The Maryland government agency controlling Old Court Savings and Loan of Baltimore asked a city judge yesterday to hold former Old Court president Jeffrey A. Levitt and his wife in criminal contempt for allegedly violating their court-imposed personal spending limit of $1,000 a week.

In a four-page petition filed with Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Joseph H.H. Kaplan, the Maryland Deposit Insurance Fund (MDIF) alleged that Levitt and his wife, Karol, illegally "diverted" more than $211,000 from their personal accounts at another Baltimore thrift and a Pennsylvania bank, starting in late September.

The withdrawals, most of them in cash, violated Kaplan's Sept. 5 order that restricted the Levitts' spending to $1,000 a week, MDIF said.

"They have flagrantly and willfully violated this court's orders," MDIF said of the Levitts in its petition. "The appropriate remedy for such deliberate acts is to cite Jeffrey and Karol Levitt for criminal contempt of court."

Karol Levitt already faces civil contempt charges for allegedly withdrawing $34,000 from her bank account in Pennsylvania, which is part of the $211,000 total cited by MDIF in its criminal contempt petition.

Civil contempt charges carry penalties of up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine. Penalties for criminal contempt charges are set at a judge's discretion.

The Levitts' attorney would not comment yesterday on the criminal contempt sought by MDIF, and the Levitts could not be reached for comment.

Kaplan is scheduled to rule Jan. 8 on MDIF's civil contempt request against Karol Levitt. An MDIF spokesman said he expects the judge will rule then on the criminal contempt petition as well.

MDIF, which controls Old Court and three other crippled savings and loan associations, initially sought the restriction on the Levitts' spending to safeguard Old Court's assets. MDIF has filed a $200 million civil suit against the Levitts and other officers of Old Court in an attempt to reduce the estimated $175 million debt of the association.