FROM THE story behind those infamous "bikini pictures" and the baring of her personal life to the nation on "Dr. Phil" to her feud with CBS 3 co-anchor Larry Mendte, controversial ex-Philly anchorwoman Alycia Lane finally told her side of the story yesterday - in a 40-page legal complaint.
Lane - fired from the local CBS station in January in the fallout from a confrontation with New York City cops that led to charges that were later essentially dropped - yesterday sued her former employer, the station's general manager and two unnamed employees for defamation, slander and libel.
In the complaint that accompanied her suit in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, Lane and her attorneys allege that the station invaded her privacy and was involved in spreading malicious gossip about the popular news anchor - then destroyed her reputation and her future career opportunities in her firing and the way it was handled.
Lane seeks unspecified damages, saying her "reputation has been irreparably and wrongfully destroyed" by the station, formally known as KYW-TV, and the other defendants.
The complaint tells some of the 36-year-old Lane's saga from her perspective for the first time, reading like the movie treatment for an old-fashioned morality taleabout a young woman who gets a career break in the big city only to get dragged down by sex, scandal, jealousy and gossip.
* About those bikini pictures, the ones e-mailed to well-known sportscaster Rich Eisen, intercepted by Eisen's wife, and then reported about in the New York Post in May 2007.
The complaint says the pictures were not ones she "actually wished to disseminate to anyone, because they were taken without makeup, her hair was a mess, and she did not view the pictures as flattering." She said she sent the e-mail to Eisen while they were speaking on the phone because the sportscaster wanted to see if he recognized one of Lane's friends.
* It portrays Lane's 2004 TV appearance on "Dr. Phil" - discussing her failed first marriage in Florida - as a humiliating experience that she claimed was forced upon her by her CBS 3 bosses in a bid to boost ratings. It says she was so "mortified" that she begged them not to air the segment, a request that was denied.
* It portrays Larry Mendte, her former co-anchor now suspended by the station and under investigation for hacking into Lane's private e-mails, as someone who was jealous of her growing popularity, resentful when she received a higher salary, and who joked about her private life on a CBS-owned radio station with its former DJ Kidd Chris.
* Her complaint offers new speculation about how information from private e-mails about her relationship with a separated New York news anchor Chris Wragge and the Rich Eisen exchange, as well as a photo of her dancing closely with Prince Albert of Monaco, were sent to the New York Post.
The complaint says that Lane voiced her concerns that her private e-mails were being hacked to her bosses at CBS 3, including the president and station manager Michael Colleran - but they dismissed her concerns "as mere 'paranoia.' "
Late last month, FBI agents raided the CBS 3 newsroom in Center City and Mendte's home in Chestnut Hill and took "computer-related materials" in a federal probe over the reading of Lane's private e-mails.
Mendte, who has denied any wrongdoing, has been pulled off the air indefinitely. The complaint filed yesterday noted that Mendte has not been fired and states "KYW-3's treatment of Mendte has been the exact opposite of the way it treated (Lane)."
The station had little to say last night. "We have not yet received the complaint so we have no comment at this time," said CBS 3 spokeswoman Joanne Calabria.
"I have not seen the lawsuit and am not in a position to comment at this time," added Michael A. Schwartz, who represents Mendte, who is not a defendant in the case. "We will review the lawsuit and decide if and how we want to respond."
It was just six months ago that Lane was removed from the air, and eventually fired, after the anchorwoman was arrested in Manhattan and charged with assaulting a cop in a complaint that also accused her of making a gay slur, allegations that were denied. The felony charges were dropped, and Lane and her attorneys filed papers last spring in preparation for a suit against the New York police and as many as nine officers in that incident.
Now, her lawsuit portrays CBS 3 as a sexist place to work.
The complaint charges that Lane "and other female Anchors and Reporters were forced to endure repeated, continuous, malicious and highly offensive exploitation, sexual harassment and derogatory disparate treatment that arose from a deep-seated gender discriminatory animus held by KYW-TV's management, as well as the workplace jealousies of certain KYW-TV representatives."
It names Mendte in particular as becoming "obsessively jealous" of Lane, going as far back as 2004, and who saw her popularity as "a threat to his position," especially when she was offered a higher salary.
The complaint also goes on for more than four pages about the awards won and charitable works performed by Lane, who grew up on New York's Long Island and earned a master's degree in journalism from a top program at Northwestern University.
It states that Lane, before her firing, "built a reputation as one of the most popular, respected and talented television journalists in the United States."
But the complaint says that Lane's success "came at a high price" and that the station began to exploit its attractive young Latina anchorwoman and her personal life early in her stint, beginning with the "Dr. Phil" appearance.
Much of the 40-page complaint focused on the circumstances surrounding her firing and the statement that was read on the air on Jan. 7, by Mendte, which said in part that "we have concluded that it would be impossible for Alycia to continue to report the news as she, herself, has become the focus of so many news stories."
The suit said the statement made it impossible for her to find new work, even though she was ultimately cleared of charges she assaulted a female cop in a traffic stop that involved her and her disc jockey boyfriend, Chris Booker.
The complaint alleges that after that story first broke last December, Mendte called in co-workers to show off a novelty card with big red lips and words that Lane was alleged to have uttered: "I'm a [expletive] reporter, bitch!"
At least one of the claims in the complaint filed on Lane's behalf is at odds with reporting by the Daily News. She said she never called Gov. Rendell seeking help or advice in the criminal case, but a Rendell spokesman and then the governor himself, in an appearance on radio station WIP, confirmed that such a call took place. *