of its affiliates learned by Executive heretofore or hereafter directly or indirectly from the Company or any of its affiliates (the “Confidential Company Information”); and Executive shall not disclose such Confidential Company Information to anyone outside of the Company except with the Company’s express written consent and except for Confidential Company Information which is at the time of receipt or thereafter becomes publicly known through no wrongful act of Executive or is received from a third party not under an obligation to keep such information confidential and without breach of this Agreement.

 

(b)           During the period commencing on the date hereof and ending one year following the date upon which Executive shall cease to be an employee of the Company and its affiliates, (i)  Executive shall not, without the Company’s prior written consent, directly or indirectly, knowingly (x) solicit or encourage to leave the employment or other service of the Company, or any of its affiliates, any employee or independent contractor thereof or (y) hire (on behalf of Executive or any other person or entity) any employee or independent contractor who has left the employment or other service of the Company or any of its affiliates within the one-year period which follows the termination of such employee’s or independent contractor’s employment or other service with the Company and its affiliates, and (ii)  Executive will not, whether for his own account or for the account of any other person, firm, corporation or other business organization, intentionally interfere with the Company’s or any of its affiliates’ relationship with any person who during the Term of this Agreement is or was a counterparty, investor and/or vendor of the Company or any of its affiliates.

 

(c)           All memoranda, notes, lists, records, property and any other tangible product and documents (and all copies thereof), whether visually perceptible, machine-readable or otherwise, made, produced or compiled by Executive or made available to Executive concerning the business of the Company or its affiliates, (i) shall at all times be the property of the Company (and, as applicable, any affiliates) and shall be delivered to the Company at any time upon its request, and (ii) upon Executive’s termination of employment, shall be immediately returned to the Company (except that in all events Executive may retain a copy of his contacts list).

 

6.           Company Remedies.  Executive acknowledges and agrees that any breach by him of any of the provisions of Section 5 (the “Restrictive Covenants”) would result in irreparable injury and damages for which money damages would not provide an adequate remedy.  Therefore, if Executive breaches, or threatens to commit a breach of, any of the Restrictive Covenants, the Company and its affiliates, in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other rights and remedies available to the Company and its affiliates under law or in equity (including, without limitation, the recovery of damages), shall be entitled to the following:

 

(a)           The Company and its affiliates shall have the right and remedy to have the Restrictive Covenants specifically enforced by any court having equity jurisdiction, including, without limitation, the right to an entry against Executive of restraining orders and injunctions (preliminary, mandatory, temporary and permanent) against violations, threatened or actual, and whether or not then continuing, of such covenants.

 

(b)           Within fifteen days after receipt of a written demand from the Company, Executive shall surrender to the Company, for cancellation without payment or consideration, any outstanding stock option, stock appreciation right or other equity-based award that vested under Section 3 on account of a termination of employment described in Section 2 and that remains outstanding upon receipt of the Company’s notice.  If such stock option, stock appreciation right or other equity-based award was previously exercised or settled, Executive shall return, convey or transfer to the Company, within fifteen days after receipt of the Company’s notice, any cash or shares delivered to Executive upon exercise or settlement of such award, less any amount paid by Executive to exercise such award.  If any such award was exercised, settled in shares and such shares are no longer owned by Executive, then Executive shall pay the Company, in a single cash sum within fifteen days after receipt of the Company’s notice, an amount equal to the date of disposition fair market value of such shares, less any amount paid by Executive to exercise the award and acquire the shares.

 

7.           Certain Definitions.  As used in this Agreement, certain terms have the definitions set forth below.

 

(a)           Acquiring Person means that a Person, considered alone or together with all Control Affiliates and Associates of that Person, is or becomes directly or indirectly the beneficial owner (as defined in Rule 13d-3 under the Exchange Act) of securities representing at least fifty percent (50%) of the Company’s then outstanding securities entitled to vote generally in the election of the Board.

 

(b)           Associate, with respect to any Person, is defined in Rule 12b-2 under the Exchange Act; provided, however, that an Associate shall not include the Company or a majority-owned affiliate of the Company.

 

(c)           Board means the Board of Directors of the Company.

 

(d)           Cause means (i) willful, deliberate and continued failure by Executive (other than for reason of mental or physical illness) to perform his duties as established by the Board, or fraud or dishonesty in connection with such duties; (ii) a material breach by Executive of his fiduciary duties of loyalty or care to the Company; (iii) conviction of any crime (or upon entering a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a charge of any crime) constituting a felony; (iv) misappropriation of the Company’s funds or property; or (v) willful, flagrant, deliberate and repeated infractions of material published policies and regulations of the Company of which Executive has actual knowledge.  No termination for Cause shall be effective unless the Board makes a Cause determination after notice to the Executive and the Executive has been provided with the opportunity (with counsel of his choice) to contest the determination at a meeting of the Board.

