Dart Finished with All Hafts but Herbert

Article excerpt

Dart Group Corp.'s board of directors yesterday agreed to a $52.4 million settlement ending the ownership stakes of three members of the Haft family, but company founder Herbert Haft refuses to give up control of the company.

The Landover-based company, which has majority stakes in Trak Auto and Crown Books and owns Shoppers Food Warehouse and Total Beverage, severed its ties to Gloria Haft and two of her three children, Robert and Linda, through a deal that was negotiated last month.

That leaves only a lingering $42 million settlement with the family patriarch, Herbert. That deal, which has been in negotiations since April, was supposed to close Tuesday but didn't, reportedly because Mr. Haft has refused to sign it.

An attorney for Mr. Haft could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The board's approval yesterday "demonstrates that we have successfully concluded a settlement" with four of the five Hafts, said Larry G. Schafran, the chairman of Dart Group's executive committee. "It remains to be seen what will happen with Herbert."

Under terms of yesterday's deal, Dart will pay the Hafts $41 million for their common and voting shares of Dart stock, as well as for their options to buy additional shares of Dart, Trak Auto, Crown Books and Shoppers Food.

The agreement also gives Robert and Linda $4.4 million for their stakes in Dart's headquarters in Landover and in a Trak Auto warehouse in Illinois. Dart will pay an additional $7 million to reduce the mortgages on the buildings.

Now the only obstacle to removing the Haft family out of Dart Group is closing a similar deal with Herbert Haft. …