Haft's E-Incarnation

He's back in the news and loving every minute of it.

Herbert Haft, founder of the now-defunct Dart Group, did a vanishing act from the news pages following a very public family feud in which the following happened:

He fired his son, Robert, as a top Dart executive.

On CNN's "Moneyline," he accused son Ronald of "extortion, blackmail, bribery, fraud, misappropriation, hiding funds, false statements and taking assets without authorization."

He divorced Gloria, his wife.

His ignored retail empire fell apart at the seams.

Now, the white-pompadoured businessman has returned to promote himself and his interest in the hottest new sector: the Internet. Last week, the 78-year-old Haft launched an Internet health care store, Healthquick.com, that promises to sell vitamins and supplements at a discount price that can't be beat.

Never mind the fact that Robert Haft is the founder of a rival site, Vitamins.com. As previously reported, there is no cyberlove lost here, either.

Last week, the elder Haft also announced that he has taken a position on the advisory board of Experient Technologies, a Richmond-based software developer. In a statement, the grand man himself is described as "pioneering the world of discount retailing."

Never mind that Sam Walton guy.

-- Stephanie Stoughton

UFS Keeps On Ticking

Oops, we made a mistake. That's the message the New York Stock Exchange delivered last week to U.S. Foodservice when it told the Columbia, Md., food distributor that it wouldn't be able to use "USF" as its ticker symbol after all. Despite months of research, the NYSE later discovered that the "USF" is being reserved for another company. "We apologize to U.S. Foodservice and its shareholders for any confusion that our error may have caused," said Catherine R. Kinney of the NYSE. Meanwhile, U.S. Foodservice will retain its current symbol of UFS. As for which lucky company gets the new symbol, neither U.S. Foodservice nor the NYSE is talking.

-- Judith Evans

DID YOU HEAR? . . .

"Forty-eight is actually less than I would have thought."

-- Rick Rahim, president of VMC Communications, on the number of complaints brought against his Falls Church wireless communications company by the Better Business Bureau.

CAPTION: The Biz Side of Life: Crystal Catlett from Woodrow Wilson High School, John Welch of Herndon High School and Brandon Butler of Wilson participate in a role-playing exercise Friday, the last day of a two-week-long Summer Business Institute at American University. The university's Kogod School of Business sponsored the program, which exposed 30 area high schoolers to the business world through lectures on topics including international finance, marketing and accounting. The group also went on a number of field trips, including jaunts to the World Bank, Freddie Mac and Nasdaq. Good fodder for that "how I spent my summer vacation" essay.