Archive: Morning Brief

Early Briefing: Autos' One-Man PR Machine

Jack Fitzgerald, owner of nine Washington area dealerships -- seven of which are on the chopping block by General Motors and Chrysler -- left his headquarters on Rockville Pike mid-morning yesterday, armed with a black bag, full of thick consumer reports, pie charts and line graphs on cars. In the...

By Terri Rupar | June 4, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: Union Holds Campaign at Landover Wal-Mart

The United Food and Commercial Workers held organizing campaigns at several Wal-Mart stores across the country this week -- including one yesterday in Landover Hills -- as it renews pressure on the world's largest retailer to increase pay and improve health benefits. In the Washington area, union representatives said they...

By Terri Rupar | June 3, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Amazon Sues Discovery Over Patents

Amazon.com has sued Silver Spring-based Discovery Communications, accusing it of infringing on patents related to product searches on its shopping Web sites. In a lawsuit filed Friday in Seattle, Amazon said Discovery's online store violated four patents that allow consumers to narrow searches for products or receive recommendations based on...

By Terri Rupar | May 20, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Disney Plans National Harbor Hotel Resort

Walt Disney Co. has bought a 15-acre parcel at Prince George's County's sprawling National Harbor development, a shot in the arm for a project that opened with big ambitions a year ago, only to run headfirst into one of the sharpest economic declines in decades. Disney plans to build a...

By Terri Rupar | May 19, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Ex-Mayor Joins Arent Fox

Former D.C. mayor Anthony A. Williams starts today at law firm Arent Fox as director of a new practice focused on state and municipal finance and management, helping mid-size cities take advantage of federal stimulus dollars and find creative ways to handle their budgets during a recession. Williams, 57, said...

By Terri Rupar | May 14, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: The 2009 Post 200

It's here! Our annual list of the biggest public and private companies, nonprofits, law and lobby firms, sports teams and universities and other companies with major presences in the Washington area. Read about how we come up with the list. This year, in the midst of worldwide economic turmoil, we...

By Terri Rupar | May 13, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: Foundation Coal to Be Bought

This morning, Foundation Coal announced that it would be bought by Abingdon, Va.-based Alpha Natural for about $1.4 billion. Shares were up by about a third at the start of this morning's trading. Alpha shareholders will own about 60 percent of the company, which would be the third-largest U.S. coal...

By Terri Rupar | May 12, 2009; 09:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Sallie Supports Loan Changes

For the past two decades, every attempt to overhaul the $85-billion-a-year student loan industry by eliminating subsidies to lenders has faced insurmountable opposition from one of the most powerful institutions in the business: Sallie Mae, the world's largest student loan company. But in a dramatic reversal, the Reston lending behemoth...

By Terri Rupar | May 11, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Debating Retail at Metro Stations

Later this month, the Metro board is scheduled to consider whether to solicit proposals for retail kiosks in a dozen Metrorail stations. Metro has never allowed retail sales in stations in its 33 years. Officials tried once before to consider food sales at kiosks, but strong board opposition killed the...

By Terri Rupar | May 8, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Blackboard to Acquire Angel Learning

Blackboard, the maker of software used by colleges to put lectures online, said yesterday that it expects to acquire one of its main competitors, Angel Learning of Indianapolis. The District-based company, whose e-learning software is ubiquitous on many university campuses, will pay about $95 million -- $80 million in cash...

By Terri Rupar | May 7, 2009; 09:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Prepping for Swine Flu

At Booz Allen Hamilton in McLean, an emergency operations center has been opened with large monitors hanging on the wall tracking the progress of swine flu. Signs have gone up in restrooms at Marriott International in Bethesda with proper hand-washing guidelines. Pepco officials are making sure employees have proper computer...

By Terri Rupar | May 5, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Looking to Cuba

Virginia and Maryland trade officials, sensing winds of change in the tempestuous relationship between the United States and Cuba, are hustling to build markets for their goods in the event two countries normalize relations further. Virginia agriculture has already benefited from the relaxation of the 47-year-old trade embargo with Cuba,...

By Terri Rupar | May 4, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Ready for the Breakup

Nearly a decade ago, the merger between Time Warner and America Online was heralded as a surprising and revolutionary marriage between "old media" and "new media." By comparison, yesterday's revelation by Time Warner that divorce papers may be on the way came as a shock to almost no one, reports...

By Terri Rupar | April 30, 2009; 09:09 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Nonprofits Suspend United Way Memberships

Twenty-one area nonprofit groups have suspended their memberships in the United Way and joined a fledgling competitor, citing years of frustration with a steady decline in workplace giving in the Washington region and lingering distrust of the local United Way since it was nearly destroyed by scandal earlier this decade....

By Terri Rupar | April 29, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Mixx Looks Beyond News

The McLean-based news site Mixx.com is hoping to persuade consumer product developers to draw on the wisdom of the Web as it launches a service that pairs its online community of news junkies with companies wanting to bounce ideas off a test audience, reports Mike Musgrove. The site's new service,...

By Terri Rupar | April 28, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Hotel Industry Expects Difficult Year

The hotel industry expects another difficult year as loans come due and occupancy rates drop, but the Washington area is expected to bear up somewhat better than other parts of the country. At a meeting of hotel investors in Washington yesterday, industry researchers said they expect to see an increase...

By Terri Rupar | April 22, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Ready to Watch TV on Your Phone?

Washington area residents could soon get "American Idol" and "30 Rock" on the go through a pilot program to bring free mobile digital television to cellphones and other wireless devices, Cecilia Kang reports. But seeing "Oprah" on the commute home comes with a caveat: Currently, no commercial mobile devices are...

By Terri Rupar | April 21, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Looking to Online Video

In the Download this week, Kim Hart looks at the rise of popularity in online video. More people with high-speed Internet connections and more content mean a better time for several Washington firms that have been trying to figure out how make money while making it even easier for people...

By Terri Rupar | April 20, 2009; 09:36 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: General Growth's Bankruptcy

General Growth Properties, the giant shopping mall company whose holdings stretch from Tysons Corner to the planned community of Columbia and Baltimore's Inner Harbor, yesterday sought protection in bankruptcy court, citing debts of more than $27 billion. The bankruptcy heralds a wave of trouble in commercial real estate that threatens...

By Terri Rupar | April 17, 2009; 09:51 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: What Executives Made

The shareholders who own the Washington region's big public companies didn't do very well last year, as most stocks swooned amid the downturn. But most of the men and women who run those companies did not suffer proportionately, according to regulatory filings, Tom Heath reports. Malon Wilkus, chairman of American...

By Terri Rupar | April 15, 2009; 09:56 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Sallie Mae Fighting Loan Plan

With the Obama administration proposing to overhaul the programs a majority of American students use to finance their college education, the student loan industry is fighting back, Amit Paley reports. Reston-based Sallie Mae, the nation's largest provider of student loans, recently launched a lobbying blitz on Capitol Hill and the...

By Terri Rupar | April 14, 2009; 12:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Health Care and Six Flags

More than $19 billion in stimulus money intended to revamp the nation's health system has piqued the interest of some local tech companies that have in the past shied away from the complex health-care industry. And for companies with expertise in the business, stimulus dollars mean new opportunities, Kim Hart...

By Terri Rupar | April 13, 2009; 09:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Chevy Chase Drops Chevys

Chevy Chase Cars, whose Chevrolet sign on Wisconsin Avenue has been a Bethesda landmark for decades, is dropping Chevy in favor of Nissans, the company told its customers this week. Tom Heath reports that the 70-year-old dealership will continue to sell Acuras, Honda's luxury brand, but is ending ended its...

By Terri Rupar | April 10, 2009; 09:43 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: AIG and Kincora

In 2005, when AIG was brought in on planned development Kincora in Loudoun County as an equity partner, developers touted the financial giant's "ability to ride economic cycles," reports Derek Kravitz. Then came the company's starring role in the nation's economic collapse, and the tarnishing of its once-sterling image. "I...

By Terri Rupar | April 8, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Cheap Flights To NY

Southwest Airlines is wading into the airfare wars between New York and the Washington area, with an announcement of new one-way flights from Baltimore for as little as $49. The airline is introducing three daily nonstop flights between LaGuardia and Baltimore-Washington International Marshall airports beginning June 28, according to this...

By Dan Beyers | April 7, 2009; 08:55 AM ET | Comments (3)

Early Briefing: ZGS Head to Lead Telemundo Station Group

Ronald J. Gordon, who helped turn ZGS Communications in Arlington into a major player in the Spanish-language broadcast market, is leaving later this month to become president of the Telemundo Station Group. Network officials say Gordon, who will be based in Miami and New York, has been assigned to oversee...

By Terri Rupar | April 3, 2009; 09:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Local Dealerships Have Been Preparing

Washington area dealerships that sell General Motors and Chrysler vehicles have been trimming costs and reducing the number of cars on their lots for more than a year in expectation that the two American manufacturing icons might be forced into bankruptcy. Dealerships said they have continued advertising to assure the...

By Terri Rupar | April 1, 2009; 08:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Alliant Winners Named

The General Services Administration named 59 companies as winners of a $50 billion contract to supply information technology services to the federal government. The contract, called Alliant, is the largest government-wide IT services contract ever awarded by the GSA. It is worth up to $50 billion over the next five...

By Terri Rupar | March 31, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: The New Contractors

Kim Hart writes about the opportunities that the federal government is creating for Washington technology firms -- even those that have not typically sold services to agencies. Companies that have traditionally focused on creating Web services for consumers and energy-saving technology for big corporations see lucrative chances to break into...

By Terri Rupar | March 30, 2009; 09:37 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Freddie's Revelations

Half a year after the government seized Freddie Mac, confusion about its role is stoking tensions between the company and its regulator, including a dispute this month over how much the mortgage giant should reveal to private investors about its financial troubles, Zachary Goldfarb reports. Federal officials who took over...

By Terri Rupar | March 27, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Interest in Government Work

The lines for the CIA were out the door at the spring career fair last week at George Mason University in Fairfax, and the Environmental Protection Agency and various Defense Department booths were doing booming business as well. Two months after President Obama took office vowing to make federal service...

By Terri Rupar | March 26, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Opposition to Expanding Unemployment in Va.

A group of Republican lawmakers and officials with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce said expanding unemployment benefits to receive $125 million in federal stimulus funding would mean higher taxes for businesses once the stimulus money is exhausted. Virginia, which recorded a 6.4 percent unemployment rate in January, is already eligible...

By Terri Rupar | March 25, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: BearingPoint Nearing an End?

, reports MIchael Rosenwald. The company, which is in bankruptcy protection, last night said it reached a deal with parties including PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte -- to sell "substantially all of its businesses." Deloitte is buying a "significant portion" of the public services business for $350 million, and Pricewaterhouse is buying...

By Terri Rupar | March 24, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Struggles in Biotech

Rockville-based Human Genome Sciences got a drubbing on Wall Street earlier this month after results for of a study of hepatitis C drug Albuferon. The difficulties the company faces are replicated throughout the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, which are under increasing pressure to garner huge profits from their drug treatments...

By Terri Rupar | March 23, 2009; 12:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Bonuses, and Worries at Fan and Fred

Legislation to severely tax bonuses at companies receiving government aid may imperil the Obama administration's housing recovery program by igniting an exodus of employees from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, employees said, Zachary Goldfarb reports. Both House and Senate versions of legislation to tax bonuses single out District-based Fannie Mae...

By Terri Rupar | March 20, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: About the Bonuses

Executives at companies including FBR Capital Markets received bonuses despite not meeting performance goals. Payments like this at companies nationwide come in the form of discretionary pay and retention awards as well as bonuses paid out after directors on the companies' compensation boards adjusted compensation plans or lowered performance goals....

By Terri Rupar | March 19, 2009; 09:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: A Surprise Visit at AOL

AOL employees got a surprise visit yesterday from Steve Case and Ted Leonsis, who showed up at a company-wide meeting to greet the new CEO and help bolster a staff recently hit by layoffs and turnover. Case and Leonsis, along with new chief executive and ex-Google executive Tim Armstrong, tried...

By Terri Rupar | March 18, 2009; 09:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Replacing Blackwater

The decision not to renew the Iraq security contract of Blackwater Worldwide, now known as Xe, when it expires in early May has left the State Department scrambling to fill a protection gap for U.S. diplomats and civilian officials there. DynCorp International of Falls Church and Triple Canopy of Herndon,...

By Terri Rupar | March 17, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Marriott's Arne Sorenson

Arne Sorenson tells reporter Michael Rosenwald that 11 years ago, Bill Marriott took his first bet on him, making Sorenson the chief financial officer of the hotel chain. Last week, Sorenson was promoted to president and chief operating officer, and analysts see that as Marriott's next big bet. Even though...

