Early Briefing: Al Lord's Fights

Albert Lord led the Committee to Restore Value at Sallie Mae, but the stock is selling below $20 a share. (By Larry Morris -- The Washington Post)

*Columnist Steven Pearlstein says Sallie Mae chief Al Lord has been a battler most of his career at the student loan giant. He's fought against the government, against Sallie executives and board members, against would-be buyers. Now, as the company struggles, he may be fighting for his job. See column.

*Mary Cheney has left AOL and is starting a new gig as a VP of strategic communications for Navigators LLC, a Republican PR/political-consulting/lobbying shop based. The vice president's daugher will focus on corporate PR. See the Reliable Source.

*BearingPoint's largest shareholder, Ariel Capital Management, increased its stake in the consulting firm from 15 to 20 percent. BearingPoint shares closed at $2.28, up 19 cents.

*Moody's Investors Service, concerned that Freddie Mac will have more credit loss than expected, put the mortgage-finance company's "A-" financial-strength rating on review for possible downgrade.

*Sue Clark-Johnson, president of Gannett's newspaper division, will retire after 40 years with the McLean company. Clark-Johnson will leave in May. See MarketWatch report.

*District-based business development company Allied Capital said it invested $79.5 million in debt and equity to complete the buyout of CitiPostal, a New York document storage and management firm. Allied Capital also invested $20.8 million of subordinated notes in 10th Street, an affiliated entity that owns the real estate leased by CitiPostal, and has an option to buy a majority interest in 10th Street.

*Lockheed Martin of Bethesda may bid against Northrop Grumman for the Army's Aerial Common Sensor surveillance aircraft in a rematch of a competition four years ago, a Lockheed spokesman said. Lockheed won the $879 million contract for the aircraft in 2004, but the program was terminated in 2006 due to cost and other factors.

*A former longtime official with the General Services Administration pleaded guilty to accepting more than $100,000 in bribes and evading taxes on the bribe payments, federal prosecutors said.

In exchange for the bribes, Dessie R. Nelson, 65, of Oakland, Calif., helped a former Montgomery County police officer who had founded a private security firm obtain contracts worth more than $130 million to provide security at federal buildings in Maryland and California, prosecutors said.

Nelson admitted that the former officer, Michael B. Holiday, of Silver Spring, gave her a shopping bag filled with $35,000 in cash and an envelope stuffed with $10,000 in cash and arranged and paid for a $7,000 Caribbean cruise. Nelson is scheduled to be sentenced June 16 in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. Here's what we wrote last October.

*Eleven environmental groups announced plans to sue the U.S. Department of Energy over a policy that lets power companies build lines in the Washington area and elsewhere, even if states object.

The groups -- including the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation and the Piedmont Environmental Council -- say the policy encourages the building of power lines in sensitive areas, thus contributing to global warming and harming the environment. See Metro's Virginia briefing.

By Terri Rupar  |  January 11, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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