Updated from Thursday, April 23

With less than a week to go before Bank of America's ( BAC) shareholder meeting, it should come as little surprise that someone is trying to redirect blame for the Merrill Lynch deal from Chairman and CEO Ken Lewis , whose job and reputation are on the line.

Several shareholder groups are rallying for board and management changes at BofA in light of Merrill's deteriorating loan portfolio. The extent of that deterioration was not disclosed before the acquisition was finalized at year-end, despite evidence that BofA knew exactly what it was getting into.

Losses from Merrill's toxic assets topped $15 billion in the fourth quarter, and led to the government injecting another $20 billion into BofA. The additional funding called BofA's health into question and gave the feds a greater stake in the company, effectively sending Bank of America's reputation -- and share performance -- down with weaker competitors like Citigroup ( C) for a while.

On Monday, BofA said it held nearly $70 billion in "key capital-markets risk exposures" like super-senior collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, and credit default swaps, or CDS, at March 31. It set aside another $13.4 billion for near-term credit losses for the combined company.

Needless to say, shareholders are angry.

Some investors argue that Lewis put BofA at undue risk by agreeing to the Merrill deal and going forward with it when troubles became apparent. By not informing shareholders of the escalating losses, they say, Lewis and the board did not uphold their duty to protect shareholder interest.

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