Vacant mural project activist wins in court

A city judge on Wednesday ruled in favor of a housing activist and blogger who had been sued by owners of two vacant homes splashed with murals designed to draw attention to Baltimore's blighted streets.

Carol S. Ott, an activist who runs the Baltimore Slumlord Watch blog, was sued after she worked with street artists who put artwork on the walls of abandoned homes. They called the project Wall Hunters.

But the businesses that owned two of the targeted homes —  539 N. Longwood St. in West Baltimore and 4727 Old York Road in North Baltimore — sued Ott, alleging that she damaged the property.

After hearing arguments Wednesday from Brian Spern, the lawyer for the businesses, a judge ruled aginst them, according to Ott's attorney James D. Bragdon. The judge ruled that the property owners hadn't proved Ott trespassed, he said.

"This lawsuit was meant to intimidate Ms. Ott," Bragdon said.

Spern could not be reached for comment after the ruling.

The Wall Hunters project and Ott's work have garnered national attention, with NPR, CBS and the Atlantic doing stories about them.

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