Dart Drug Corp. Chairman Herbert Haft has settled a tangled legal battle with a former woman employe, ending a lawsuit that included allegations that the woman was denied certain business benefits after she ended an affair with Haft.
The compromise, approved by U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Williams in Alexandria on Tuesday, apparently means there will be no trial of a series of rancorous, multi-million dollar claims and counterclaims in the case.
Haft's one-time colleague, Vana E. Martin, had claimed she was fired from a shopping center development firm headed by Haft after she ended a "close, personal relationship" with Haft that had stretched over several years.
Williams set final dismissal of the lawsuits for early January and directed all sides to keep confidential the details of three separate settlement agreements reached out of court in recent days.
Haft's lawyers earlier had asked for a closed hearing on whether to strike references to the alleged affair from the case as "impertinent and scandalous."
One person familiar with the proceedings said the settlement is "fair all around," but refused to elaborate. Haft and Martin were unavailable for comment. A spokesman for Dart Drug declined to comment.
The controversy started in June when General Maintenance and Development Inc., a firm headed by Martin's son, Larry H. Martin, sued Haft's Combined Properties Corp. claiming breach of contract.
Combined, which owns 16 Washington-area shopping malls, countersued in August, accusing Martin, her son and others of siphoning money from Combined through allegedly bogus maintenance agreements.
Two months ago, General Maintenance answered the countersuit with a claim that, "For a number of years, the defendant Herbert H. Haft and the counterdefendant Vana E. Martin had carried on a sexual affair." The company maintained Combined broke its contracts after Martin terminated the love affair in March of this year.
In her own countersuit filed late last month, Martin accused Haft of using Combined funds and employes for as much as $1 million in carpentry, landscaping, paving and other work for himself, family members and friends. Martin sought $50 million in damages for herself and other Combined stockholders.
One person with knowledge of the out-of-court settlement said yesterday the arrangement does not preclude any current or future contracts between Combined and General Maintenance.