Police patrols have been assigned around the clock to keep an eye on the homes and families of New Orleans businessmen Jake DiMaggio and City Councilman Philip Ciaccio, two of the promoters of the Ali-Spinks Superdomeroo that final accounting shows netted "only" $600,000 from the $4.8 million paid by 63,532 Superdome customers.
DiMaggio, Ciaccio, Sherman Copelin and Don Hubbard, partners in Louisiana Sports Inc., share half that profit: other investors the rest - but those patrols? The two reported threats against life, loved ones and business after suing Mohammed Ali for $10 million for slander this week. DiMaggio and Ciaccio earlier sued Copelin, Hubbard and Top Rank Inc.'s Butch Lewis for $1 million, accusing them of siphoning off money from the promotion.
Ali, in a Monday blast in N'Orleans labeling the DiMaggio-Ciaccio suit as racist, created a case of pot calling kettle discolored, or something. In his tirade over whites picking on blacks, Ali was quoted as slurring Italians and Jews with timeworn epithets and cliches.
Meantime, the $1 million suit had been dropped as Copelin, Hubbard and Lewis returned $225,000 in corporate funds.
Tuesday in Chicago, asked about his Monday remarks, the champ said, "Me, Muhammad Ali, apologize? Never." Next day, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mike Royko expounded "to suggest that Ali make a public apology to all Italians." Yesterday, Ali apologized:
"It is my true feeling that all people are equal before God. My close Italian friends such as Angelo and Chris Dundee and my close Jewish friends such as Bob Arum and Harold Conrad will attest to my lack of prejudice."