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A South Korean business contractor said Friday he’ll pay a $4,000 lawsuit settlement to a U.S. family on the condition that they run an apology in the Stars and Stripes.

But judge Cho Mi-ok told U.S. Embassy Association Business Center employee Bruce Lee that the court’s responsibility was to help arbitrate a financial settlement, not printed apologies. Cho directed Lee to come to a final agreement with Col. Thompson Gerke, and his wife, Catherine, before the next court session on Nov. 2.

The Gerkes, who returned to the United States earlier this summer, are suing the business center for $11,054 in connection with a March 2006 airline ticket mix-up in which they thought they were buying first-class fare.

Business center personnel have admitted there was a translation problem and have since stopped selling travel tickets, but said the Gerkes refused when offered a reimbursement of exactly what they spent to upgrade their tickets at the airport.

Business center spokesman Jimmy Park also complained of Catherine’s behavior, saying that she hurt his business when she lay on the shop’s floor and screamed that she wanted $20,000 or $30,000.

Park has said the business center is considering a countersuit.

Lee told Stars and Stripes after the court session that his business will not pay the settlement without an apology from the Gerkes.

Stripes was unable to contact the Gerkes for comment Friday.

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