De Francis, Manfusos close to settlement


A settlement between the Manfuso brothers and Joe De Francis might be reached by Tuesday, said Joseph H. H. Kaplan, chief administrative judge of the Baltimore City Circuit Court.

Kaplan has been mediating talks between the two groups, which own Laurel and Pimlico race courses, for the past couple of weeks in an effort to try to solve a number of issues that have been blocking a buyout.

The brothers and De Francis have been involved in a lengthy and bitter feud over who will control the tracks.

Kaplan said yesterday that "the talks are getting along."

Once a settlement is reached, De Francis has until Jan. 12 to decide whether he will buy the Manfusos' shares in the tracks for $8.2 million. The figure was set by the Manfusos when they triggered a Russian roulette provision in a stockholders' agreement that both sides had signed four years ago.

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