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Could a family feud get much nastier? First, Dart Group Chairman Herbert Haft fired his own wife, Gloria, and son, Robert. On Aug. 10, Gloria Haft filed for legal separation, accusing Herbert in a court filing of numerous affairs with other women, physical abuse, and a financial "blitzkrieg of illegal activity" in recent months to maintain control of the family business empire.

That empire includes Crown Books, Trak Auto, Shoppers Food Warehouse, and real estate around the Washington (D.C.) area. The family is now sharply divided, with Herbert and his youngest son, Ronald, 34, on one side and Gloria, Robert, 40, and daughter Linda, 43, on the other. Earlier in August, Herbert installed Ronald, who had run the group's real estate operations, as president and chief operating officer of Dart, replacing former favorite son Robert.

In court papers, Gloria is seeking to put the Hafts' joint property into the hands of a "special fiscal agent" who would protect her interests. Gloria alleges that Herbert has threatened to financially ruin her, Robert, and Linda if she does not back off the suit. And, she contends, Herbert paid Ronald $4.5 million to help enlist his support. Herbert denies all the charges; Ronald could not be reached.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDS

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