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DeBartolo To Pay NFL $1M Fine

Eddie DeBartolo, exiled owner of the San Francisco 49ers, will pay the NFL a $1 million fine for his part in a Louisiana gambling scandal and will formally be suspended for the 1999 season, NFL sources said today.

The formal announcement will be made Tuesday by commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

Tagliabue declined today to reveal his decision.

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But league sources confirmed a report in the San Francisco Chronicle that the league will fine DeBartolo $1 million for his involvement with indicted former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.

Last year, DeBartolo pleaded guilty to one felony charge of failing to report an alleged extortion attempt by Edwards in connection with DeBartolo's bid for a riverboat gambling license. The judge imposed $2 million in fines.

DeBartolo and his sister, Denise DeBartolo York have been at odds for more than a year over control of the team, in part because of Eddie's debts to the family-held corporation. DeBartolo's attorney, Aubrey Harwell, while declining to discuss Tagliabue's pending sanctions, said he was hopeful Eddie DeBartolo and his sister could work things out.

Tagliabue said in January that DeBartolo would be suspended for the 1999 season. The league sources said he would make that formal on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, John York told the San Jose Mercury News that DeBartolo York had no plans to sell the team if Eddie DeBartolo did not regain control.

"What she wants is a separation from her brother," said York, recently appointed vice president of the team. "His interests and hers do not go down the same path."

York told the newspaper Sunday that his wife was committed to keeping the team while her brother was out.

DeBartolo relinquished control of the team in December 1997 when the NFL investigated the gambling scandal.

While his wife might be interested in selling her share to her brother, she has no plans to sell to a third party if he can't return as active owner.

"What's first and foremost is a separation of her interests with Eddie's," York said. "That does not mean she is out to hurt Eddie, but they need to be separated because their business interests are not the same.

"The 49ers are not for sale now. I can't tell you that that wouldn't change, but we don't have any intentions to sell the team. We are committed to running it because it is the most valuable single asset in the DeBartolo Corporation."

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