In case anyone wanted to know, I found out the official instructions to remove the Wood Console. The technician at the dealership printed me the relevant pages from their service computer. It takes a special tool to operate a sliding catch mechanism on the underneath side of the wood. The sliding catch holds onto the the armrest/compartment. While using the tool to hold the catch open, you would insert a MB plastic-wedge tool into the edge of the wood to lift the wood up. Then the wood comes off *very* easily, with almost no effort. The instructions also did mention to remove two screws, but those screws were not present on my car.
The technician did the process for me, and told me that if the tool isn't used, forcing the wood out often cracks the wood, particularly when the car is more than a few years old. This is exactly what happend when the rookies at the car-audio shop tried taking the panel out [
ps. the MB document number for the instructions are AR68.20-P-2360A. Some dealerships are willing to print it out for you. Others tell you to download it from www.startekinfo.com for a fee. You *might* be able to get it from alldatadiy.com.