Early Briefing: Relaxing The Leash On Fannie, Freddie
* Federal officials are discussing a possible deal with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that would relax government imposed requirements on the amount of capital they must hold. The change is intended to allow the government-sponsored companies to increase their purchases of mortgages and mortgage-backed securities and pick up slack in the deeply troubled housing finance system. See story.
* The leaders of Maryland's two largest Washington suburbs, Montgomery and Prince George's, facing a sinking economy and slumping housing sales, yesterday proposed raising taxes and trimming spending to balance local budgets while protecting what they say are critical public services. Among other measures, Montgomery executive Isiah Leggett is proposing to shift more of the tax burden from homeowners to commercial and residential rental properties. The bill for a commercial property assessed at $2.8 million, the county median, would rise 20.7 percent or $4,726 to $27,580. And Prince George's executive Jack B. Johnson proposed increasing the recordation tax, imposed when homes change hands, from $2.20 to $2.50 per $500 of value. The increase would mean about $180 in new taxes on the sale of a $300,000 home and result in $5.4 million in new revenue.
* BearingPoint, a consulting firm based in McLean, named David Hunter chief operating officer. Hunter, who worked for Accenture for more than 30 years, will head BearingPoint's global operations and work to broaden its Asia-Pacific business.
F. Edwin Harbach, BearingPoint's former chief operating officer, was named chief executive in December. See story.
* Interim D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles will petition Superior Court next month to oversee a sweeping crackdown on negligent landlords, promising the push will have a "significant, immediate" impact on tenants in dozens of the District's most decrepit apartment buildings.
Nickles said yesterday he will ask the court to appoint an independent officer with broad authority to seek fines and penalties against problem landlords if they don't repair their buildings. Nickles met last week with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and decided to focus on five property owners, but he said he might expand the list if the court agrees to the proposed "receivership." See story.
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