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Fabio, Ex-Manager Settle Lawsuit

January 29, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Fabio settled a breach-of-contract lawsuit Wednesday with a former manager who sued the romance novel model for firing her after he became famous.

The settlement amount was not disclosed. Fabio’s attorney described it as a ``token amount,″ and said Rhonda Gainer agreed to give up all attempts to capitalize on Fabio’s fame in the future.

``Finally, justice is done,″ said Fabio, whose full name is Fabio Lanzoni. ``This was great. I love this country. I love America.″

Said Ms. Gainer: ``I had always wanted to settle and now I’ve gotten some of the money owed me.″

Fabio, 36, also well known for his ``I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter″ commercials, said he fired Ms. Gainer for trying to market him as beefcake instead of getting him movie and TV deals.

During testimony, the 36-year-old Italian model said that instead of pitching him as an actor, Ms. Gainer pitched him for his body, having him pose for a calendar and later suggested a telephone sex line.

``I said, `Rhonda, no. I was raised in a family with values and morals,‴ he said.

Ms. Gainer painted a different picture, saying she was the one who launched Fabio’s career and telling the court she never suggested a telephone sex line.

But the legal question at issue was whether the two ever had a valid contract. Fabio claimed the document he signed in 1991 was only an agreement to draw up a later contract. Ms. Gainer, a Manhattan marketing specialist, said the document was indeed a contract and sued in 1993.

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