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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Nashua man asking why Pennichuck stock checks bounced

NASHUA – Though they didn’t really want to cash in their Pennichuck Corp. stock just yet, David and Mary Joyce knew the city’s recent acquisition of the regional water utility would necessitate the transaction.

On Feb. 3, the Nashua couple wrote to Mellon Bank, the Pittsburgh-based institution that holds Pennichuck’s account, requested the necessary paperwork and returned it completed Feb. 8.

But when they checked their account balance a week latter and the funds still hadn’t appeared, David Joyce said he called his bank asking why the deposit had yet to be posted.

“They told me the checks bounced,” Joyce said Monday night in his Ayer Street home. “How can that be? Mellon is a big bank, it’s been around over 100 years. We didn’t know what to think.”

Joyce didn’t want to disclose the amount he received for cashing in his Pennichuck stock.

Joyce said he was one of the stockholders forced to sell when the city acquired Pennichuck Corp. in January. The city acquired ownership of Pennichuck Corp. through purchasing all shares of the company’s stock. The deal, valued at more than $200 million, capped a decades-long effort by the city to acquire the utility that supplies its drinking water.

Pennichuck Corp. interim CEO John Patenaude, the problem seems to be on the Joyces’ end, not Pennichuck’s. Company officials looked into the matter, Patenaude said, and came away satisfied nothing went wrong at Mellon, which holds the account containing all Pennichuck stockholders’ funds.

“The problem is not with the paying agent, it’s with (the Joyces’) personal bank,” he said Tuesday.

David Joyce, who has held shares in Pennichuck for about 15 years, said he called Mayor Donnalee Lozeau’s office Monday and left a message, which Lozeau said was passed on to Pennichuck.

Joyce said Tuesday that Thomas C. Leonard, Pennichuck’s outgoing chief financial officer, called and urged him to contact his own bank on the matter. Joyce did so, but said he was told only “that the checks are pending, but not valid.”

The answer did little to help clear up the mystery, he said.

“They said that’s all they have, it’s all they can tell me. I don’t know exactly what that means,” Joyce added, saying he planned to contact the bank again Wednesday.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443 or