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EX-DODGERS GM MALONE, PARTNERS TO OPEN DEALERSHIP.

Byline: Amy Raisin Darvish Staff Writer

VALENCIA - After years spent running professional baseball teams, it was fitting that former Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Kevin Malone helped break ground Thursday on a new Mercedes-Benz dealership just feet from a youth baseball complex.

Malone and his business partners welcomed local community and business leaders to an area adjacent to the William S. Hart PONY Baseball and Softball Complex off Valencia Boulevard, where construction will soon begin on Auto Row's newest addition, Mercedes-Benz of Valencia.

The baseball front-office veteran figures the venture's individual players add up to a winning team: the proven record and name recognition of Mercedes-Benz in the lead-off spot, followed by Malone and business partners Eddie Murray - a Hall of Fame slugger - and auto dealership executive Lenny Sage.

Considering the connections of the dealership's three owners, the list of potential customers may include some recognizable names.

``There's something exciting about having the opportunity to provide a product like Mercedes-Benz to Major League players and other professional athletes, but our primary focus is the people of Santa Clarita and the community,'' Malone said.

The explosive growth and increasing affluence in the area convinced Malone and his partners that the time had arrived for a local Mercedes- Benz dealership.

After front-office positions with the Montreal Expos, the Baltimore Orioles and the Dodgers, Malone, who moved to Santa Clarita in 1998 with his wife and two children, took a job as assistant to the president of The Master's College in Newhall, one he still holds.

A close friend in Montreal owned a car dealership in the Canadian city and introduced the 47-year-old to the business. In addition to offering an appealing investment opportunity, Malone said the dealership offers him a chance to give back to the community.

``The city is going to make significant tax revenue from the dealership,'' Malone said. ``Santa Clarita is a very special community, very family-oriented. With the tax money, hopefully it will help to build more schools, more parks.''

Malone's wife, Marilyn, has owned more than one Mercedes over the years, giving Malone first-hand experience with the product.

``Mercedes-Benz is really a great automobile,'' he said. ``It's considered a special and unique brand. I look forward to being a part of that brand.''

Malone and his partners are shooting to open the dealership around Christmas, he said.

Amy Raisin Darvish, (661) 257-5254

amy.raisin(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Apr 22, 2005
Words:400
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