Four lead-poisoned children will receive $967,500 as part of an out-of-court settlement of their claims against several Baltimore landlords.

The money will be used to pay about $200,000 in hospital bills. The rest will be placed into trust funds for the four youngsters.

The settlement probably is the largest lead-paint award ever to come out of Baltimore courts, said Ira C. Cooke, a lobbyist for the Property Owners Association of Greater Baltimore Inc. The association represents owners of about 75,000 rental units.

"This should be a warning to all landlords to test their premises for lead paint and not to move kids into these places" if the paint is peeling, chipping or flaking, said attorney C. Christopher Brown. He represented Jennie Short, her three children and her niece in a civil suit brought against four landlords, who owned properties where the children lived for two years.

Two of the children suffered permanent brain damage from the poisoning, according to the suit, and two recovered.

An attorney for landlord David Fishbein said his client was innocent of the allegations. Donald E. Allen said he would rather have taken the case to trial, but his client's insurance company decided to settle.

"When the family moved into those premises there was nothing wrong with it," Allen said. "It was the tenants themselves that did it," he said.

Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, touring the Lincoln Park housing project in Hampton this week, wrote 8-year-old Sherice Washington's excuse for skipping school.

"Sherice was helping me today in fighting crime. Please excuse her," the governor wrote on the back of a business card while touring the housing project before addressing a statewide Safe Neighborhoods conference.

Lincoln Park should be a model for other housing developments trying to end drug abuse and crime, Wilder said. Conference participants were developing plans for fighting drugs and crime in their neighborhoods.

Washington's housing project attacked its difficulties by converting an empty apartment into a field office for Hampton police. The round-the-clock police presence reduced trespassing and crime and raised residents' trust in police.

Voters in Sarasota County, Fla., rejected a proposed moratorium earlier this month that would have prohibited further development by stopping the issuance of new building permits for two years, the National Association of Home Builders reported.

Builders in the area claimed a major victory in defeating the no-growth ballot initiative, which they said would have set a precedent for other communities.

A California real estate marketing company has been retained to sell the bankrupt Aladdin Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas after months of behind-the-scenes efforts failed to find a buyer.

Representatives of Santa Monica-based Kennedy-Wilson Inc. said they would advertise the property in the United States and abroad, and would accept sealed bids until Nov. 15.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Linda Riegle will have the final say on who buys the Strip property.

The troubled resort has been under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since last October. It was placed in bankruptcy by the late Ginji Yasuda, who bought the property out of bankruptcy in 1986 for $54 million, then spent another $35 million refurbishing it. Yasuda died in December.

IN THE BUSINESS ... Housing starts in August came to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,127,000 units, down slightly from the July rate, the National Association of Home Builders reported ... The Svatos Co., a Washington-based developer, purchased five finished lots totaling 24 acres at Spectrum 95, a business park in Lanham, for $5.65 million ... Pardoe Real Estate Inc. opened a Maryland Property Management and Rental Division out of its Potomac office ... White Flint Builders and Lipnick Construction Co., two family-run businesses that are in their second generation in the Washington real estate industry, are planning a luxury-home development called Frenchman's Creek in Bethesda. The models, which cost from $1.15 million to $1.19 million, are built in the style of three French chateaus. The builders are Rick and Ken Lerner and Larry and Billy Lipnick ... Metropolitan Partnership Ltd. completed construction of Interstate 95 Corporate Center in Newington, a 210,000-square-foot, three-building project holding office and warehouse space ... Marriott Corp. opened its seventh moderately priced Courtyard Hotel in the area, in Fairfax County at 3935 Centerview Dr. ... Century 21 Dodson Realty Inc. opened an office on upper Georgia Avenue ... Rocky Gorge Communities Inc. of McLean is planning a development called the Georgetown series at Kentlands in Gaithersburg. The project includes single-family homes priced from the high $300,000s and town houses that will cost in the high $200,000s ... Columbia Development Group is holding classes Wednesday evenings on "Renovating Properties as Investments." The meetings are free. For information call 847-3147 ... Town & Country Realtors in Fort Washington is planning a series of free seminars on "Buying, Selling, Relocating and Other Real Estate Subjects." For details call (301) 292-7300 ... The Land Title Institute of Virginia is planning a course on "Virginia Real Estate Transactions and Title Insurance Practice," next Friday and Saturday at the Hyatt Regency in Reston.

PERSONNEL FILE ... NVRetail appointed Phillip S. Dunn vice president for leasing and marketing.