Early Briefing: Lord's Obscenity

CEO Albert Lord said Sallie Mae needs to get into "growth mode."

*A conference call with Sallie Mae Chairman Albert Lord came to an unexpectedly quick conclusion after he offered few details about how he plans to achieve goals, few questions were asked and participants heard him utter a profanity. See story.

*Carlyle Group founder David Rubenstein paid $21.3 million for a 710-year-old copy of the Magna Carta at an auction in New York and said he would return it to the National Archives. See story

*Columnist Marc Fisher writes on the Artisans training program at Covenant House, which puts kids with no marketable skills through a six-month course and helps prepare them for jobs at places like Gelberg Signs, which is making signs for the Nationals' stadium. See column.

*Starting Dec. 31, the newsstand price for The Washington Post will rise to 50 cents from 35 cents. See story

*The Service Employees International Union and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 endorsed Donna F. Edwards in her bid to unseat eight-term Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.). See story

*Prince George's County has 33 percent of the Washington region's land area and offers lower rents than other jurisdictions in the area, but the federal government leases less office space there than anywhere else in the area, according to a new study on GSA leasing. See story.

*W.R. Grace & Co. reached a $34 million settlement with the Justice Department to help pay environmental cleanup costs at 32 Superfund sites. If the settlement is approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the government can seek to collect the money under Grace's Chapter 11 reorganization plan.
Columbia-based Grace filed for bankruptcy protection in 2001, seeking refuge from at least 135,000 asbestos-related claims.

*Former Fannie Mae chief executive Franklin D. Raines asked a judge to fine the company's federal regulator at least $10,000 a day for failing to provide documents related to a $6.3 billion overstatement of earnings.

Raines's court filing escalates a 17-month fight with the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, which said Raines and other Fannie Mae executives used improper reserves and deferred expenses to hit earnings targets and trigger bonuses. The findings prompted Raines's ouster in December 2004 and a $400 million fine against the government-chartered company.

OFHEO spokeswoman Corinne Russell declined to comment.

*Choice Hotels International of Silver Spring said it will acquire some British hotel operations from Real Hotel Group. Terms were not disclosed. The agreement gives Choice the ability to directly operate 78 hotels in Britain, including those under the Comfort, Quality, Sleep and Clarion brands. See press release.

*Carlyle Group, the private-equity firm based in the District, hired Steve Sterling as a managing director and head of research at its U.S. leveraged-finance group.
Sterling, who most recently was at Bear Stearns, will start Jan. 15, Carlyle said in a press release.

*Standard and Poor's said The Washington Post Co. will join the S&P 500-stock index this month. The Post Co. will replace Temple-Inland, which is splitting into three companies. See press release.

*Information technology company ManTech International said it expects 2008 earnings to rise 22 percent to 29 percent above its anticipated earnings for 2007. See press release.

By Terri Rupar  |  December 20, 2007; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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