New York Post – Three board members at the embattled Dillard’s department-store chain lashed out at a pair of hedge funds that are agitating to oust the retailer’s top management.

In a rare public statement, the Dillard’s trio of independent directors rejected a call by Barington Capital and Clinton Group to fire Chief Executive Bill Dillard Jr. The hedge funds have accused Dillard and his three siblings of being "overpaid and underqualified."

The hedge funds note that the four Dillard siblings have earned more than $16 million annually for the past three years despite a steady decline in the company’s performance and stock price.

But Dillard’s directors Warren Stephens, Peter Johnson and Robert Connor countered that the CEO’s salary was "well below the median in its peer group in 2007," citing a report from Institutional Shareholder Services, a leading proxy adviser. The directors also noted that the board decided against paying out bonuses last year, based on the company’s poor performance.

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