Early Briefing: Mind the District's Gap

*The economic slowdown isn't missing the District; its chief financial officer said the city is facing a projected budget gap of $96 million next year and said more bad news could be on the way. Barbara Lang, president of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, said businesses would strongly oppose any change to a new system of property-tax rates to close the gap. See story

*As many as 300 computer services industry executives and their employees hit Annapolis to argue for the repeal of a tax on computer services. See story.

*The Washington Post Co. reported that profit fell 11 percent in 2007, dragged down by its flagship newspaper. But results from the Kaplan division were up, and ad revenue at the company's online division, mostly washingtonpost.com, rose 11 percent in 2007, to $114 million. See story

*Fieldstone Mortgage, a failed subprime mortgage lender, won bankruptcy court approval to destroy loan documents containing confidential information about consumers after settling with the states and banks that opposed the destruction. The Columbia company plans to destroy about 40,000 boxes of documents related to loans it sold or mortgage applications that were rejected, withdrawn or left incomplete. It said it couldn't afford to store them.

*Sourcefire, a Columbia company that makes network security products and information management systems, said E. Wayne Jackson III will step down from his post as chief executive. Sourcefire said that he is leaving to pursue other opportunities and that its board has begun an external search for a new chief executive, according to this release.

Sourcefire also said it will separate the roles of chief executive and chairman. The company said it has appointed Joseph R. Chinnici, who previously served as the company's lead outside director, to serve as the new non-executive chairman.

*Gannett, the McLean owner of USA Today, named Robert J. Dickey president of its newspaper division, succeeding Sue Clark-Johnson, who is retiring. Dickey, 50, was a senior group president of Gannett's Pacific Group and chairman of Phoenix Newspapers.

*Shares of Provident Bankshares fell after the Baltimore bank said it would take additional write-downs on its real estate investment portfolio. Shares fell 40 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $15.89. The bank said it might take a write-down on the remaining $32.8 million in the portfolio at the end of the first quarter. It already reduced the value of the portfolio by $47.5 million pretax during the fourth quarter.

* Capital One Financial of McLean spent nearly $1.2 million lobbying last year on issues including mortgages, consumer safety and identity theft, according to a lobbying activity filing.

By Terri Rupar  |  February 28, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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