By Terri Rupar | March 16, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: New Leader at AOL

AOL announced a new leader, just two years after the outgoing executives were chosen to turn around the struggling dial-up and content company. Google Senior Vice President Tim Armstrong will replace Randy Falco as chairman and chief executive, said parent company Time Warner. AOL president and operating chief Ron Grant...

By Terri Rupar | March 13, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Local Wounded Giants

Steven Pearlstein takes a look at last year's Post 200 companies and sees wounded giants, hunkered down and cutting back, their balance sheets under stress and their stock prices hammered. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were nationalized, and Allied Capital may no longer be a going concern. Chevy Chase Bank...

By Terri Rupar | March 6, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: No Ground-Breakings

Not a single office building has been started in the District since October. "Things are frozen. Nobody's doing anything," Gerry Widdicombe, director of economic development for the city's Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District, told reporter Dana Hedgpeth. It is the first time in nine years that there's been such a...

By Terri Rupar | March 5, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Local Economy Faces Trials

Neil Irwin and Dana Hedgpeth take a look at the local economy, which has been largely insulated from previous economic downturns, protected by business activity tied to the federal government. But, they write, this time local companies -- and residents -- face trials unlike any in at least a generation....

By Terri Rupar | March 4, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Moffett Leaves Fannie in Frustration

David M. Moffett said yesterday that he is stepping down after just six months as the government-appointed chief executive of Freddie Mac. Associates said he was frustrated with the intense scrutiny by federal regulators and the short leash they keep the company on, according to Zachary Goldfarb. His resignation comes...

By Terri Rupar | March 3, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Before Allied's Earnings

It's Monday, which means the Business section goes all local. This week, Michael Rosenwald takes a look at Allied Capital, the District-based buyout firm that's scheduled to report earnings today. "This is life-or-death time for Allied," said Troy Ward, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus. The company said almost two weeks...

By Terri Rupar | March 2, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Shopping Centers Cut Hours

Local shopping centers are feeling the pinch of the economic downturn, reports staff writer Ylan Q. Mui. Westfield Group said shorter hours will take effect next week at most of its U.S. shopping centers, including Montgomery, Wheaton Plaza and Annapolis malls. Those centers will change weekday hours to open...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 25, 2009; 10:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Local Economy Worse Than Predictions

Every year The Washington Post brings together a group of local experts and asks them to predict how the local economy faired. This year, even those who most accurately predicted the course of the Washington-area economy in the Post's Local Economy Challenge 2008 failed to guess the depth of...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 23, 2009; 09:35 AM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Brief: Stimulus to Fund Local Projects

Metro and Maryland have detailed how they will use some of their share of the stimulus package money. The Transportation Planning Board of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments approved $230 million in projects for Metro on Wednesday, including $40 million to replace its oldest buses and crumbling rail station...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 19, 2009; 10:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Economic Stimulus Helps Locally

The economic stimulus bill facing a vote in Congress would provide enough money to modernize more than 300 schools in the District, Maryland and Virginia and would boost unemployment benefits to more than half a million people, staff writers Mary Beth Sheridan and Michael Laris report. The Obama administration...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 13, 2009; 09:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Two Washington Banks Merge

Two Washington area banks controlled by the same local businessman have decided to merge forces. Independence Federal Savings Bank yesterday said on Wednesday that it plans to merge with ColomboBank of Rockville. The deal would create a $300 million thrift controlled by Washington businessman Morton A. Bender. Reports staff...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 12, 2009; 09:23 AM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Brief: Hardware Store Memorialized

Nichols Hardware is a 95-year-old family-run operation in Purcellville. Now longtime customers have decided to make a documentary of the place to memorialize it. The film follows a year in the life of the store, and the filmmakers hope to draw audiences who share their amazement that such an...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 11, 2009; 09:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: A Look At Fairchild Without Steiner

On Mondays we take a look at all business news that is local. Staff writer Michael S. Rosenwald has an intriguing look at the life and legacy of Jeffrey Steiner, the enigmatic chief executive of McLean's Fairchild Corp., which Rosenwald writes is struggling to survive the downturn. "He was...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 9, 2009; 09:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Madoff Lists Includes Local Names

The alleged Ponzi scheme by Bernard L. Madoff has claimed several big local names as its victims. Nearly 250 Washington area names, including some of the region's most prominent and wealthiest business people, are on a new list of possible customers of the New York investment firm operated by...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 6, 2009; 08:44 AM ET | Comments (2)

Morning Brief: Unemployment Benefits Hard To Get

Carrie Kenworthy of Manassas was laid off from her $80,000-a-year job as a mortgage loan officer in 2007. Then she tried to file for an extension in unemployment benefits in July. The Virginia Employment Commission denied her claim three times. Her appeals took more than two months because of...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 5, 2009; 08:37 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Corporate Executive Board Makes Cuts

Washington area companies are not immune to the recession. The Corporate Executive Board of Arlington is planning to cut or change about a fifth of the research products and services it provides to businesses, which will mean an undetermined number of layoffs, the company's chief executive told staff in...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 4, 2009; 09:19 AM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Brief: Banks Struggle To Lend With Bailout

Bethesda's EagleBank received $38.2 million from the Treasury Department in early December. The bank, which focuses on lending to local businesses, used roughly half the money to digest the acquisition of Fidelity & Trust Bank, a Bethesda rival with financial problems. And it has struggled to use the rest...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 3, 2009; 08:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Automakers Set For DC Show

Automakers are revving up for a chance to get some face time with lawmakers in Washington this month at the 67th Washington Auto Show, reports staff writer Kendra Marr. In Detroit last month, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) was the lone federal legislator to grace the show, setting off a...

By Alejandro Lazo | February 2, 2009; 08:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Construction Workers Hope For Stimulus

Santiago Castro is one person who is hoping President Obama's stimulus package works. The father of three small children has barely cobbled together enough money to pay the $2,000-a-month mortgage on his Oxon Hill home with his wife's part-time salary from Dunkin' Donuts and his unemployment check. Castro recently...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 30, 2009; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Commercial Property Debt Looms

Staff writers Dana Hedgpeth and Dan Keating take a thorough look Thursday morning at Washington's commercial property market. A third of the loans used to finance Washington area commercial buildings and then sold to Wall Street are coming due in the next five years, leaving investors scrambling to find...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 29, 2009; 10:20 AM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Brief: Local Unemployment Climbs

The jobless rate locally soared in Maryland, the District and Virginia in December, showing that the Washington area is not immune to the downdraft of the recession. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Tuesday offered more evidence of an economy growing increasingly fragile, even in these local jurisdictions, which traditionally...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 28, 2009; 10:21 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Fannie Mae Looks to Treasury for Cash

Mortgage giant Fannie Mae is looking to tap government rescue money. Fannie said Monday that it expects to request up to $16 billion from the Treasury Department, marking the first time the federally run mortgage giant will hit the government's largesse. Rival Freddie Mac has already received $13.8 billion from...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 27, 2009; 09:25 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: The Dynamics of Hiltons' Move

Following Hilton Hotels' announcement that it plans to move to the Washington area, staff writer Michael Rosenwald now asks: can two major competitors coexist in the same region? For more than 50 years, Marriott International has been the Washington area's premiere lodging company. Other firms have popped up around...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 26, 2009; 08:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Capital One Reports 4Q Loss

Capital One Financial ended 2008 in the red after a massive $1.42 billion loss in the fourth quarter. Its $46 million loss for the year was the first annual loss in the bank's history. The bank joined a growing chorus of banks in predicting that 2009 will be even...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 23, 2009; 08:48 AM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Brief: Hilton Coming To Washington

Hilton Hotels, one of the world's largest lodging firms, is coming to Washington. The company said Wednesday that it is moving its corporate headquarters -- and several hundred jobs -- to the D.C. region this year, parking itself squarely in the back yard of a major competitor, Marriott International. The...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 22, 2009; 10:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: An Office With a View

A few office workers in the District will want to be sure to show up on inauguration day. As dignitaries, floats and marching bands make their way down Pennsylvania Avenue, the balconies, windows and roofs from Third Street to the White House will be the most coveted real estate...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 16, 2009; 10:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Governors Face Hard Choices

Hampered by projected shortfalls that top $1 billion in both states, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine are being forced to retool their agendas. As staff writers Tim Craig and John Wagner report today: "The two begin their General Assembly sessions today with their spending...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 14, 2009; 07:24 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Sprint Nextel Cuts Herndon Jobs

Troubles continue to mount at Sprint Nextel. The telecommunications giant said Thursday it will lay off 160 employees from its Herndon operations. The announcement comes amid questions about the success of the company's high-speed Internet technology venture with Clearwire. The layoffs will come from staff at Sprint's building that...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 9, 2009; 09:06 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Paulson Sees End To Fannie, Freddie

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. on Wednesday laid out a vision in which the two local mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would no longer exist. In his final speech scheduled as Treasury secretary, Paulson proposed replacing mortgage-finance companies with highly regulated utilities that would play a...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 8, 2009; 09:01 AM ET | Comments (2)

Morning Brief: Area Unemployment Rises

More evidence is emerging that the economic downturn is hitting the Washington area. Staff writer V. Dion Haynes reports that unemployment in the Washington region reached its highest level in November since June 2003, inching up to 4.4 percent from 4.1 percent the month before. Overall, though, the region created...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 7, 2009; 08:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Housing Bust Hits Condo Buyers

The housing bust is taking its toll on those buyers who put down payments on projects that now stand completed and not fully sold. Staff writers Paul Schwartzman and Renae Merle report on the trials and tribulations of those who put down payments on condominiums at the 550-unit Dumont....

By Alejandro Lazo | January 6, 2009; 09:17 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Mobile Phone Traffic to Spike on Inauguration

With millions expected to flood into the Washington area for the presidential inauguration Jan. 20, wireless carriers are projecting an explosion of cellular phone traffic. Some fear that so many calls, text messages, photos and video clips hitting the airwaves at the same time can choke communication networks and result...

By Alejandro Lazo | January 5, 2009; 09:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Annapolis Landmark Changes Hands

Steve Duffy and his sister, Kerry Duffy Doyle, have long made it a policy to know either 70 percent of the names of their clients or 70 percent of what they drink every morning. The couple and their coffee shop, the City Dock Cafe, sent a buzz through Maryland's capital...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 31, 2008; 09:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Hargrove Wins Inaugural Contract

This morning, staff writer Anita Huslin takes a closer look at Hargrove, the local firm that for the fifth time in its 60-year history is in charge of planning and executing all of the official balls, parties and other events celebrating the inauguration of a new president. This year,...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 30, 2008; 10:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Billings Steps Down from FBR Capital Markets

Tom Heath reports that Eric Billings is stepping down as CEO of FBR Capital Markets, the outgrowth of Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group. He will be succeeded by President Richard J. Hendrix as of Jan. 1. It's the first time that the company will be led by a non-founder, though Billings...

By Terri Rupar | December 23, 2008; 07:18 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Passing Up Holiday Parties

The holiday spirit is touching some local companies and organizations. Staff writer William Wan reports today that some of these companies have foregone fancy holiday parties and canceled their fruit baskets to clients, instead funneling the money to local food banks for the needy. Such donations have come from...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 19, 2008; 09:13 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Constellation Takes French Offer

Constellation Energy Group has taken a pass on Warren Buffett's offer. Instead, a big French utility agreed to pay $4.5 billion for a half interest in the company's nuclear power plants and a Midwest utility controlled by Buffett got $593 million in cash plus a 10 percent stake in...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 18, 2008; 07:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Scheme Claims Local Victims

The Madoff scheme appears to have some local victims. Staff writer Megan Greenwell reports today that the umbrella group that provides funds to almost every Jewish nonprofit group in the Washington region might have lost more than $10 million to the widening scandal. The investment firm operated by Bernard...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 17, 2008; 09:37 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Upset Over Home Purchase Program

Last month the D.C. Council voted to suspend $11 million of the Home Purchase Assistance Program's $34 million budget -- a popular housing program that helps residents with down payments and closing costs. On Tuesday, the council heard directly from those affected. Dana Grinage, whose voice cracked, told council...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 16, 2008; 09:08 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Washington Area May Slow In 2009

The Washington region has held up despite the recession this year. Next year might not be so easy. The Washington region is expected to end the year with as many as 36,000 more jobs than last year, but analysts are forecasting a much dimmer outlook for next year, saying...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 15, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Mall Owner Faces Debt Deadline

General Growth Properties, the Chicago real estate behemoth that owns Tysons Galleria, Landmark Mall and the Mall in Columbia, faces a major deadline today as it tries to negotiate new terms for $900 million worth of loans on two Las Vegas properties. The company took on substantial debt when...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 12, 2008; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Local Leaders Want Green Jobs

