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Dart Group Corp. agreed to pay Herbert Haft more than $41 million in the first part of a settlement that would wrest control of the retail and real-estate conglomerate from feuding family members.

The tentative settlement requires 76-year-old Haft to step down as chairman and chief executive of Greenbelt-based Dart Group and relinquish all control of the company he founded more than 50 years ago.

In return, Dart will pay Haft $29.7 million if the settlement is approved, plus $11.6 million from funds previously set aside by the company to pay a 1995 settlement to Ronald Haft, Herbert's son.

The 11th-hour agreement brings to an end years of bitter fighting between Haft family members that ended up forcing the company, which owns majority stakes in Crown Books, Trak Auto and Shoppers Food Warehouse, into bankruptcy protection in May 1995. Without this agreement, a bankruptcy trustee was to begin selling off the company's assets to raise money to pay off creditors such as mortgage lenders.

Shares of Dart Group rose $11.38 to $105.50.

Pub Date: 4/23/97

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