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A multimillion-dollar lawsuit against former officers of Vann's Inc. was settled Friday, according to U.S. District Court in Missoula.

In the case, employees alleged they lost $9.2 million due to gross mismanagement of the retail appliance store by former CEO George Manlove and former CFO Paul Nisbet.

Parties filed a notice of settlement Friday.

According to the court, the terms of the settlement were mistakenly filed in an open exhibit along with the settlement. The court later sealed the document.

The agreement awards as many as 200 former employee-owners $7.3 million based on tenure and before attorney fees.

Lawyers for the parties could not be reached Friday for comment.

The retailer began as a single store in 1961, and grew to include four stores in Montana, an online store, and two sister companies. In 2012, Vann's filed for bankruptcy, and is now defunct.

In the lawsuit, employees alleged the former executives drove "a moderately successful company into financial ruin" after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on inflated rent, personal bonuses, fancy shoes and trips to Las Vegas.

It alleged the defendants were in breach of corporate duties and violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 by making reckless business decisions and profiting at the employee stock ownership plan's expense.

Defendants denied the allegations. In their response, they argued lease payments were proper, and when payments were made to Manlove, they were not personal or improper in nature.

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Higher Education Reporter

Higher education / University of Montana reporter for the Missoulian.