Local leaders are looking for a piece of the green jobs pie. With President-elect Barack Obama already drafting an economic stimulus package that could provide up to $1 trillion, local elected officials combined forces Wednesday to pursue support for environmentally friendly public works projects. According to a report by staff...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 11, 2008; 09:06 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Mortgage Giants Take Hill Grilling

Federal mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac took a grilling Tuesday on Capitol Hill. A congressional panel told former Fannie chief executive Franklin D. Raines that he and his colleagues acted irresponsibly in making decisions that led to the housing crisis. Raines, in turn, blamed the federal regulator...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 10, 2008; 08:46 AM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Brief: Fannie, Freddie Knew Of Risks

We begin today with more news from the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Staff writer Zachary Goldfarb reports that internal Freddie documents show senior executives at the company were warned years ago they were offering mortgages that could pose dangers to the firm. At Fannie, top executives were...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 9, 2008; 08:08 AM ET | Comments (2)

Morning Brief: Policy Wins At Fannie, Freddie

In this week's Washington Business section, we take a deeper look at how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are doing under conservatorship. Staff writer Zachary Goldfarb examines how the companies are handling their sometimes contradictory missions of making money and serving the public good. "Fannie and Freddie have always...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 8, 2008; 07:17 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: A Local Banking Dream Is Realized

Richard Fairbank, the chief executive of Capital One of McLean, had long desired the landmark Washington bank Chevy Chase, but he thought the privately held company was out of reach. Then, just a day after telling his business associates about what he had dreamed, Fairbank learned that a New...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 5, 2008; 08:38 AM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Brief: Capital One to Buy Chevy Chase

In a local match-up born out of the financial crisis, Capital One, the McLean credit card company, is expected to buy Chevy Chase Bank, a landmark Washington financial firm with branches throughout the region, sources familiar with the matter told the Washington Post. Capital One, which would pay $520 million...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 4, 2008; 08:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Inauguration Business Parties On

The city's bartenders must be happy. For four days in January (you guessed it, inauguration weekend) bars in the District will be open 24 hours a day. Staff writer David Nakamura reports that, under emergency legislation approved by the D.C. Council on Tuesday, any District establishment with a liquor...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 3, 2008; 08:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Stalling Development

The promise of new homes and high-end retail is running headlong into a withering economic slowdown and paralyzed credit markets, bringing new construction to a virtual stop throughout the Washington area and fueling anxiety among those who dreamed that their neighborhoods were the next frontiers. "There's a question mark over...

By Alejandro Lazo | December 2, 2008; 08:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Small Businesses Wary of Bailout

Chris Kelly, a 31-year employee, awaits customers at Champion Billiards & Barstools in Rockville, which is holding a going-out-of-business sale. (By Kevin Clark -- The Washington Post) Small businesses are concerned that the government's announcement this week of what amounts to a bailout attempt for consumers and small-business owners...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 28, 2008; 09:37 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Price At The Pump A Bright Spot

There is some bright business news these days. The recent plunge in gas prices from their historic highs this summer has meant relief for small business owners and drivers. Stacie Banks and her family use their van and two Honda Elements to deliver arrangements of orchids, chrysanthemums, carnations and Gerber...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 26, 2008; 08:14 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Lay-Offs Hit Washington Families

The Washington area is well known for its economic resilience. Nevertheless, several large employers have announced lay-offs and staff writer Brigid Schulte takes a look at the experiences of middle class families that have lost a wage earner today. Each of the families learned how fast the slide to the...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 25, 2008; 08:04 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: The Voice Behind Video Games

It is Monday morning, and time to take a look at the latest local business news. First meet Craig Sechler of Northwest Washington. He is the voice behind dozens of characters in interactive video games, an intriguing, sometimes eerie, always challenging subculture that is as invisible to many people...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 24, 2008; 08:23 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Freddie, Fannie Halt Foreclosures

Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will suspend foreclosures and evictions for the holidays. The two companies, which were seized by the government in September, said they want to keep people from losing their homes. They said they are taking the step so they can include more people...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 21, 2008; 08:06 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Inauguration Frenzy Hits Washington

Some visitors coming to Washington for President-elect Barrack Obama's inauguration are getting caught up in a frenzy in which thousands of people have come out of the woodwork to make a quick buck by offering their houses for rent. But the arrangements -- with deals being brokered largely between amateurs,...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 20, 2008; 09:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Treasury Invests In Four Local Banks

With the Treasury Department's rescue plan in full swing, more financial institutions with a Washington area presence are tapping the government funds. The Treasury said on Monday that it has made investments in four banks that operate in the Washington area. The Treasury has agreed to invest $175.3 billion...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 18, 2008; 08:12 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Broker Raffles His Annapolis House

It is Monday morning and time to take a look at the local business scene. Some people in the housing market are getting increasingly creative when it comes to selling. Tom Walters, a mortgage broker, is raffling off his home, selling tickets for $50 for his $1 million six-bedroom,...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 17, 2008; 08:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Fannie, Freddie Costs Could Climb

There are lots of big local news stories today. First off, the seizure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is poised to get more expensive and some are cautioning that the takeover might cost the government more than suggested, reports staff writer Zachary A. Goldfarb. The turmoil in the financial...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 14, 2008; 08:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Mt. Pleasant Empties With Downturn

Up and down the commercial heart of Mount Pleasant storefronts are empty, a reflection of the broader economic downturn. As staff writer Paul Schwartzman reports today: "The palm reader left months ago, as did the laundromat, computer center and two food markets. Across the way, the charred vestiges of...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 13, 2008; 08:14 AM ET | Comments (2)

Morning Brief: BearingPoint Focuses on Debt

BearingPoint is stepping up its efforts to renegotiate its debt load. Kenneth A. Hiltz, a managing partner with the turnaround firm AlixPartners, takes over as the company's new chief financial officer. His job will be finding ways of conserving cash and negotiating with the company's lenders, BearingPoint said in a...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 11, 2008; 07:47 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: A Look at Commercial Real Estate

We focus exclusively on local business on Mondays and this week we took a look at one of the region's key industries: commercial real estate. We found that the slowdown in consumer spending and the credit crunch have put the brakes on retail projects throughout the region. Developers here...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 10, 2008; 08:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief: Sunrise's Loss And Discovery Gains

Sunrise Senior Living reported a net loss of $68.7 million in the third quarter as it wrote down the value of some its abandoned development projects and expenses from its accounting restatements continued to weigh on its finances. "This quarter was very difficult as we incurred a significant net...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 7, 2008; 08:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Briefing: Commercial Real Estate Plunges

Commercial real estate, which has long been a major industry in the Washington area, is looking to chalk up one of its worst years since the bust of the early 1990s reports staff writer Dana Hedgpeth. "In the Washington area, there is a concern that new developments won't break ground,...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 5, 2008; 07:47 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Briefing: Sallie Chairman Accepts Pay Cut

Anthony P. Terracciano, chairman of Sallie Mae, will take a yearly pay cut and delay some of his stock awards as the company weathers a rough time for the student lending business. Anthony P. Terracciano, chairman of Sallie Mae, will take a pay cut. (Via Bloomberg News) The student...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 4, 2008; 07:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Briefing: CapitalSource Director Resigns

CapitalSource of Chevy Chase continues to make changes in the midst of the financial crisis. The company said in a filing on Monday that Jason M. Fish, a co-founder and director since 2000, resigned last week as vice chairman of the board. The company did not give a reason...

By Alejandro Lazo | November 3, 2008; 07:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Fannie's Disappearing Capital

By Alejandro Lazo So it turns out that nearly half of the capital mortgage giant Fannie Mae was sitting on in the months before being taken over by the government is now worthless. That's the news this morning from staff writer Zachary A. Goldfarb. He reports that District-based Fannie has...

By Alejandro Lazo | October 30, 2008; 07:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: A Walk Down Main

It's Monday, so we're taking a local angle on all the economic news. By Dominic Bracco II -- The Washington Post *A bonding company, a Greek restaurant, a bakery, a print shop and a law firm are among the companies lining Fairfax's Main Street. Some are already seeing lean times...

By Terri Rupar | October 27, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: A Parking Lot, for Now

*The corner of K Street and Connecticut Avenue is among downtown Washington's most prestigious, a crossroads District leaders believe is worthy of the glass, steel and stone tower that a developer envisions. But now, citing the economic downturn, a developer has sought the District's permission to turn one of the...

By Terri Rupar | October 24, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Employers Cutting Back

*Employers are moving to aggressively cut jobs and reduce costs in the face of the nation's economic crisis, preparing for what many fear will be a long and painful recession. "The customers I've spoken to are all living under a sense of fear," said Paul Villella, chief executive of HireStrategy,...

By Terri Rupar | October 23, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Not-So-Small Businesses

*U.S. government agencies made at least $5 billion in mistakes in their recent reports of contracts awarded to small businesses, with many claiming credit for awards to companies that long ago outgrew the designation or never qualified in the first place, a Washington Post analysis shows. In the data, federal...

By Terri Rupar | October 22, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Cuts at Sirius XM, and in Budgets

*Sirius XM Radio laid off at least 50 workers, including on- and off-air talent at channels with formats ranging from oldies to modern rock, according to employees and a source with direct knowledge of the cutbacks. The satellite radio company's New York offices did not return phone calls or e-mails...

By Terri Rupar | October 16, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: Construction's Outreach

*In 1984, when Kyle Brown started at Miller & Long Concrete Construction, most workers were black. But by the mid-1990s, they had been replaced by Latinos. And Brown, 48, vividly recalls his initial loneliness as "the outsider." Now, he has been sent on a mission to alter the trend. Officials...

By Terri Rupar | October 15, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Budget Troubles and Foreclosures

*In the year since Maryland launched a series of foreclosure prevention programs, the state has helped just 88 troubled borrowers get into new loans or keep up with their payments, at a cost of about $17.9 million. State officials say their efforts have been hamstrung by borrowers who wait too...

By Terri Rupar | September 24, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

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...

By Terri Rupar | September 22, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Discovery's First Day

*Silver Spring-based Discovery Communications became a publicly traded company Thursday, a move aimed at giving it a new vehicle for acquiring programming, Internet sites and network distribution properties. "We'll now have a currency which will help us to be more competitive in recruiting the best talent, some financial flexibility in...

By Terri Rupar | September 19, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Some D.C. Bond Rates Double

*The interest rates on some of the District's bonds doubled this week as a result of intense tightening in the credit markets. That means the city will have to fork over several hundred thousand more dollars to creditors this week, said D.C. Treasurer Lasana Mack. He added that the District...

By Terri Rupar | September 18, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Estate Turns Retirement Community

*The descendants of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence announced Tuesday they have reached an agreement that will allow limited development of senior housing on their historic Doughoregan Manor in Howard County but will keep most of the ancestral property -- visited by George Washington and Thomas...

By Terri Rupar | September 17, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Local Money and Politics

It's Monday, so the business section is all local. And today, we've taken a look at the local business community and its role in the upcoming elections. *Long & Foster founder Wes Foster and McLean jewelry designer Michelle Olson are tapping their networks of customers and deal partners to put...

By Terri Rupar | September 15, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: A New Bloomie's and Safeway

Bloomingdale's plans to open a trendy concept store in Georgetown modeled after its above-pictured store in New York's SoHo neighborhood. (By Gregory Bull -- Associated Press) *Bloomingdale's announced plans to open a store in the Shops at Georgetown Park in the next three years, providing a boost to a...

By Terri Rupar | September 11, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: Revolution, Everyday Health in Talks

*Revolution Health Network is in discussions to merge with Everyday Health, a marriage that would join two of the three most-visited online health information networks. Sources familiar with the discussions said that the merger is still in the negotiation stage and that the role of former AOL chairman Steve Case,...

By Terri Rupar | September 10, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Changes Start at Fannie, Freddie

*The new chief executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac arrived at the companies' campuses and set about the challenging task of expanding their funding of mortgages in the near term and protecting taxpayers from losses in the long term. Once among the biggest companies in the country, Fannie Mae...

By Terri Rupar | September 9, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: The Fannie-Freddie Rescue

*The government seized control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in a dramatic bid to restore faith in the embattled mortgage giants and arrest a vicious cycle that has driven the nation's economy into a steep downturn. The companies, with a combined 11,000 employees, have funded more than two-thirds of...

By Terri Rupar | September 8, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: MiddleBrook's New Leader

*As a senior executive at Adams Respiratory Therapeutics, John S. Thievon tackled the challenge of launching a pricey decongestant in a marketplace filled with cheap generics. Ultimately that drug, Mucinex, trampled its competition. Rudnic (By Kevin Clark -- The Washington Post) Thievon now faces a similarly daunting task as the...

By Terri Rupar | September 5, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: A Question of Liability

*When Blackstreet Capital Management affiliate SFCA in April purchased the assets of Simplicity for Children, a leading manufacturer of children's furniture, it structured the deal so it would not assume responsibility for products already on the market. Yet, last week, the issue of liability arose when the Consumer Product Safety...

