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DiMaggio Lawyer: Park Furor Remains

April 14, 2000

The dispute over naming a San Francisco park for Joe DiMaggio is not over yet, the executor of the baseball great’s estate said Friday.

Morris Engelberg failed in his effort to keep the city from naming the North Beach area park for the New York Yankees Hall of Famer.

He said he will seek further legal advice before deciding on his next move. Engelberg, DiMaggio’s lawyer for 16 years, said his expertise is probate and tax law.

``The real legal problem in this area is how other athletes and celebrities can be affected if municipalities keep naming public facilities after them,″ Engelberg said from his office in Hollywood, Fla. ``Just picture a municipality naming a garbage dump after Dennis Rodman.″

DiMaggio and his brothers played in the North Beach park, about a block from where they lived.

Engelberg said Mayor Willie Brown and Supervisor Gavin Newsom are ``using this as a political ploy in an election year, making them the heroes and making me the villain.″

Mayor spokesman Ron vinson said: ``The mayor is not in an election year. The mayor is doing the will of the city and our efforts to honor the great baseball player.″

Vinson said Friday the mayor is prepared to defend the decision to name the North Beach playground after DiMaggio.

A message left for Newsom was not immediately returned.

Engelberg said he never demanded the city name a bridge or airport after DiMaggio.

``Newsom presented 10 items on a menu from which to select,″ Engelberg said. ``Of course, I selected the airport or bridge. Wouldn’t you, over a concrete park?″

Engelberg said DiMaggio would not have agreed to have the park named for him.

``They waited for him to die and then proceeded knowing that the only person between them and the naming was a Hollywood attorney,″ he said.

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