Contact Us

REIT Shareholders Vote Out Chairman Monty Bennett, Board Immediately Reappoints Him

Ashford Hospitality Trust reinstated two of its directors immediately after they tendered their resignations Tuesday. 


The rapid-fire turn of events kicked off when board Chairman Monty Bennett and board member Kamal Jafarnia failed to receive the number of votes required for reelection to the company's board of directors and Ashford's corporate guidelines forced them to resign.

But the board moved quickly to reinstate the pair, citing what it claims was a “proxy campaign” from activist investor Blackwells Capital to oust the duo. 

Blackwells Capital, which owns 1,000 shares of Ashford, led a campaign to remove the two board members, alleging the board was failing to act in the best interests of stockholders.

The voting results were an “unequivocal message” that stockholders demand directors who will act as independent fiduciaries and “stand up to Monty Bennett's tyrannical ‘leadership’ and self-interested personal agenda,” said Jason Aintabi, Blackwells' chief investment officer, in a press release

Aintabi called the board's reappointment of Bennett and Jafarnia hours after their ouster a “shameless maneuver.” He said Blackwells will hold Ashford and its directors accountable for harm caused to shareholders. 

“Monty Bennett and Kamal Jafarnia were defeated handily at Ashford, only to have their directorships resurrected by the rest of the entrenched directors in a complete mockery of Ashford's director resignation policy,” Aintabi said.

Ashford's board declined to accept the pair's resignations after its Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee recommended it should not do so, the company said in a press release. Blackwells' activist campaign had no meaningful effect on the election, the company said.