Settlement reached in libel lawsuit against 3 by Little Italy fund-raiser


A settlement was reached yesterday in the multimillion-dollar libel suit brought by Little Italy leader Giovanna M. "Gia" Blatterman against three men she accused of plotting to damage her reputation, partly in order to harm her political future.

Terms of the pact, reached in the courtroom of Baltimore Circuit Judge Edward J. Angeletti during the second day of a jury trial, were not disclosed, and the parties involved were barred from discussing specifics. But Blatterman's lawyer, Gerald Ruter, said his client was "very happy" with the arrangement.

Blatterman, a beauty shop owner and political fund-raiser with strong ties to the administration of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, sued John Guerriero, former owner of Continental Foods Inc. in Little Italy; Paul Linville, a former manager at the company; and former Baltimore Police Capt. Kenneth Jon Anderson in 1995.

None of the defendants or their lawyers could be reached for comment.

Blatterman, who served as a zoning board member under Schmoke, alleged that because of rivalry between herself and Guerriero, the three men engaged in various acts to tarnish her image.

She claimed the men were behind an incident in which she was stopped and searched by police while driving in Little Italy in February 1992. The police, using information allegedly obtained from Guerriero and operating under Anderson's orders, said they suspected her of carrying cocaine but found no drugs.

The suit also claimed the men created fliers with Blatterman's photograph and unfounded allegations that she had been convicted on theft, fraud and drug possession charges. Four days after she was pulled over in Little Italy, the fliers were handed out to City Council members and Schmoke. Similar fliers were distributed in 1994, at City Hall and outside a Fells Point party she held for Gov.-elect Parris N. Glendening.

Blatterman claimed the arrest and fliers caused Glendening to back off from a promise she says he made that she would be appointed to a state government post.

Anderson retired from the police force in 1992 and lives in Illinois.

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