 

(e)           Change in Control means (i) a Person is or becomes an Acquiring Person; (ii) the closing of a transaction or series of related transactions that involves the transfer of more than fifty percent (50%) of the Company’s and its affiliates’ total assets on a consolidated basis, as reported in the Company’s consolidated financial statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, to a Person; (iii) the closing of a transaction or series of related transactions pursuant to which the Company undergoes a merger, consolidation, or statutory share exchange with a company, regardless of whether the Company is intended to be the surviving or resulting entity after the merger, consolidation, or statutory share exchange, other than a transaction that results in the voting securities of the Company carrying the right to vote in elections of persons to the Board outstanding immediately prior to the closing of the transaction continuing to represent (either by remaining outstanding or by being converted into voting securities of the surviving entity) more than fifty percent (50%) of the Company’s voting securities carrying the right to vote in elections of persons to the Board, or such securities of such surviving entity, outstanding immediately after the closing of such transaction; (iv) the Continuing Directors cease for any reason to constitute a majority of the Board; (v) holders of the securities of the Company entitled to vote thereon approve a sale by the Company of substantially all of the assets of the Company and its affiliates (or, if such approval is not required by applicable law and is not solicited by the Company, the commencement of actions to effect such a sale); or (vi) the Board adopts a resolution to the effect that, in its judgment, as a consequence of any one or more transactions or events or series of transactions or events, a Change in Control of the Company has effectively occurred.

 

(f)           Continuing Director means any member of the Board, while a member of the Board and (i) who was a member of the Board on the Effective Date or (ii) whose nomination for or election to the Board was recommended or approved by a majority of the members of the Board who, on the date of such recommendation or approval, are Continuing Directors.

 

(g)           Control Affiliate, with respect to any Person, means an affiliate as defined in Rule 12b-2 under the Exchange Act.

 

(h)           Control Change Date means the date on which a Change in Control occurs.  If a Change in Control occurs on account of a series of transactions or events, the “Control Change Date” is the date of the last of such transactions or events in the series.

 

(i)           Exchange Act means the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.

 

(j)           Good Reason means Executive’s resignation from the employment of the Company on account of one or more of the following events:

 

(i)           the failure by the Board to reelect Executive to Executive’s current position with the Company;

 

(ii)           a material diminution by the Board of Executive’s duties, functions and responsibilities with respect to the Company without Executive’s consent or the failure of the Company to nominate the Executive for re-election to the Board when his then existing term is scheduled to expire;

 

(iii)           the failure of the Company to permit Executive to exercise such responsibilities as are consistent with Executive’s positions and are of such a nature as are usually associated with such offices of a corporation engaged in substantially the same business as the Company;

 

(iv)           the Company’s causing Executive to relocate his employment more than fifty (50) miles from Vero Beach, Florida, without the consent of Executive;

 

(v)           the Company’s failure to make a payment when due to Executive, after receipt of written notice of such failure and the Company’s failure to cure such failure within ten (10) days after receipt of such written notice;

 

(vi)           the Company’s reduction of Executive’s (A) annual base salary, as such may be increased from time to time after the date of this Agreement; (B) annual bonus, such that the aggregate threshold, target, or maximum bonus opportunity for Executive for a fiscal year is lower than the aggregate threshold, target, or maximum bonus, respectively, projected for Executive for the immediately preceding fiscal year; or (C) employee welfare, fringe or pension benefits, other than reductions determined to be necessary to comply with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, or to retain the tax-qualified or tax favored status of the benefit under the Code, which determination shall be made by the Board in good faith; or

 

(vii)           the Company or the Board directs Executive to engage in unlawful or unethical conduct or conduct contrary to the Company’s good business practices.

 

(k)           Person means any human being, firm, corporation, partnership, or other entity.  “Person” also includes any human being, firm, corporation, partnership, or other entity as defined in sections 13(d)(3) and 14(d)(2) of the Exchange Act.  The term “Person” does not include the Company, or any Related Entity, and the term Person does not include any employee-benefit plan maintained by the Company or any Related Entity, and any person or entity organized, appointed, or established by the Company or any Related Entity for or pursuant to the terms of any such employee-benefit plan, unless the Board determines that such an employee-benefit plan or such person or entity is a “Person.”

 

(l)           Related Entity means any entity that is part of a controlled group of corporations or is under common control with the Company within the meaning of section 1563(a), 414(b) or 414(c) of the Code.