By Terri Rupar | September 4, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Comstock Deal Lets It Get Rid of Debt

*Comstock Homebuilding of Reston said it has reached a deal with lender BB&T to wipe $32.7 million worth of troubled development loans from its books as it struggles to rebound in an ailing housing market. Under the deal, BB&T foreclosed on four of Comstock's properties in the Atlanta area. Two...

By Terri Rupar | September 3, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Everything Goes

Happy Labor Day. It's Monday, so that means we're all local in the Business section today. *The owners are nowhere to be found when the sheriff's deputy shows up. The landlord is ready, however, and unlocks the business and tells the crew of 25 men to start removing the contents....

By Terri Rupar | September 1, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Freddie Hasn't Completely Reassured Investors

*Freddie Mac, which has lost more than 90 percent of its stock value since last fall, has repeatedly tried to dampen talk of a government bailout by highlighting the amount of capital it has on hand to weather problems. A presentation by top executives earlier this month offered a window...

By Terri Rupar | August 29, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: (Contractor) Spies Among Us

*About a quarter of the nation's core intelligence workforce are contractors, perhaps as many as 37,000 private employees who work side-by-side with civil servants as analysts, technology specialists and mission managers, according to a report about government outsourcing by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The vast majority...

By Terri Rupar | August 28, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Small Banks Feel the Crunch

*Kassie Rempel, owner and founder of the boutique online retailer SimplySoles, had to personally guarantee a loan from Bethesda-based Eagle Bank three months ago to build her first store, in Columbia Heights in Northwest Washington. Bank officials told her that because of credit conditions, the practice has become standard across...

By Terri Rupar | August 27, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: The Man Behind The Man

It's Monday, the day we turn the Business section over to news about local companies and trends. James Kimsey at lunch with Peter Kirsch, who leads a staff that manages the AOL founder's affairs. (By Nikki Kahn -- The Washington Post) * It's early on a spring morning and Peter...

By Dan Beyers | August 25, 2008; 08:21 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: 50 Years of Ben's

*It was 1996, and Nizam Ali had just gotten his law degree. Instead of heading to the courtroom, he had another idea: He wanted to help run the family business. (Jacquelyn Martin-AP) Ali told his father, Ben, that if he couldn't double the revenue at Ben's Chili Bowl within a...

By Terri Rupar | August 21, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: An Old-School Powerhouse

*L.B. "Bud" Doggett Jr. liked to sit in his sprawling office on the third floor at 660 11th St. NW, teeth clenched firmly on a Garcia y Vega cigar, a pour of vodka ready for the asking, and spin stories about his World War II days, where he became a...

By Terri Rupar | August 15, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: GeoEye's Earthly Setbacks

*GeoEye's dreams have long been anchored high in the sky, with plans to launch next month a $500 million satellite powerful enough to snap a picture of home plate at Nationals Park from 423 miles above the planet. But on Tuesday, the Dulles satellite company disclosed that it is confronting...

By Terri Rupar | August 14, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Explaining Biotech

*Geoffrey Allan has explained to Congress protein structures and how they work, as well as reviewed how drugs are absorbed into the body. If lawmakers understand the difference between chemical and biologic drugs, Allan reasons, they'll be more invested in his cause: getting quick approval for generic versions of biotech...

By Terri Rupar | August 13, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Commercial Real Estate Feels the Pain

It's Monday, which means the Business section goes all local. *In April, when a wealthy Irish investor bought the I.M. Pei-designed building at 2099 Pennsylvania Ave. NW for $173 million, or $867 a square foot -- a record for the District -- it appeared that the region's cachet and a...

By Terri Rupar | August 11, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Emergent Posts Profit, Stock Falls

*Emergent Biosolutions, the Rockville biotech that is supplying the U.S. government with 18.75 million doses of anthrax vaccine, has had its share of successes and setbacks in the last few years. Yesterday, it experienced both. The company reported a second-quarter profit thanks to high sales of BioThrax, the only anthrax...

By Terri Rupar | August 8, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Freddie's Loss and Waxman's Letter

*Freddie Mac said its losses from foreclosures and other failed home loans nearly doubled in the second quarter, and it predicted that home prices would fall more than it previously projected, compounding its woes. Freddie said its expenses from foreclosures and related problems rose to $2.8 billion in the quarter...

By Terri Rupar | August 7, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: No More Dial-Up

*AOL is finally in a position to shed the dial-up-access business that once offered tens of millions of people their first glance at the Internet. In April, parent company Time Warner promised to make clear its plans for AOL's future by its second-quarter earnings call, scheduled for tomorrow. And it...

By Terri Rupar | August 5, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Satellite Companies' Next Try

It's Monday, so the Business section is turned over to local business. *In the 1990s, a bevy of local companies promised a new era of satellite-based services, providing cheap mobile calls, high-speed Internet connectivity, streaming video and moreother services. Companies such as Bethesda-based Iridium and Reston-based American Mobile Satellite spent...

By Terri Rupar | August 4, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Sunrise Files 2007 Financial Statement

*Sunrise Senior Living said it lost $70.3 million in 2007, as the company's accounting restatement weighed on its finances. McLean-based Sunrise, the nation's largest senior living provider, also said it has had to pull back expansion plans because of difficult credit markets, cutting the number of new apartments it planned...

By Terri Rupar | August 1, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Accounting Rule Delayed

*The board that sets accounting rules for U.S. corporations yesterday postponed by a year a plan that could require banks and other financial services companies to raise mountains of new capital to protect themselves against financial exposures not currently reflected on their balance sheets. The Financial Accounting Standards Board took...

By Terri Rupar | July 31, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Artifacts for National Harbor

By Linda Davidson -- The Washington Post *A button, a bottle, a toothbrush and 300,000 other ordinary relics from colonial-era plantation life on the banks of the Potomac are now historical artifacts, to be examined, admired and cataloged by those who take stock of bygone days. The items are...

By Terri Rupar | July 30, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Executive Compensation

It's Monday, the day when the newspaper focuses on local business. *Our annual executive compensation issue looks at who got what in an economic downturn. Although most financial firms saw their stocks wither, the industry's top executives continue to be among the best paid in the region. And while financial...

By Terri Rupar | July 28, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Housing Bill Set to Pass

*The House easily approved legislation that seeks to slow the steepest slide in house prices in a generation, rescue hundreds of thousands of homeowners at risk of foreclosure and reassure global markets that mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will not be allowed to fail. The Senate plans to...

By Terri Rupar | July 24, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Cleaner Carts And A Tysons B-Day

Jason Kirsch puts some carts through the newly installed washing machine for carts.(Katherine Frey -- The Washington Post) *Jason and Kevin Kirsch know how common it is for the youngest customers at Chevy Chase Supermarket on Connecticut Avenue to treat cart handles like lollipops. Worse, they know how unnerved...

By Terri Rupar | July 23, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Washington's Mad Men & Women

Washington's mad men and women (By Kevin Clark - The Washington Post) *Ah, early 1960s corporate America. Sharp suits with pocket squares. Brylcreem. Smoking in the office, a decanter of good Scotch on every executive's sideboard and multi-martini lunches. A great time to be alive. Assuming you were a...

By Terri Rupar | July 21, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Capital One Warns of More Defaults

*Capital One said profit in the second quarter fell by 40 percent and warned that more customers are defaulting on their loans. The McLean financial giant, which in recent years has diversified operations by adding retail banking and auto lending services, blamed the economic downturn for the rise in defaults...

By Terri Rupar | July 18, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Can't We All Just Get A Latte?

Murky Coffee owner Nicholas Cho, left, defended barista David Flynn in a letter on the store's Web site after a customer blasted Flynn, in person and in a blog, for balking at an order for a triple espresso on ice. The request violated company policy. (By Joe Heim --...

By Terri Rupar | July 17, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Skepticism on Aid for Fannie, Freddie

*Some lawmakers expressed doubts about the wisdom of the federal government's plan to prop up mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with one Republican senator complaining it was tantamount to writing a "blank check" to save the troubled companies. The often-outspoken Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) railed against the...

By Terri Rupar | July 16, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Unprecedented Plan for Fannie, Freddie

*The federal government unveiled a broad program Sunday evening to bolster Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, extending unprecedented support to the companies and proposing new authority to lend them money and even buy their stock. Scrambling to announce the initiative before the trading week began, federal officials said they would...

By Terri Rupar | July 14, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Fannie and Freddie Continue Their Fall

*Shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continued to plummet Thursday as investors and federal officials contemplated the possibility that the giants of the mortgage business could require a federal bailout. On Capitol Hill, the Treasury secretary offered reassurance that they are still on firm footing, and the Senate moved...

By Terri Rupar | July 11, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: Chevy Chase Closes Mini-Branches

*Chevy Chase Bank is closing 54 mini-branches in Giant Food stores across the Washington region, ending a decade-long initiative to add banking to grocery shoppers' "to do" lists. The closings coincide with the expiration of a 10-year contract that Chevy Chase Bank signed with Giant. The shutdowns will begin next...

By Terri Rupar | July 10, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: An Accidental Breach

*Sometime late last year, an employee of a McLean investment firm decided to trade some music, or maybe a movie, with like-minded users of the online file-sharing network LimeWire while using a company computer. In doing so, he inadvertently exposed the private files of his firm, Wagner Resource Group, to...

By Terri Rupar | July 9, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Jared Lost With Subway. Larry Feldman Won.

It's Monday, so we're all local. Larry Feldman (By Marvin Joseph - The Washington Post) *The cost of food is increasing. A slumping economy is forcing Americans to eat out less frequently. Home values are dropping. Gasoline is rising. Starbucks is shuttering stores. And Larry Feldman -- the Subway King...

By Terri Rupar | July 7, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Another Biotech Departure

*Edward M. Rudnic, MiddleBrook Pharmaceuticals' chief executive, plans to leave the company he founded in exchange for an outside investment of $100 million. MiddleBrook has been openly searching for a buyer over the past year. In the meantime, it agreed to the investment from Equity Group Investments, founded by Chicago...

By Terri Rupar | July 3, 2008; 09:24 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Blockbuster Drops Circuit City Bid

Circuit City has been under pressure from Mark Wattles, who owns a 6.5 percent stake in the company, to put itself on the auction block. (Marv Bondarowicz - Associated Press) *Blockbuster abandoned its efforts to acquire Richmond-based Circuit City less than two months after the electronics retailer reluctantly agreed...

By Terri Rupar | July 2, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Up and Down: Beyond Financial Stocks

It was a tough week for stocks last week, with the S&P 500 index and our Post-Bloomberg index both falling about 3 percent. Tom Heath covered the falls in some of the area's financial stocks; here are a few more movers. *GSE Systems (GVP) of Baltimore gained 12 percent last...

By Terri Rupar | June 30, 2008; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Preparing for Guests

*Since opening her European-style Chez Hareg bakery in the District's Shaw neighborhood last year, Haregewine Messert, an immigrant from Ethiopia, had neglected the backyard lot behind her shop, allowing it to become overrun with weeds. But this week new gravel is on the ground. Patio tables have been arranged. And...

By Terri Rupar | June 30, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: A Biotech Pioneer Moves On

David Mott had agreed to stay at MedImmune for a year after its acquisition. (Photo Credit: Timothy Jacobsen) * MedImmune chief executive David M. Mott, who led the Gaithersburg biotech through years of rapid expansion and its sale to the British drug giant AstraZeneca, will leave the company at...

By Dan Beyers | June 27, 2008; 07:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Making the World Safe for Chocolate Lovers

*To save chocolate lovers from the agony of a candy bar shortage, McLean candy giant Mars is investing $10 million in a five-year project to develop cacao trees that fight drought, disease and poor harvests. Mars is to announce today that it is partnering with IBM and the Department of...

By Terri Rupar | June 26, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Suing CareFirst

*The D.C. government launched a subpoena-powered investigation of CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield and a lawsuit that asserts the nonprofit organization is obligated to donate millions to the community. For a decade, authorities in the District and Maryland have criticized CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield for hoarding its annual surpluses despite its federal...

By Terri Rupar | June 25, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Surviving Near Wal-Mart

*Wal-Mart opened its store in Landover Hills in Prince George's County -- the first inside the Beltway -- in a storm of controversy last year bred in part by its reputation for running small businesses out of the rural towns and suburbs that for decades were the retailer's breeding ground....

By Terri Rupar | June 23, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: XM Shares Fall on Analyst Report

*Even though a merger between XM and Sirius satellite radio would help reduce costs, investors should sell their stocks because of increased competition from MP3 players and technologies like the iPhone, wrote Goldman Sachs analyst Mark Wienkes. The report sent the companies' shares down - XM fell 17 percent and...

