Grandstanding: Morris Engelberg represents the Joe DiMaggio estate, which has not been an easy job recently. First, a Sotheby’s auction of the late Yankee center fielder’s relics whiffed big time — canceled after low bids. Then he unsuccessfully put his hand up to stop San Francisco officials, who, with the support of Joe D’s 83-year-old brother Dominick, wanted to rename a recreational center in the North Beach area for the Yankee Clipper. Engelberg objected that the city had previously offered more substantial monuments and that this meager one honored only their ongoing re-election campaigns. “The legalities I don’t really know. But morally if you say no, you don’t want your name on something — then don’t put the guy’s name up there,” says the Hollywood, Fla., lawyer. On April 12, the city did it anyway. Engelberg simultaneously had to face a beaning from Dom, a former Boston Red Sox player and current San Francisco landlord. “He may have a law degree, but he never faced Bob Feller,” says Dom. Responds the esquire, “You tell Dominick DiMaggio he never came from P.S. 103 in Brooklyn. I was raised in the schoolyard. I lived in the schoolyard. From that schoolyard came Sandy Koufax, Buddy Hackett, [basketball player and coach] Billy Cunningham.” And, busier than the rest of them, Morris Engelberg.
Equity Escapade: The many attorneys now pursuing riches by taking equity stakes in their clients might want to mind the example of Jeffrey Saper of Palo Alto, Calif.’s Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. He helped usher client Aspec Technology through its 1998 initial public offering and served on the company’s audit committee. A shareholder suit contends that the veteran heavy hitter — Apple Computer’s IPO, 1984 — did not adequately review the books after the company’s accountants told the board its accounting was improper. In fact, five days after the auditors sent Saper and other directors a second warning letter, he helped the company register for its IPO, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. “The whole suggestion is that (a) I somehow did it for profit, which is not true because I never sold a share; and (b) it was something which I needed to do, which I don’t,” says Saper. He notes that his 30,000 shares of the once-high-flying stock now go for $4 per. “The fact is, I took it on the chin like everybody else did.” He concedes that he redeemed preferred stock after the IPO, as did other early investors: “Of $18.5 million, I think I got like $20,000.” Not enough, in his mind, to compensate for such a headache.
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