 

8.            Attorneys’ Fees.  The Company  shall bear the costs for any attorneys’ fees and any other reasonable expenses incurred in enforcing or protecting the rights of Executive or the Company under this Agreement, including with respect to the resolution of disputes arising in connection with an interpretation of the provisions herein.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Company shall not be obligated to pay the costs or attorneys' fees incurred by Executive in pursuing any claim or defense under this Agreement that is found by a court of competent jurisdiction to have been frivolous or pursued by Executive in bad faith.

 

9.            No Assignment.  Except as required by applicable law, no right to receive payments under this Agreement shall be subject to anticipation, commutation, alienation, sale, assignment, encumbrance, charge, pledge or hypothecation or to execution, attachment, levy or similar process or assignment by operation of law and any attempt to effect any such action shall be null, void and no effect.

 

10.            Governing Law.  This Agreement shall be governed by the laws of the State of Florida other than its choice of law provisions to the extent that they would require the application of the laws of a State other than the State of Florida.

 

11.            Successors.  The Company shall require any successor to all or substantially all of the Company’s respective business or assets (whether direct or indirect, by purchase, merger, consolidation or otherwise), to expressly assume and agree to perform this Agreement in the same manner and to the same extent that the Company would be required to perform it if no such succession had taken place.  Failure of the Company to obtain such assumption and agreement prior to the effectiveness of any such succession shall be a breach of this Agreement and shall entitle Executive to resign from the employ of the Company and to receive the Termination Benefits and other benefits under this Agreement in the same amount and on the same terms as Executive would be entitled to hereunder if he terminated his employment for Good Reason following a Change in Control.  References in this Agreement to the “Company” include the Company as herein before defined and any successor to the Company’s business, assets or both which assumes and agrees to perform this Agreement by operation of law or otherwise.

 

12.            Binding Agreement.  This Agreement shall be binding on and inure to the benefit of, and be binding on and enforceable by or against Executive and his personal or legal representatives, executors, administrators, successors, heirs, distributees, devisees and legatees.  If Executive dies while any amount remains payable to him hereunder, all such amounts shall be paid in accordance with the terms of this Agreement to Executive’s devisee, legatee or other designee or, if there is none, to Executive’s estate.

 

13.            No Employment Rights.  Nothing in this Agreement confers on Executive any right to continuance of employment by the Company or any affiliate.  Nothing in this Agreement interferes with the right of the Company or an affiliate to terminate Executive’s employment at any time for any reason whatsoever, with or without Cause, subject to the requirements of this Agreement.  Nothing in this Agreement restricts the right of Executive to terminate his employment with the Company and affiliates at any time, for any reason whatsoever, with or without Good Reason.

 

14.            Counterparts.  This Agreement may be executed in one or more counterparts, each of which shall be deemed an original but all of which together constitute one and the same instrument.

 

 

15.   Entire Agreement.  This Agreement expresses the whole and entire agreement between the parties with reference to the payment of the Termination Benefits as described in Sections 2 and 3 above and supersedes and replaces any prior agreement, understanding or arrangement (whether oral or written) by or between the Company and Executive with respect to the payment of the Termination Benefits.  The provisions of this agreement shall not supersede, modify, nullify or in any way alter agreements between the parties with respect to any other matter.

 

16.            Notices.  All notices, requests and other communications to any party under this Agreement shall be in writing and shall be given to such party at its address set forth below or such other address as such party may hereafter specify for the purpose by notice to the other party:

 

 

If to Executive:

5165 St. Andrews Island Drive

 

Vero Beach, Florida 32967

 

 

If to the Company:

3305 Flamingo Drive

 

Vero Beach, Florida 32963

 

Each notice, request or other communication shall be effective if (i) given by mail, seventy-two hours after such communication is deposited in the mails with first class postage prepaid, address as aforesaid or (ii) if given by any other means, when delivered at the address specified in this Section 16.

 

17.           Modification of Agreement.  No waiver or modification of this Agreement shall be valid unless in writing and duly executed by the party to be charged therewith.  No evidence of any waiver or modification shall be offered or received in evidence at any proceeding, arbitration or litigation between the parties unless such waiver or modification is in writing, duly and executed.  The parties agree that this Section 17 may not be waived except as herein set forth.

 

18.           Recitals.  The Recitals to this Agreement are incorporated herein and shall constitute an integral part of this Agreement.

 

 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have executed this Agreement on the day and year first above written.

 

ROBERT E. CAULEY

 

 

/s/ Robert E. Cauley___________________________

 

 

BIMINI CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, INC.

 

 

By:  /s/G. Hunter Haas___________________________

 

Name: G. Hunter Haas_________________________

 

Title: President, Chief Investment Officer, Chief Financial

Officer, and Treasurer