By Terri Rupar | June 20, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Foreclosure Rate

*The Washington region now has one of the fastest-growing foreclosure rates in the nation, as 15,613 homes went into foreclosure in the one-year period ending in February, an analysis to be released today has found. Although communities have felt the effects of the housing crisis for months, the report reveals...

By Terri Rupar | June 19, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: A Manufacturing Plant Leaves DC

Williams Industries worker William Bland helps a crane operator to lift a steel girder. As steel prices rise and demand slows, Williams is relocating a major manufacturing plant to help trim costs. (Williams Industries) * Williams Industries, a Manassas construction firm and steel girder manufacturer, plans to move a...

By Dan Beyers | June 18, 2008; 08:13 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Investing in Biotech

*Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley outlined a strategy to invest $1.1 billion in the state's bioscience industry over the next decade or so, expanding tax credits, bolstering stem cell research and providing new support for start-ups. Several elements of the plan would require legislative approval. The plan includes increasing its biotech...

By Terri Rupar | June 17, 2008; 08:06 AM ET | Comments (10)

Early Briefing: Struggling Eateries And XM News

Today's Monday, the day the Business section goes all local. Luigino owner Carmine Marzano (By Susan Biddle -- The Washington Post) *Food costs are high and diners are staying home or ordering less, shaking up menus and causing chefs to consider, among other things, the merits of foie gras. Carmine...

By Terri Rupar | June 16, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Pearlstein on Power Brokers

* Are Washington power brokers good or bad for the system? Apparently, we can't seem to decide, writes columnist Steven Pearlstein. He calls on the examples of Vernon Jordan and Jim Johnson. *Federal authorities charged a Prince George's couple with running a $35 million mortgage rescue operation that duped lenders...

By Terri Rupar | June 13, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Google Founder in Space?

Google co-founder Sergey Brin, center, trains in zero gravity above Northern California. (By Steve Boxall -- Associated Press) *Sergey Brin, the 34-year-old president of technology for Google, has put down a $5 million deposit for a seat aboard a Russian spacecraft, tourism company Space Adventures of Vienna said. With...

By Terri Rupar | June 12, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Ex-Fannie CEO and the Veepstakes

*Last month, Sen. Barack Obama turned to James A. Johnson, a former Fannie Mae chief executive and Washington insider since the Carter administration, to lead the vetting of potential running mates for the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential nominee. But four years before, as Johnson was angling for a job if...

By Terri Rupar | June 11, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: The Ocean Is Evaporating!

It takes a bold resort town to build an ad campaign around the inevitable fiery end of all life on earth. Ocean City is that town. Staff writer David A. Fahrenthold reports that the Eastern Shore tourist mecca has rolled out "Lost"-like TV, print and Internet spots that appear to...

By Dan Beyers | June 10, 2008; 07:18 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Man In The Middle

On Mondays we turn the Business section over to coverage of the local business community: Long a champion for minority-owned businesses, Ron Adolph is stung by accusations that he hasn't done enough to diversify the contractor base. (By James M. Thresher -- The Washington Post * Ron Adolph's firm, the...

By Dan Beyers | June 9, 2008; 08:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Raising Our Tech IQ

* Columnist Steve Pearlstein lists several projects in the works that could unlock Washington's tech potential. The University of Maryland has snagged an important anchor tenant for its new research campus at College Park: IARPA, which will do for intelligence research what DARPA did for basic research in the defense...

By Dan Beyers | June 6, 2008; 07:32 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: Snyder Buys WTEM

Snyder *Redskins owner Dan Snyder reached a deal to buy three local AM radio stations from Clear Channel Communications, including the area's leading sports-talk station, WTEM. The price wasn't disclosed. Snyder's purchase of WTEM (980), WTNT (570) and WWRC (1260) means his Red Zebra Broadcasting arm will own six...

By Terri Rupar | June 5, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Celebrating A Triple A

* Unfurling 40-foot-long banners from a high balcony of the County Administration Building and accompanied by a high school marching band, Prince George's officials announced Tuesday that the county has been awarded a AAA rating by a Wall Street bond house, an achievement they described as historic for a county...

By Terri Rupar | June 4, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Want to Buy a Lawsuit?

Adam Shapiro, left, president; John Ryan, president of structured settlements; and David Lewis, general counsel, at Stone Street's Bethesda headquarters. (By Sarah L. Voisin -- The Washington Post) *A Bethesda-based firm is entering a high-stakes business in which it buys a portion of the rights to civil lawsuits before...

By Terri Rupar | June 2, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: What Separates Legg Mason and T. Rowe Price

* The headquarters of two leading asset management firms, Legg Mason and T. Rowe Price, stand a block apart on Baltimore's Inner Harbor, but more than a city street divides them. In the most recent quarter, T. Rowe's earnings rose 6 percent as investors, undeterred by falling markets and the...

By Terri Rupar | May 30, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Transforming Tysons

What could Tysons look like? (Davis, Carter, Scott Ltd.) *Remaking Tysons Corner from a car-dominated tangle of offices, malls and auto dealers into a livable city will start moving ahead in the coming weeks. County leaders and landowners are unveiling sweeping proposals to build densely packed high-rises, miles of...

By Terri Rupar | May 29, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Emergent Makes a Buy

*Emergent BioSolutions said it wanted to diversify beyond biodefense, and to that end it is buying Protein Sciences of Meriden, Conn. Protein Sciences makes a next-generation flu vaccine called FluBlok that federal regulators have put on a fast track to approval. Under the terms of the deal, which includes assumption...

By Terri Rupar | May 27, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Liggins Wants Focus on Web

(By Katherine Frey -- The Washington Post) *Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins doesn't want shareholders to focus on the company's stock price or his recent raise at the company's meeting this week. He wants them to look at Web ventures - the key, he thinks, to his media empire's...

By Terri Rupar | May 26, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Booz and Carlyle

*Columnist Steven Pearlstein praises the split-up of Booz Allen Hamilton and the involvement of Carlyle Group. "In Booz, Carlyle has picked up a jewel of a company that offers proven management, steady cash flow and a valuable brand name," the columnist writes. And Booz has found an owner that will...

By Terri Rupar | May 23, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Moving Forward In A Downturn

* The economy may be slogging through a credit crisis, housing prices may be falling, but some folks are still making plans for the future. Catholic University has chosen a developer to turn nearly nine acres across from its Northeast Washington campus into a dense mix of restaurants, shops and...

By Dan Beyers | May 21, 2008; 07:03 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: Vending in Schools

It's Monday, the day the Business section goes all local. As part of the series on obesity in children, we take a look at the vending-machine business. (By Carol Guzy - The Washington Post) *Stephanie McMahan stockpiled Clif Bars, baked pita chips, and rice and corn puffs. With items like...

By Terri Rupar | May 19, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Pain for the Pump Owner

*Like a lot of small-scale entrepreneurs, Cathy Osborne worries that she'll go out of business if fuel prices rise above $4 a gallon. Not because she won't be able to buy gas at that price, but because she won't be able to sell it. The old mechanical gas pumps with...

By Terri Rupar | May 16, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Foreclosures and Freddie Mac

Real estate agents Beth Doman and her son, Joe, show a foreclosed home in Ashburn that originally sold for $1.2 million. It is on the market for $850,000. (By Michael Temchine For The Washington Post) *Once-popular and riskier mortgages, such as adjustable-rate and interest-only, are beginning to take their...

By Terri Rupar | May 15, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: The Post 200

It's Monday, the day that we turn the Business section over to local news. And this Monday, the section is joined by The Post 200, a look at the public and private companies, banks, nonprofits, and law and lobby firms that drive the region's economy. Real estate industry analysts predict...

By Terri Rupar | May 12, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Radio One's Struggles

Getty Images Photo *Radio One said it lost $18.3 million in the first quarter, compared with a profit of $744,000 in the first three months of 2007, hurt by a slump in national advertising. Chief executive Alfred C. Liggins III, left, sought to explain stock sales by him and...

By Terri Rupar | May 9, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: New Chief for General Dynamics

Nicholas Chabraja (Stephen Morton -- Bloomberg News) *Nicholas Chabraja was a somewhat unconventional choice to lead General Dynamics when he assumed the roles of chairman and chief executive in 1997 - he was the company's longtime lawyer, in an industry where engineers and program managers usually rise to become...

By Terri Rupar | May 8, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Sprint-Clearwire

*Sprint Nextel, formerly based in Reston, is expected to announce as early as today a joint venture with Clearwire to build a WiMax network that would cover the country, staff writer Cecilia Kang reports. The venture, expected to be valued around $12 billion, will be backed by a total of...

By Terri Rupar | May 7, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Emergent Buying Anthrax Vaccine

It's Monday, which means the Business section is all local. A worker at Vaxgen (Photos By Thor Swift For The Washington Post) *Emergent BioSolutions of Rockville is spending $2 million on an anthrax vaccine that federal health officials dropped in 2006. It is buying the vaccine from VaxGen of South...

By Terri Rupar | May 5, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: On the Joint Strike Fighter

(By Eric A. Clement -- U.S. Navy) *Lockheed Martin of Bethesda is the lead contractor on the Pentagon's $300 billion Joint Strike Fighter program. A report from the Pentagon's inspector general yesterday said that the technology going into that fighter plane may have been compromised by unauthorized access to...

By Terri Rupar | May 2, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: Celebration Over Dulles Extension

Dinegar *News that the federal government had decided to let the Dulles rail go through pleased business and transportation leaders. "We're all celebrating today," said Eileen Curtis, president of the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce. Jim Dinegar, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Washington Board of Trade,...

By Terri Rupar | May 1, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: What United-US Airways Could Mean Here

(Elaine Thompson - Associated Press) *Northwest and Delta are merging, and Continental spurned United last weekend. So now United and US Airways are talking, a tieup that has been rejected before. A combined United-US Airways would be smaller than Delta-Northwest, but it would handle more than half of departures...

By Terri Rupar | April 30, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: How to Keep Building Homes

It's Monday, which means the Business section is all local. (By Tracy A. Woodward -- The Washington Post) *NVR of Reston is still posting profits in the current housing downturn. It learned its lesson in the last one, when it filed for bankruptcy protection. Now its business plan is based...

By Terri Rupar | April 28, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Private-Federal Competition

*President Bush proposed an initiative in 2001 to force federal employees to compete for their jobs against private contractors. The goal was to decrease costs, even if the work stayed in the government. But critics say this "competitive sourcing" initiative had disappointing results, with morale shaken among civil servants and...

By Terri Rupar | April 25, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: A Different Kind of Bet on Gold

*CytImmune, a Rockville biotech, is betting on nanoparticles of gold to target cancer tumors like a smart bomb, delivering a drug so strong that it has been known to either cause more cancer or shut down the cardiovascular system. Says Lawrence Tamarkin, the company's founder: "No company that I know...

By Terri Rupar | April 24, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Tougher Regulation For Fannie, Freddie?

*Tougher regulation seems to be in the cards for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, after a closed-door meeting last week between senior Treasury officials, the top two members of the Senate Banking Committee and the heads of both mortgage finance companies. It was part of a renewed effort by Treasury...

By Terri Rupar | April 23, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Brokering Power

It's Monday, which means the Business section focuses on what's local. Fred Malek, chairman of Thayer Capital Partners, at his wall of prized photos from years as a power broker. He's known as a man with a gift for winning trust. (By Bill O'Leary -- The Washington Post) *Fred Malek,...

By Terri Rupar | April 21, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Taxi Meters? Not So Fast.

*The District has said all taxis have to have meters by May 1, but thousands of cabs haven't installed them yet. The Fenty administration says drivers face a $1,000 fine every time they're caught picking up rides without meters after the deadline, but the drivers have avoided putting them in...

By Terri Rupar | April 19, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Deal With Ex-Fannie Executives Near

*The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight was preparing to announce a settlement today with former Fannie Mae chairman and chief executive Franklin D. Raines and two other former executives over administrative charges stemming from the company's misstatement of earnings, according to a source familiar with matter. Raines, former chief...

By Terri Rupar | April 18, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Stand Clear of the Doors

(Metro Photo By Larry Levine) *News for your commute: Metro train operators have been told to manually open car doors after a malfunction made doors open on the wrong side four times in the past 100 days, officials said. There were no injuries to passengers. Separately, area transportation officials...

By Terri Rupar | April 17, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Concerns About Freddie

*The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight said it has "significant supervisory concerns" about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. While both mortgage finance companies have been hurt by the problems in the housing market, Freddie's problems run deeper, OFHEO said. Freddie Mac still has some ineffective internal controls, has invested...

By Terri Rupar | April 16, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Outlook Bright for Solar, Wind Energy Firms

It's Monday, so that means we turn the Business section over to local news: *Last week the Senate agreed to approve tax breaks for solar and wind energy as part of a housing bill that's likely to get the House's okay as well. That's good news for firms like Standard...

