NEW YORK CITY-Citing potential conflicts of interest involving the proposed merger between First Union and Gotham Golf Corp., William A. Ackman, has stepped down as chairman of the board of trustees and resigned as a trustee of First Union Real Estate Equity and Mortgage Investments.

“I believe that my resignation from the Board of First Union accomplishes several important goals” Ackman states. “First, in light of the proposed transaction between First Union and Gotham Golf Corp., my resignation eliminates any question of conflicts of interest. It will permit me to focus my efforts on implementing the First Union and Gotham Golf Corp. business combination, which I firmly believe to be in every constituent’s best interest. My resignation will also make it clear to First Union shareholders and the investing public, if it was not already clear from the formation of the Special Committee of the Board and its record of vigorous advocacy on behalf of shareholders and the lengthy negotiation process, that the decisions of First Union with respect to the proposed transaction are made by a Board of Trustees that is completely independent of Gotham Partners or me.”

Ackman is a principal in Gotham Partners, which owns 16.8% of the outstanding common shares of First Union. Gotham Partners is also an affiliate of Gotham Golf Corp.

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