As part of the “fair and reasonable” settlement ending the legal battle for control of the Koret Foundation board, two members — Susan Koret, the founder’s widow, and longtime board president Tad Taube — will step down from their positions.
The settlement announced in court last week also includes a $3 million payment to Susan Koret to cover legal fees, while Taube and the six other Koret board members originally named as defendants in the lawsuit are indemnified by the foundation against legal fees and costs incurred in the litigation.
Susan Koret, who was appointed “chairperson for life” after her husband, Joseph, died in 1982, left her post immediately. Taube, a board member the past 27 months after serving as board president for 32 years, will leave in six months.
“The settlement brings about a fair and reasonable end to extensive litigation, and adequately addresses [the parties’] interests,” attorneys representing both sides wrote in the settlement application, which was approved Sept. 28 by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow. “It will save the foundation substantial fees, which otherwise would have been expended defending an appeal, and it will end decades of acrimony on the foundation board.”
The lawsuit focused on control of the $600 million Koret Foundation, which was organized 38 years ago by clothing and real estate magnate Joseph Koret and his first wife, Stephanie, who died in 1978. It was founded to help the poor and assist Jewish causes in the Bay Area and Israel.
The settlement further requires an amendment to the foundation’s bylaws to incorporate “a new, clear statement” that the foundation supports “underserved populations, community and youth development, and the alleviation of hunger, homelessness and poverty” in the Bay Area.
Filed by Susan Koret two years ago, the suit originally sought removal of several directors from the Koret board. In a 2014 news conference, Susan Koret claimed that the foundation had veered away from her late husband’s goal “to help the poor … I want to return the Koret Foundation to its original mission.”
The foundation countersued, seeking removal of Susan Koret, who married Joseph Koret in 1981 and converted to Judaism. When the suit was filed two years ago, Koret Foundation spokesman Nate Ballard called Susan Koret “an incompetent director.”
Neither Taube nor Susan Koret was available to speak to J. after the settlement was announced, but the Koret Foundation released a statement last week, which read in part:
“The Koret Foundation, Susan Koret and Tad Taube, and the other Koret Foundation directors have resolved all disputes between them and dismissed all litigation. Mrs. Koret is retiring from the Koret Foundation board of directors effective today, and will be granted emeritus status. Mr. Taube has announced that he will be retiring from the Koret Foundation board of directors on April 1, 2017. Mr. Taube will also be granted emeritus status. The Koret Foundation thanks Mr. Taube and Mrs. Koret for their many years of service.
“As now reconfirmed in the bylaws of the Koret Foundation, the Koret Foundation will continue its programs in furtherance of charitable (including addressing problems of underserved populations, community and youth development, hunger, homelessness and poverty in the San Francisco Bay Area, among others), educational, religious, scientific, and literary purposes, including charitable giving to the Jewish community.”