By Terri Rupar | April 14, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Changes From Sallie

*Sallie Mae of Reston said it would start charging students who apply for federally backed loans and stop offering loans to consolidate student debt, citing the credit markets as a reason for the change. Starting next month, Sallie will charge fees of $35 to a few hundred dollars to apply...

By Terri Rupar | April 12, 2008; 10:43 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Newseum Opening Today

* For many on the local urban planning scene, the Newseum -- which opens today -- represents a finishing touch on the two-decade transformation of the Penn Quarter neighborhood from a vacant corridor to a thriving downtown hub, featuring blocks of trendy restaurants, galleries and condos. "This is one of...

By Mike Shepard | April 11, 2008; 05:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Norovirus, Then Mice

*First, visitors to and employees of Gaylord's National Harbor development got sick with the norovirus. Now, some visitors say they've seen mice in the rooms. Sheldon Suga, general manager of Gaylord National, said that the hotel has hired an "aggressive extermination" company to rid the hotel of mice, which he...

By Terri Rupar | April 10, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Another Deal for HealthExtras

*HealthExtras of Rockville announced a $100 million deal to by HospiScript Services of Alabama, which handles pharmacy services for hospices in 46 states. The deal is the the sixth in eight years for the administrator of prescription benefit-programs. HealthExtras expects the acquisition to push its revenue to about $2.5 billion...

By Terri Rupar | April 9, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Settlement For WR Grace

* Specialty chemical company W.R. Grace agreed to settle outstanding asbestos-related claims with cash, future payments to a victims' trust and 10 million warrants that would allow claimants to buy company stock at a favorable price. The deal, worth about $1.8 billion, would allow W.R. Grace to move forward with...

By Dan Beyers | April 8, 2008; 06:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: The Pope, Local Banks and Hemp

It's Monday, which means we turn the Business section over to local news. A sampling of what's in the section: *There's Pope on a Rope soap, a bobblehead and cologne, as well as T-shirts, commemorative coins and miniature papal flags. These are just some of the souvenirs available in the...

By Terri Rupar | April 7, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Bookstore Troubles

*It used to be the big bookstores vs. the independent bookstores. Now it's all bookstores vs. Amazon.com, Costco and other big-box stores, which offer big discounts on books. "It's only a matter of time before the independents and chains realize they are actually in the battle with them as opposed...

By Terri Rupar | April 5, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Iomai Takes a Step Forward

*Iomai of Gaithersburg got a boost from Merck, which said it would test the drug company's patch that is designed to stimulate a stronger immune-system response to vaccines. The companies didn't say what vaccine they'd use in the testing, to be conducted on animals. See story. * Legislation that would...

By Terri Rupar | April 4, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Second-Best Address Gets Way More Popular

Baseball caps sporting Truman's quip about the hotel are hot sellers. (Photo by Marvin Joseph - The Washington Post *Since the scandal related to then-New York Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer broke, sales at the Mayflower gift shop - where he supposedly met with a prostitute - have been way...

By Terri Rupar | April 3, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Destination DC

*Washington, D.C. Convention & Tourism Corp. is getting a shorter name, Destination D.C., a new ad campaign and a new Web site. washington.org. The $3 million campaign is the District's biggest ever, and ads will run in magazines such as Gourmet and Conde Nast Traveler and in the Washington area,...

By Terri Rupar | April 2, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Grocery Talks Yield Agreement

On Mondays, we turn the Business section over to local news. Here's a sampling of what you'll find in today's Washington Business: * Workers at Giant and Safeway reached a tentative labor agreement with the two grocery store chains over the weekend. Rank-and-file employees are scheduled to vote on the...

By Mike Shepard | March 31, 2008; 07:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Grocery Talks Continue

*Giant and Safeway are still in talks with the United Food and Commercial Workers over a new contract; the old one expires at midnight tonight. The union has been rallying public support, and talks are expected to continue through the weekend. *The D.C. rent administrator has rejected a deal between...

By Terri Rupar | March 29, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: The Lerners and The City

*The Lerners drew on their experience in developing successful malls and office centers in working with the new Nationals stadium. Mark Lerner, son of Bethesda real estate magnate Theodore N. Lerner, who heads the ownership group, said the family's goal was to bring personality to the stadium - and bring...

By Terri Rupar | March 28, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Latinos in Prince William

*The Latino subculture in Prince William County appears to be coming undonet, hurt by the crackdown on illegal immigration and construction downturn. It's hurting the business of local Latino stores and restaurants, as well as other shops such as the 99 Cent Plus in Woodbridge. See story *Maryland Gov. Martin...

By Terri Rupar | March 27, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

Early Briefing: After XM-Sirius, What's Next?

*Columnist Steven Pearlstein is not happy with the Justice Department's approval of the merger between XM and Sirius. He writes: For the past several years, these two companies have been competing so hard for talent, distribution channels and customers that neither has been able to turn a profit, and probably...

By Terri Rupar | March 26, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Region's Venture Capital Growth Lags

On Mondays, we turn the Business pages over to local news. Here's a sample of what you'll find in this morning's Washington Business. *The Washington region has slipped as a destination for venture capital over the past several years, losing ground in the national rankings to faster-growing regions of the...

By Mike Shepard | March 24, 2008; 06:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

Saturday Briefing: Balancing Act

Fruehwirth is one of several consultants in the area who work one-on-one with clients who seek a balance between the demands of career and parenting. (Photo: Sarah L. Voisin -- The Washington Post) *What does Suzanne Cole call the "best money I ever spent"? The $500 she paid Christine...

By Terri Rupar | March 22, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Sandra and Tony Brewer cheer for Georgia, where their son, Troy Brewer, is a freshman guard. (Photo: Kevin Clark -- The Washington Post) *That's my kind of ballgame, anyway: college basketball. Troy Brewer of Georgia got to play, and his father, an executive of Sodexho in Gaithersburg, was there...

By Terri Rupar | March 21, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Lower Bar for Fannie, Freddie

*As expected, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac received permission to decrease the amount of capital they have to hold as a reserve against losses, a step that could help the troubled mortgage market. The two federally chartered finance companies could increase their investment in mortgages by a combined $200 billion,...

By Terri Rupar | March 20, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: A New Day at Sunrise

*Sunrise Senior Living chief executive Paul J. Klaassen is stepping down as chairman, one of several governance changes announced yesterday, two years after the company disclosed accounting irregularities and came under fire for management practices. Sunrise also said Klaassen agreed to pay back his bonuses from 2003 to 2005. He...

By Terri Rupar | March 19, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Goodbye, Produce Galore

Margaret Pendleton, left, says goodbye to longtime customer Evelyn Tanner, who was fond of Produce Galore's soups. The store had offered 400 varieties over the years. (Marvin Joseph/twp - The Washington Post) *The Columbia grocery store was started in 1976 with $1,000 won on a lottery ticket. It sold...

By Terri Rupar | March 15, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Anatomy Of A Collapse

Carlyle Group founders, from left, Daniel D'Aniello, David Rubenstein and William Conway, saw their $500 million deal to save Carlyle Capital collapse. (By Julia Ewan -- The Washington Post) *Staff writer Tom Heath offers an inside glimpse of Carlyle Group's attempt to save Carlyle Capital before the European fund...

By Terri Rupar | March 14, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Mortgage Firm Employees Under Investigation

*The FBI is investigating whether employees of a now-defunct Northern Virginia mortgage company were involved in what several lawsuits allege was a scheme to steal vacant homes by forging deeds, according to people familiar with the probe. The employees worked for 1st American Mortgage of Vienna, which went out of...

By Terri Rupar | March 13, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Up and Down; Freddie, Ciena, USA Mobility

Freddie Mac (FRE) of McLean had made it off our list of top 10 losers for the year two weeks ago, only to get right back on it last week after losing 22 percent of its value. Shares have lost 44 percent over the past three months and 67...

By Terri Rupar | March 10, 2008; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Parenting Inc.

*Enjoy shopping for kids' stuff? Knowledgeable on potty training? Know how to get a baby on a sleep schedule? Maybe there's more in it than you think. Busy, anxious parents are increasingly hiring consultants and other professionals on lactation, childproofing and other topics or pick up products that they don't...

By Terri Rupar | March 8, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: The Troubles Spread

*One part of the mortgage market seemed okay: mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae of the District and Freddie Mac of McLean. But that doesn't seem to be holding up anymore, with supply growing and prices dropping. See story Those dropping prices may hit another local firm. Carlyle Group runs...

By Terri Rupar | March 7, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: NPR Is Staying

*Lured by tax abatements for the next two decades, NPR will stay in the District instead of moving to Silver Spring. It will build a newsroom in NoMa, on North Capitol Street, transforming a warehouse of the former Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co. The tax deal will save NPR...

By Terri Rupar | March 6, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Sick Leave for All, Except for Some

*Legislation passed in the District that would make employers give their workers paid sick leave. There were a couple of amendments added to the measure that made it more palatable for business. New workers have to wait 12 months before becoming eligible, most health-care workers and wait staff are exempt,...

By Terri Rupar | March 5, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Another Departure

*BioVeris, AstraZeneca and Digene were all bought in 2007. And now another change in Maryland's biotech industry: Celera, founded to map the human genome, said it will move its headquarters to Northern California. About 30 employees will remain in Rockville. See story *Maryland sued Constellation Energy in attempt to force...

By Terri Rupar | March 1, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Development at Metro

*Metro's board of directors approved new rules designed to spur development around Metrorail stations. The focus will be not just on raising cash but on increasing transit-oriented residential and commercial development to encourage Metro ridership and reduce automobile traffic. See story *We posted yesterday on earnings reports, but here is...

By Terri Rupar | February 29, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

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...

By Terri Rupar | February 28, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Yelp!

*Yelp.com launched in the Washington area last year, and some local business owners are keeping an eye on users' reviews and responding to them. See story *Legislators and higher-education leaders proposed a $5 million state program to try to make Maryland a hub of biotechnology research through awarding research grants...

By Terri Rupar | February 27, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: The Last Dairy Farm

*Dogwood Farm is Loudoun County's last dairy farm, run by a family who has owned it for generations. In the 1950s, the county had more than 400 dairy farms, but as more people moved into the areas, they left. See story *Dominion Virginia Power said it plans to begin construction...

By Terri Rupar | February 23, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Liquor Licensing at the National Harbor

*A political struggle over a liquor license for the Gaylord resort at National Harbor could end if the Maryland legislature passes a bill that would impose the state's highest annual liquor licensing fee on a retail establishment there: $20,000. See story *Radio One of Lanham recorded a $404 million write-down...

By Terri Rupar | February 22, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Briefing: Kosher In Potomac

Rabbi Joseph Pinto, center, discusses whether or not a condiment is kosher with Martin Chavez, left, and Richard Tassiello. (Katherine Frey/Post) *Pomegranate Bistro in Potomac opened as the region's newest fully certified kosher restaurant, with an in-house inspector recruited, trained and assigned by the Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington.The...

By Terri Rupar | February 21, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Md's Climate Control Rules

*A bill in Maryland that would set up one of the nation's most ambitious sets of controls on carbon dixiode emissions got consideration from the state legislature and endorsement from Gov. Martin O'Malley. But executives worry that the rules would make electricity prices even higher and make the state less...

By Terri Rupar | February 20, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing:

*Mobile-home parks in the Washington area have been replaced by more expensive commercial development over recent years. But a bill in the Maryland legislature would require the county's mobile home park owners to notify residents if they plan to sell, giving residents a chance to make a collective offer to...

By Terri Rupar | February 16, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Georgetown's Bad Call

*Sometimes refs make bad calls, sometimes it's universities. For Georgetown, it was borrowing through auction-rate securities, says columnist Steven Pearlstein. While the school isn't in immediate financial danger, others who used the securities are. See his column here. *"Nanking," a project produced by Ted Leonsis of AOL and Caps fame,...

By Terri Rupar | February 15, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Sprint's Really Leaving

Part of the old Nextel headquarters in Reston. The campus will now shrink some as headquarters decamps for Kansas. (By Tracy A. Woodward -- The Washington Post) *There has been lots of speculation about the dual-headquarters setup of Sprint Nextel since the merger. Yesterday, that came to an end...

By Terri Rupar | February 14, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: The Dulles Rail "Body Blow"

*Columnist Steven Pearlstein sees the decision not to fund the Dulles rail project as an "economic body blow" to the entire region. He criticizes the decision-making criteria and calls for a Plan B. See column *Lockheed Martin of Bethesda won a 10-year, $1 billion contract to develop what is expected...

By Terri Rupar | February 13, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: The 2008 Local Economy Challenge

On Mondays, we turn the Business section over to local news. Here's a sample of what's in today's Washington Business: Illustration by Mark Zingarelli for The Washington Post Making predictions about the region's economy during the past few years was a fairly straightforward exercise: count on steady growth across the...

