IT seems we will never know the details behind the mass exodus of eight prominent staff from real estate agency PRDnationwide Newcastle and Lake Macquarie who went on to rival firm Harcourts Newcastle.
Just days out from the start of a Supreme Court trial, that threatened to air the details of the bitter real estate turf war, the parties - behind closed doors - have settled the dispute.
Despite both sides having spent more than a year and considerable resources in pre-hearing proceedings, they have found common ground.
The confidential last-minute deal between the parties resolves claims by PRD of breach of contracts, theft of clients and using confidential information and a counter-claim by Harcourts that PRD owed commissions, was misleading and caused loss and damage.
The Newcastle Herald revealed the expensive and bitter feud earlier this year that was sparked when high-flying agents Joel Soldado, Sam Tsiaousis, Michael Hardy and Niki Bogdanovski resigned from PRD last year and established rival firm Harcourts Newcastle.
Fellow PRD agent Lynette Allison, her son and assistant Steven Allison, sales associate Luke Wilson and administration staffer Emma Black also left to work for Harcourts
Following the split, PRD directors Mark Kentwell and his mother Shula Kentwell lodged a statement of claim in the Supreme Court.
Mr Kentwell said it would have been "desirable" to let the matter run its course in an attempt to set a precedent on "post-employment restraints of trade", but the "distraction" of taking a month from the office to attend court was problematic.
"We agreed to a commercial settlement of the matter, certainly on our side this decision was not taken lightly," he said. "This was weighted against the backdrop of some exciting new business opportunities for PRDnationwide for which our time would have been diverted had the liability matter proceeded to hearing."
A spokesman for Harcourts Newcastle said it was a "commercial decision" to bring the proceedings to an end, rather than go through another year of legal proceedings.
"The dispute was triggered last year when eight high-profile and respected PRDnationwide Newcastle and Lake Macquarie agents and staff decided to leave," he said.
"The eight figures now all work under the Harcourts Newcastle banner. Due to the settlement terms, the eight figures are unable to go into details as to why they left PRDnationwide.
"Harcourts Newcastle is focused on offering premium services to clients and is establishing itself as a market leader."