Deal seen in tobacco dispute

March 22, 2002|By David Nitkin | David Nitkin,SUN STAFF

Gov. Parris N. Glendening and attorney Peter G. Angelos came close yesterday to a compromise on tobacco-case fees that would provide the state with a welcome windfall in a tight budget year, the governor's office said.

Michelle Byrnie, the governor's press secretary, said Angelos and Glendening had a productive telephone conversation. "They're making progress, and clearly moving in the right direction," she said.

Angelos contends that he is owed $1 billion for his work on the national tobacco case that yielded Maryland a $4 billion settlement; a national arbitration panel has put the amount at $132 million. The two sides are scheduled to go to court in several weeks.

A resolution would free about $128 million diverted by a judge into an escrow fund until the case ends. Glendening wants to use about $22 million to replace other general fund money earmarked for smoking cessation and anti-cancer programs.

The remaining money could be available for other programs cut by the legislature.

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