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There's Always Mrs. Davis To Look Out for Shareholders

The 78-year-old investor, who lives in Washington's Watergate complex, is famous for holding forth at shareholder meetings. She said she owns stock in 80 companies.

"I have quite a bit of influence," she told the gathering. "Don't ever underestimate Evelyn Y. Davis."

In repeated trips to the microphone, Davis demanded that Fannie Mae disclose how much it has spent on legal representation ($143 million in 2006), charity ($60 million) and politics (the company's political action committee spent $700,000).

Davis argued unsuccessfully for a change in voting procedures that would make it easier for dissident investors to secure representation on the board. Ashley, who was presiding over the meeting, said politely at one point that he had to move on, but Davis protested "No, no, no," and he got out of the way.

Toward the meeting's end, when it seemed that the company wasn't going to disclose vote totals from the election of directors, Davis managed to extract some numbers.

The day before, Davis held center stage at a meeting in New York, where Dow Jones shareholders ratified the sale of their company to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

"Of course I was the star of the event," Davis said in an interview Friday. "I'm always the star of the event, my dear."

-- David S. Hilzenrath

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