By Mike Shepard | February 11, 2008; 01:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: Va. Homestead Exemption May Not Happen

*After lobbying by Virginia's business community, a proposal in the state's legislature that would let local governments give homeowners a break of as much as 20 percent on their real estate assessments may not happen. The homestead exemption would shift the tax buden from homeowners to owners of commercial and...

By Terri Rupar | February 9, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: Change at The Post

Katharine Weymouth, niece of Post Co. Chairman Donald E. Graham, has been vice president of advertising. Photo Credit: The Washington Post Photo *The Washington Post Co. is creating a new division that oversees both the newspaper and washingtonpost.com and appointed Katharine Weymouth - granddaughter of Katharine Graham, niece of...

By Terri Rupar | February 8, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Briefing: What's Next for Circuit City?

A sharp drop in the price of flat-panel televisions caused Circuit City to plan sweeping changes. (By Mario Tama -- Getty Images) *Circuit City has cut staff and expenses, and investors are getting antsy. But the Richmond-based chain hopes it can turn it all around with its new, smaller...

By Terri Rupar | February 7, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Gathering Steam For Dulles Rail

*The region's chambers of commerce are mobilizing behind the Dulles rail project, trying to convince federal officials that it's key to the region's economic future. Companies say that too much time is wasted on the road and that it's difficult to attract younger employees. See story Separately, a Federal Transit...

By Terri Rupar | February 6, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Booz Allen Ponders a Split

On Mondays, we turn the Business section over to local news. Here's a sampling of what you'll find in today's Washington Business. *Booz Allen Hamilton is considering whether it should split its government and commercial consulting practices. The McLean firm, which pioneered the concept of Organizational DNA, has been in...

By Mike Shepard | February 4, 2008; 06:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: The Under Armour Ad Blitz

*Investors are worried that Under Armour isn't protecting its profit as the company prepares to launch an ad blitz during the Super Bowl. See story *A law that would change the rules of the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund was introduced. Lawmakers say the rules on the fund, which insures vehicles...

By Terri Rupar | February 2, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: Rah-Rah! The Gaylord Pep Rally

Would your company do this? At the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, Vice President Emily Ellis, center, leads the parade of hotel Stars. (Courtesy Of Gaylord) * Have you chest-bumped your boss today? "Dennis Miller once said, 'If you're 35 years old and you're wearing a plastic tag with your...

By Terri Rupar | February 1, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: CSC Moving Here

*It seems like we've had to talk about companies moving away lately. But yesterday Computer Sciences Corp. said it's officially moving its headquarters from the L.A. area to the D.C. area. Along with that are probably a few hundred employees to add to the 11,000 who are already here. See...

By Terri Rupar | January 31, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: A Look at the Area's Economy

On Mondays, we turn the Business section over to local news. In today's Washington Business, we start by taking a closer look at what might lie ahead for the economy, both locally and nationally. * Different visions of the region's economic outlook could be found in the financial results filed...

By Mike Shepard | January 28, 2008; 05:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Richard Darman

*Richard G. Darman, the budget director under President George H.W. Bush who persuaded him to go back on "no new taxes," died at the age of 64. He was an adviser at the Carlyle Group of the District and chairman of AES of Arlington. See obituary and appreciation *Washingtonians responded...

By Terri Rupar | January 26, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Dulles Extension All but Dead

*Without dramatic changes, the Metro extension to Dulles International Airport won't get $900 million in federal money that it needs. The extension has been promoted by the region's political and business establishments to ease congestion and promote growth in Virginia. See story *Germantown's MiddleBrook Pharmaceuticals and the Maryland biotech industry...

By Terri Rupar | January 25, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Ripples From The Credit Crunch

*On a day that Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley delivered a State of the State address in which he addressed budget issues and measure to stop foreclosure, local companies announced financial results that showed the effects of the credit crunch in the fourth quarter. Sallie Mae of Reston lost $1.64 billion...

By Terri Rupar | January 24, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Another Stadium For Prince George's?

*As the Nationals' stadium prepares to open, Maryland has decided to spend $75,000 on a feasibility study to look at the economic impact and potential tax benefits of building a home for D.C. United in Prince George's County. See story *CoGenesys of Rockville, which was spun off from Human Genome...

By Terri Rupar | January 23, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: A Conversation With Carlyle's Conway

On Mondays, we turn the Business section over to local news. Here's a sampling of what you'll find in this morning's Washington Business: William E. Conway Jr., applying the Carlyle business model, is leveraging his $5 million donation to build hundreds of residences for the homeless in D.C. (By Julia...

By Mike Shepard | January 21, 2008; 06:56 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: State of Maryland Treasury

*In Maryland's first State of the Treasury speech in recent history, state Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) was not cheery. He said recent changes to the state's tax laws could negatively affect an already dire financial outlook coming from factors including the mortgage crisis, instability in financial markets and declining retail...

By Terri Rupar | January 19, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: More Pain at Sallie

*Sallie Mae, hurt by the credit crunch and legislation, is going to lay off about 3 percent of its workforce, or 350 employees. Fourteen of those cuts are coming at its Reston headquarters. See story *Massey Energy of Richmond agreed to pay $20 million largest such fine imposed by the...

By Terri Rupar | January 18, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: English in the Workplace

*Virginia Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II, a Republican from Fairfax County, introduced a proposal that would let a boss fire workers who don't speak English in the workplace. That would make them ineligible for unemployment benefits. "This is the most mean-spirited piece of legislation I have seen in my 30 years...

By Terri Rupar | January 17, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

Early Briefing: Carlyle-Booz?

*Carlyle Group of the District is in talks to buy the government business of McLean's Booz Allen Hamilton, which accounts for most of its employees and about half its revenue. See story. If an agreement is reached, the sale price will likely be around $2 billion, the WSJ reported (subscription...

By Terri Rupar | January 16, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Alma Mater of D.C.'s Business Elite

On Mondays, we turn the Business section over to local news. Here's a sampling of what you'll find in today's Washington Business: From left to right, St. John's College High School alumni Kevin Plank, Raul Fernandez, Joe Robert and Jim Kimsey. (Vicky Pombo - For The Washington Post) There's something...

By Mike Shepard | January 14, 2008; 06:18 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Local Effects

*Things aren't looking good these days, and there were local signs yesterday of the struggling economy. Comstock Homebuilding of Reston was upgraded by an analyst, sending its shares up because, the analyst said the company is now less likely to file for bankruptcy. The upgrade came after Comstock sold some...

By Terri Rupar | January 12, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

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....

By Terri Rupar | January 11, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Shaq and the Oscars

*Shaquille O'Neal's bid for Oasis Winery in Fauquier County was beaten out by one from real estate agent Casey Margenau. But that deal fell through. Could Shaq make a comeback? See the Reliable Source. *Tammy Cheskis from Anne Arundel County will be one of the people giving away swag at...

By Terri Rupar | January 10, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Meet the CEO of Gaylord

Gaylord Entertainment CEO Colin Reed is greeted by Susan Servin at the Gaylord Texan resort. Reed hopes efforts to build customer loyalty will help sustain the National Harbor project, set to open four months from now. (By William Snyder for The Washington Post) *This week, Washington Business takes a...

By Mike Shepard | January 7, 2008; 12:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: A Raise

*Under an order signed by President Bush, 336,000 federal employees in the Washington-Baltimore region will receive a 4.49 percent pay raise this year. The average is 3.5 percent. Our representatives in Congress will make $169,300, up from $165,200. Cabinet secretaries will make $191,300, up from $186,600. The vice president's salary...

By Terri Rupar | January 5, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Pearlstein Doesn't Believe

*Columnist Steven Pearlstein just doesn't believe in a housing recovery. He also doesn't believe that the Washington area economy is recession-proof. See column *Due to the gloomy outlook for the county's finances, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett announced a hiring freeze on the 9,400-person workforce under his jurisdiction. Leggett's chief...

By Terri Rupar | January 4, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Wanna Buy The Brooklyn Bridge?

Private firms increasingly see themselves as part of the solution for governments that are looking to complete or repair billion-dollar public works projects, such as the tunnel under the English Channel, but are facing declining tax revenues and a troubled municipal bond market. (Associated Press) *Carlyle Group of the...

By Terri Rupar | January 3, 2008; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

New Year's Eve Update: What Lies Ahead in 2008

The champagne is being chilled for tonight's toasts. Resolutions are being made for the new year. In Washington Business, we're spending the last day of 2007 by taking a look at what local companies in six key sectors could face over the next twelve months in a climate of...

By Mike Shepard | December 31, 2007; 02:04 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: The Island of Misfit Gifts

*Liquidity Services of the District is one liquidator, a firm that swoops in and rescues truckloads of returned, damaged and unsold merchandise from retailers and resells it to other merchants, who in turn sell it back to consumers. See story *Thousands of office cleaners in the District, Montgomery County and...

By Terri Rupar | December 29, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

*Fannie Mae of the District said the value of its mortgage portfolio fell 15.6 percent in November, to $722 billion from $732.3 billion in October. *Esmark, whose attempt to buy ArcelorMittal's Sparrows Point steel plant for $1.35 billion was terminated this week, said it has found new investors for a...

By Terri Rupar | December 22, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Raines Loses Bid For White House Docs

Investors have accused Franklin D. Raines, former Fannie Mae chairman, of securities fraud. (By Chris Kleponis -- Bloomberg News) *A judge dismissed former Fannie Mae chairman Franklin D. Raines's subpoena of White House records, saying he was not convinced that a search of the records would turn up evidence...

By Terri Rupar | December 21, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

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...

By Terri Rupar | December 20, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Aggressive Hospitality

*"Aggressive hospitality" is how the manager of the Sam's Club in Laurel described his store's approach, as staff writer Ylan Mui learned when she spent a day behind the counter there. See story *Human Genome Sciences of Rockville cleared a significant hurdle when its experimental treatment for anthrax infection, ABthrax,...

By Terri Rupar | December 19, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Local Budget Feeling The Pinch

Here's some of the local business stories that ran in this morning's newspaper: * Local government budgets are feeling the pinch of the housing downturn, which has started to dry up key sources of revenue. Some jurisdictions - including Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince William counties - are already running deficits....

By Mike Shepard | December 16, 2007; 11:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

Real Estate

*Condo buyers are grappling with the declining values of their homes or units becoming rentals. See story *Little River Hills in Fairfax City and Park Station in Gaithersburg are profiled....

By Terri Rupar | December 15, 2007; 02:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Lord's Stock and Job

*Albert Lord sold 1.2 million shares to meet the requirements of his "borrowing arrangements," Sallie Mae said, and added "chief executive" to his current title of executive chairman. See story *In retirement communities including Riderwood in Silver Spring, Nintendo's Wii is a popular activity. See story *At the new Club...

By Terri Rupar | December 15, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: A New Program for Discovery

*Discovery Communications Inc. said it will go public after 25 years as a private company with complex ownership. Details on its future board, ticker symbol and IPO price have yet to be determined. See story *The finance chief of WCI Communities, a struggling Florida home builder with plans to build...

By Terri Rupar | December 14, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Sallie's Legal Action Continues

*Sallie Mae Chairman Albert Lord said his firm suggested to J.C. Flowers & Co., whose earlier deal to buy the student lender collapsed, that it submit another bid and was rebuffed. The company also reduced its earnings outlook for the quarter and all of 2008. See story *The Metropolitan Washington...

By Terri Rupar | December 13, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Lexus Lanes For The Power Grid

*Just as special toll lanes charge drivers a fee to travel at rush hours, electricity customers may soon be paying more when the grid is congested and less when it's not. Pepco is about to experiment with a pilot program to charge certain randomly selected homeowners extra if they want...

By Terri Rupar | December 12, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: RS Information Systems Sold

On Monday's we turn the Business section over to local news. Here's a sample of what you'll find in today's Washington Business. Rodney Hunt grew his RSIS to 1,500 staffers in 15 years. (Photo - Handout) *One of the area's leading African American-owned government contractors has accepted a buyout offer...

By Mike Shepard | December 10, 2007; 05:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: The Education of WaPo

*Chairman Donald Graham is rebranding The Washington Post Co. as an education and media company as its Kaplaneducation unit grows and accounts for more of the company's revenue. See story *McLean start-up Mixx, which runs a news-sharing site, got an investment from the Los Angeles Times Media Group and will...

By Terri Rupar | December 6, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: The Revolution Empire Grows

*What is it with Web sites that like to put CapiTaL letters in their names? Steve Case's Revolution Health Networkof the District has acquired HealthTalk and invested in SparkPeople, expanding its Internet audience to 12 million unique visitors a month, trailing only online giant WebMD in the health space. HealthTalk...

