Former CBS3 news anchor Larry Mendte yesterday sued the parent company of The Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, and three current and former columnists who Mendte alleges reported false information about him.

Mendte, who lost his job last year and pleaded guilty in federal court to one felony count of unauthorized computer access for snooping into former coanchor Alycia Lane's e-mail, alleges that Inquirer columnist Michael Klein had a friendship with Lane that motivated him to write negative and false reports about Mendte.

Also named in the suit are Jonathan Storm, an Inquirer TV columnist, and Jill Porter, who recently retired as a Daily News columnist.

Scott Baker, general counsel for Philadelphia Newspapers L.L.C., the newspapers' parent company, said: "We're still in the process of reviewing the allegations and intend to vigorously defend the people named in the lawsuit." - Robert Moran