Early Briefing: Monument and Lehman

It's Monday, so the Business section goes all local.

Half Street. Photo by Alejandro Lazo -- The Washington Post

*As trouble in the credit markets grew last year, Jeff Neal and Michael J. Darby, principals of one of Washington's most active commercial real estate firms, began looking to replace their main source of financing: investment bank Lehman Brothers. Monument Realty is still looking.

Lehman's bankruptcy filing on Sept. 15 has cast uncertainty over who will help fund Monument and its large portfolio of projects. Since 2001, Lehman has provided Monument with loans and equity investments totaling about $620 million, according to Monument.

*Small- and medium-sized business owners throughout the Washington region say they are halting expansion plans in the wake of a credit crunch that has reduced their revenues and restricted their access to loans, a situation exacerbated by last week's meltdown of Lehman Brothers and American International Group. The easing of financial markets Friday should help, but it will take a while to filter down.

Dinesh Sharma, founder of Washington Business Group, said he's had one line of credit cut in half and been told he needs to put his office condo up as collateral for a second line. So he's in cutback mode.

*Wall Street's meltdown this week stirred such angst among University of Virginia business students that professor Susan Chaplinsky tried coaxing her wannabe universe-masters to think on the positive side.

"I've asked them, 'How do you feel about a career in debt restructuring?'" said Chaplinsky, whose corporate finance students typically seek careers in investment banking or private equity. "Many of my students, who interned at banks in New York, expect the worst, that their offers will be rescinded."

*Attention Washington golfers: The region has more than one "presidential" golf course. Ever since The Presidential golf club in Dulles abruptly closed and filed for bankruptcy early last week, Lake Presidential golf club in Upper Marlboro has been fielding a number of worried calls and e-mails asking about its apparent failure.

*Qiagen's low-cost, rapid HPV test, careHPV, was 90 percent accurate in detecting cervical cancer in women from the Shanxi province of eastern China, according an article to be published in Lancet Oncology today.

By Terri Rupar  |  September 22, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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