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THE SIDELINES : Hearing Slated on Steinbrenner Gift to Accused Extortionist

June 22, 1990| From Times Wire Services

NEW YORK — Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent will conduct a hearing July 5 to review New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner's dealings with Howard Spira, a Bronx man facing extortion charges.

That same day, Spira, 31, is to be arraigned on the charges before a U.S. magistrate in New York.

The commissioner's hearing is based on a report from Washington lawyer John Dowd--prepared at Vincent's request--which examines the circumstances surrounding a $40,000 payment from Steinbrenner to Spira in January.

Spira was indicted March 23.

At first, Steinbrenner said he paid Spira $40,000 "out of the goodness of my heart." Later, he claimed he gave Spira the money to stop him from disclosing embarrassing information about former Yankees employees.

Spira said he was paid to collect damaging information on outfielder Dave Winfield, who had a running feud with Steinbrenner. The Yankees traded Winfield to the Angels last month.

The New York Times said today that Steinbrenner had retained two criminal lawyers--Stephen Kaufman and Dominick Amorosa--to handle his case.

The paper also said Vincent had retained a former federal judge, Harold Tyler Jr., to serve as counsel to him.

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