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Settlement in Buck Trust Case Reportedly Near

July 19, 1986|From a Times Staff Writer

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. — Lawyers dickering over the future of the $420-million charitable Buck trust were reportedly close to settling the case Friday but broke off negotiations to accommodate an expert witness.

Officials at the San Francisco Foundation, which administers the trust in Marin County north of San Francisco, said just before noon that a settlement was imminent.

However, at 4:30 p.m., Judge Homer Thompson of Santa Clara County Superior Court, said no accord had been reached.

"I know some of you are here expecting a major development in the case," said Thompson, hearing the case on orders of the state Supreme Court, "but it's not going to happen. There will be no announcement today."

Discussions were stopped to allow the trial to briefly resume so that an out-of-town expert witness could testify without having to spend the weekend here.

The witness, Dolph Norton, a University of Virginia foundation administrator, took the stand at 4:30 p.m. and completed his testimony.

The San Francisco Foundation has petitioned to break a provision in the will of trust founder Beryl Buck limiting benefits of her bequest to the needy of Marin County, the nation's second wealthiest. The foundation wants to use some of the money to help poor people in other less-fortunate San Francisco Bay area counties.

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