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— A San Diego herbal medicine company has apologized to baseball's Mark McGwire and agreed to pay the Cardinal slugger $75,000 for unauthorized use of his name and photograph in a flyer promoting the company's pain-relieving formula. McGwire sued People First Inc. a year ago in a St. Louis court, alleging that a 1998 photo of him holding a bottle of its product, "The Freedom Formula," in the Cardinals' locker room was not meant to be used "for any commercial purpose." ... San Diego Charger Eric Hill still has a bit of unfinished business left to deal with back in his old Missouri stomping grounds. According to a report in the Kansas City Star, Hill is being sued by Harry's Bar and Tables, a local watering hole that alleges Hill wrongfully foreclosed on the bar and restaurant complex in the suburb of Westport. According to the Star, Hill invested $500,000 in a 40 percent ownership interest in the place back in October 1998. The lawsuit claims that during a nasty wrangle for control of the restaurant with majority owner, Swizzlestick, LLC, Hill negotiated with the restaurant's landlord to terminate its lease so he could "capture the premises." The lawsuit temporarily halts a bankruptcy action against Harry's in which a local bank says it is owed $235,000. Hill currently lives in Phoenix, the paper says ... Meanwhile, ex-Charger Tony Martin is busy fighting off creditors in a Miami bankruptcy court. They claim Martin, who filed for Chapter 7 last March, owes them more than $1 million. But Martin, arguing that he filed for bankruptcy during a low point in his life and promising that he will repay his debts, wants the judge to dismiss the case, according to the Broward Daily Business Review.

Herb Who?

After last week's item about San Diego Union-Tribune honcho Herb Klein being told by city clerk Chuck Abdelnour he might have to register as a lobbyist because of Klein's behind-the-scenes activities on behalf of the proposed downtown baseball stadium, U-T staffers were in an uproar. Klein is not just editor-in-chief of the Union-Tribune, they say; he is editor-in-chief of all the Copley newspapers in America. He has virtually nothing to do with the day-to-day running of the U-T, the chain's flagship, they told a media watchdog website that picked up the item. That, supposedly, is editor Karin Winner's job. In any case, editor-in-chief Klein, an old Nixon hand, frequents an office at the U-T's Mission Valley headquarters, and is widely regarded as a close confidante, advisor, and all-around fix-it man to U-T publisher Helen Copley -- who personally gave him his editor-in-chief job after he got out of the Nixon White House. During chronic labor strife at the U-T, Klein has acted as the paper's chief spokesman. Klein is also treated with much deference by local politicos, among them city councilman George Stevens, who started the lobbying controversy after he announced he had gotten a personal call from the octogenarian journalist -- who lives in a condo at Fairbanks Ranch Country Club -- boosting the stadium plan. At this writing, the U-T has yet to report on Klein's activities.

Ends

That outfit in charge of the city's controversial Brown Field air- cargo-privatization project on Otay Mesa has signed a deal to develop a 1169-acre "multi-modal transportation park" in Monterrey, Mexico, according to Airports Magazine. In addition to the San Diego project, Diversified Asset Management Group is also working on an air-cargo terminal in Denver ... Ex-county chief financial officer Robert Booker, 70, who departed two years ago to take over as chief of city schools in Baltimore, has announced he won't renew his contract, which ends June 30 ... The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission has filed suit against the old-line San Diego law firm of Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps, alleging that it discriminates against employees by forcing them to sign mandatory arbitration agreements before they are hired. The agency is suing on behalf of Donald Lagatree, a secretary fired by the firm when he refused to sign an agreement requiring arbitration in case of work-related disputes.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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