Baltimore City Paper

City Hall Filmmaker Pulls Plug On Web Sites After Business Partner's Indictment On Drug Trafficking Charges

Los Angeles-based filmmaker LaVern Whitt, producer of the Women in Power documentary about Baltimore's top elected officials reacted to the recent federal drug trafficking indictment of her business partner Lawrence Schaffner "Lorenzo" Reeves by taking down websites devoted to her various endeavors.

Whitt is partnered with Reeves on an educational project called Hollywood in a Bottle aimed at helping youth get into the film business. The project held a seminar on July 26 in Baltimore. At the time, Reeves had been the subject of a wiretap investigation that led to his indictment in federal court on Aug. 28 along with Justin Santiago Gallardo and Devon Anthony Marshall. Gallardo was released from custody and Marshall and Reeves were detained following a hearing in federal court on Sept. 3.

Informed by City Paper of the indictment on August 29, Whitt, a Baltimore native with a long resume of film, TV, and video credits as a stuntwoman and producer, expressed surprise and dismay. "I'm not from that world. I wouldn't associate with that world," she said, before referring questions to her attorney, criminal defense specialist Warren Brown. The next day, Aug. 30, Whitt's website for Hollywood in a Bottle was taken down. She did not return a call for comment.

Hollywood in a Bottle came on the heels of Whitt's unfinished documentary titled Women in Power, featuring the four women who hold the highest elected offices in Baltimore: Mayor Sheila Dixon, City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Comptroller Joan Pratt and State's Attorney Patricia Jessamy. Portions of the documentary, which examines the personal backgrounds of the four officials, screened at The Senator Theater earlier this year. Those clips, previously featured on YouTube, also came down the day after Whitt learned of Reeves' indictment. He is not involved with the documentary, according to Whitt.

Whitt is well-connected in Hollywood and in Baltimore, according to her MySpace page, which features photographs of her and numerous celebrities such as actors Jada Pinkett and Will Smith, comedian Cedric the Entertainer, and Baltimore Ravens football star Ray Lewis.