By Terri Rupar | December 5, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: A Woman Grabs The Wheel

On Mondays, we turn the Business section over to local news. Here's a sampling of what you can find inside this morning's Washington Business. Tamara Darvish, 44, began working at the family auto business in 1984. Now she's part-owner of the 26-dealer chain Darcars Automotive Group with her father and...

By Mike Shepard | December 3, 2007; 04:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: A New Big Giant

*A Giant is set to open on Alabama Avenue in Congress Heights on Friday, the only full-service supermarket in Ward 8 in Southeast and the first since a Safeway closed in 1998. It signals a new willingness to invest in the area east of the Anacostia River. See story *No...

By Terri Rupar | December 1, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: The Economy

*The District has a $350 million bond for schools, parks and road scheduled for next month that could be delayed if credit conditions continue to deteriorate. The credit crunch is making it harder to get money from the municipal bonds market, especially for municipalities that don't have the highest credit...

By Terri Rupar | November 29, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Shoring Up Freddie's Reserves

*Freddie Mac plans to shore up its reserves against bad mortgage loans, saying it would sell $6 billion in new stock and cut its $2 annual dividend in half. See story *Most consumers use credit and debit cards while shopping online, but some, concerned about sharing information on the Internet,...

By Terri Rupar | November 28, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

*The Eugene B. Casey Foundation and Maryland highway officials are fighting over the state's decision to seize 405 acres of land for the intercounty connector, and pay the foundation $3.44 million to replace some of it. But the land is seven miles from the highway's planned route, and the foundation...

By Terri Rupar | November 23, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: Happy Thanksgiving

Anita Benton, a personal chef, prepared Thanksgiving meals and baked dozens of desserts for six clients. (By Anita Huslin -- The Washington Post) *Put out your nice, shiny silver. Open a bottle of chardonnay. Enjoy the beautiful turkey, the vegetables, the well-prepared meal. Decorate your table with a floral...

By Terri Rupar | November 22, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Early Briefing: Ready for Travel?

*A Zagat survey says that people prefer flying into and out of BWI and Reagan National airports to using Dulles International. While delays at area airports weren't bad last night, it could get worse today, with thunderstorms predicted in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys. See story *Chevy Chase Bank increased...

By Terri Rupar | November 21, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 11.19.2007: The Music Issue

On Mondays, we turn the Business section over to local news. Here's a sampling of what you'll find in today's Washington Business. Winston Ernst, left, and Hunter Palmer, both 13, back up Sarah Hebert, 17, at Paul Green's School of Rock in Silver Spring. Paul Green runs 34 schools. (By...

By Mike Shepard | November 19, 2007; 04:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Cost-Conscious Colleges

Steve Pearlstein says "the next time you hear a college president explain how its not humanly possible to hold down annual tuition increases without affecting quality or reducing student aid, tell him to call "Brit" Kirwan". (By Dudley M. Brooks -- The Washington Post) *Columnist Steve Pearlstein says the...

By Terri Rupar | November 16, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Backing Local Entrepreneurs

Motley Fool founders Tom Gardner (pictured) and his brother David are part of the team of high-powered advisers joining Launchbox. The Gardners started The Motley Fool, a financial media company, in 1993. But what happened to those ubiquitous Fool's hats they used to wear? *Area notables including AOL's Ted...

By Terri Rupar | November 15, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Dulles Braces For a Pause

On Mondays we turn the Business section over to local news. Today's Washington Business is a special issue focusing on commercial real estate in the area around Washington Dulles International Airport. * The Dulles Corridor has grown in spurts over the past decade, first during the technology boom and more...

By Mike Shepard | November 12, 2007; 02:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

*Fannie Mae of the District said that deterioration in the housing market led to a sixfold increase in its expenses for loan delinquencies and foreclosures during the third quarter. And it just expects it to get worse. But there were two bright spots for Fannie: Its share of mortage-backed securities...

By Terri Rupar | November 10, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Moving A Waffle Shop

Here's some of the local business news that appeared in Friday's paper: The 57-year-old Waffle Shop, with its serpentine counters and chrome accents, opened on 10th Street NW. (Library of Congress photo) * Douglas Jemal is going to build something on the site where the Waffle Shop now stands, across...

By Terri Rupar | November 9, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: ICx Goes Public

Here's some of the local business stories in Thursday's paper: *ICx Technologies of Arlington priced its intial public offering of 5 million shares at $16 a share. Shares are expected to start trading today on the Nasdaq under the symbol "ICXT." The developer of technology solutions for homeland security and...

By Terri Rupar | November 8, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Trex Shares Fall

Here's some of the local business stories in Wednesday's paper: *Shares of Trex, a Winchester company that makes decking and railing products from recycled materials, fell nearly 10 percent after the company raised its estimates of how much it would cost to deal with quality-control problems at one of its...

By Terri Rupar | November 7, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Fannie To Get Back On Track

Here's some of the local business stories in Tuesday's paper: * Fannie Mae is preparing to issue its first quarterly financial reports since an accounting scandal three years ago revealed deep flaws in the systems the company uses to track its earnings. The move could give the company and its...

By Dan Beyers | November 6, 2007; 07:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Real Estate

*One effect of the credit crunch is that buyers actually need down payments. See story *Eastern Market was named one of the 10 "great neighborhoods" of the United States. It's actually a building and not officially a neighborhood, but it's still a focus of Hill life. See story *Laytonsville in...

By Terri Rupar | November 3, 2007; 03:04 PM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

*A regional group of Latino business leaders is launching an ad campaign on CNN this weekend in hopes of countering anti-illegal-immigrant measures they fear will spread throughout Virginia. See story *Local filmmakers Annabel Park and Eric Byler post footage on YouTube nearly every day related to the immigration debate, offering...

By Terri Rupar | November 3, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Convention Center Hotel Clears Hurdle

Here's some of the local business stories in Friday's paper: *A headquarters hotel for the Washington Convention Center can move forward after the District acquired a 60,000-square-foot parcel from Kingdon Gould III in exchange for a similar-sized plot a few blocks away. See story. *Mayor Adrian M. Fenty announced a...

By Terri Rupar | November 2, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Urban Trust Comes To Wal-Mart

Here's some of the local business stories in Thursday's newspaper: *Robert L. Johnson's first Urban Trust branch in a Wal-Mart officially opened yesterday in suburban Landover Hills. See story. *A fight that began over a union member's objection to a new development that would include a nonunion Wegmans grocery store...

By Terri Rupar | November 1, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing: Flexcar and Zipcar Merge

*Zipcar and Flexcar, owned by Steve Case's Revolution LLC, the country's two major car-sharing companies, plan to merge. See story *Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor and director of The Washington Post Co., testified via video at the hearing of former Freddie Mac chief executive Leland Brendsel. See story. *The Federal...

By Terri Rupar | October 31, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 10.29.2007

On Mondays, we turn the Business section over to local news. Here's a sampling of the stories you'll find in today's Washington Business: * Bill Marriott's youngest son has raised his profile at the family's hotel company with a remake of its sales operations. The moves by David Marriott have...

By Mike Shepard | October 29, 2007; 02:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

*Though Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been arguing that they should be granted authority to buy more mortgages to help ease a credit crunch, both companies reduced their mortgage-related investments in September, widening the gap between their holdings and the limits on those holdings. See story *Unemployment in Northern...

By Terri Rupar | October 27, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

Here's some of the local business stories in Friday's paper: *A hundred of Giant Food's 185 stores in the District, Maryland, Virginia and Delaware are slated for renovation over the next three years, the largest investment in the chain since it was acquired by the Dutch company Royal Ahold nearly...

By Terri Rupar | October 26, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

Here's some of the local business stories that appeared in Thursday's paper: *There's a crackdown on vans that food is sold from, called vendadores by their Latino customers, in Prince George's County. Some owners are trying to differentiate from older vendors who try to abide by rules and newer ones...

By Terri Rupar | October 25, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

*Williams Industries swung to a loss for fiscal 2007 and posted a warning: "Williams Industries continues to face a liquidity and business crisis," it said in an SEC filing yesterday. "The company faces numerous business, financial and legal risks, and its auditors have expressed substantial doubt about its ability to...

By Terri Rupar | October 24, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 10.22.2007

On Mondays, we turn the Business section over to local news. Here's a sampling of what can be found in today's Washington Business. CEO Randy Falco is trying to make AOL into a global Internet advertising firm that can compete with Yahoo and Google.(By Helayne Seidman For The Washington Post)...

By Mike Shepard | October 22, 2007; 02:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

*A developer wants to buy all 60 houses in the Sacks neighborhood of Bethesda, off Wisconsin Avenue, and redevelop the property. The plan could make millionaires out of the residents, but officials and residents aren't sold. See story *Sprint Nextel's interim chief executive, Paul Saleh, says he has been working...

By Terri Rupar | October 19, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

*In Federal Diary, Stephen Barr breaks down what the cost-of-living increase means to federal retirees. *Mayor Fenty has flagged down a meter system, ready to abandon the zone system for taxis in the District. See story *U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett struck down a Maryland law that barred companies...

By Terri Rupar | October 18, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

*Sunrise Senior Living chief executive Paul Klaassen let slip that just two of the company's nine board members are on a committee looking at allegations of financial misconduct. See story. *AOL employees got information on their severance packages yesterday. See story A rendering of law firm Mayer Brown's new Washington...

By Terri Rupar | October 17, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

*Rumors circulate around Sprint Nextel headquarters of the possibility of everything moving to Kansas. See story *Comstock Homebuilding of Reston said it sold 81 houses in the third quarter but 78 sales were cancelled, a net of just three sales in three months. *It's fall, and watermen are arguing for...

By Terri Rupar | October 13, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

*J. Christopher Flowers, who led the bid to buy Sallie Mae of Reston, has a history of successful dealmaking. The bidders have lowered what they say they'll pay for the student lender, but Chariman Albert Lord says that's unacceptable. *InPhonic of the District, named the fastest-growing U.S. company by the...

By Terri Rupar | October 12, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

*Leland Brendsel, the former chief executive of Freddie Mac of McLean, will be in court Monday for a trial-like proceeding dealing with the company's accounting manipulation. See story *A congressional panel criticized the Federal Aviation Administration for its oversight of a contract held by Lockheed Martin under which the Bethesda-based...

By Terri Rupar | October 11, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

*Economic and legal factors are contributing to day laborers' difficulty in finding work. See story. Meawhile, a work stoppage called for Prince William on Tuesday appeared to have limited impact. See story. *Company filings indicates that former Sprint Nextel chief Gary Forsee could receive a severance package worth $54 million....

By Terri Rupar | October 10, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

*Nationally, employment rose by 110,000 jobs in September; figures from August were revised from a loss of 4,000 jobs to a gain of 89,000. Health-care and professional and technical services jobs gained; we talk to a day-care provider in Woodbridge and an Internet security firm in Bowie. See story The...

By Terri Rupar | October 6, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

* Sprint Nextel of Reston may be searching for a new chief executive. The Wall Street Journal says (registration required) the hunt is on, and analysts say they're seeing investor discontent. See story * Government workers, look around your offices. Some of your co-workers may be engaged in the ritual...

By Terri Rupar | October 5, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

* Employment in the Washington area increased, with the unemployment rate falling to 3 percent in August. That's the lowest of any metro area in the country. See story * CitiMortgage, a unit of Citigroup, plans to say today that it has set aside funding for mortgages to Washington area...

By Terri Rupar | October 4, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

* The Department of Energy declared that energy companies that operate in much of the Mid-Atlantic, including most of the Washington area, will be able to submit power-transmission expansion plans to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission if they don't get what they want from state and local government. See story...

By Terri Rupar | October 3, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 10.01.2007

Here are a few stories from Monday's Washington Business section: Prince William's efforts to build a high-tech business hub have met with mixed results. See story. In a few short years, Dyscern has gone from basement-startup to eBay success story, with $12 million in projected sales. But the Sterling online...

By Mike Shepard | September 30, 2007; 11:36 PM ET | Comments (0)

In Sunday's Paper

There's more in Sunday's Mega Real Estate section, including information on how you pick a house and a neighborhood - or vice versa. See story Washington's coal plants and traffic mean that its "pollution footprint" is out of proportion to its size. See story Hundreds of families living in housing...

By Terri Rupar | September 30, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

The Federal Housing Administration is going to stop programs that allow home sellers to give money to charities - including AmeriDream in Gaithersburg - that assist buyers with their down payments. The programs have been accused of driving up home prices. See story Sunrise Senior Living said yesterday that a...

By Terri Rupar | September 29, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

Sidney Harman talked to analysts on a conference call yesterday, almost a week after the buyout deal for his company, District-based Harman, fell apart. Separately, Sallie Mae share gained, indicating that people might think that a new deal is possible. See story Montgomery County's planning board stuck to a proposal...

By Terri Rupar | September 28, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

* Leesburg Executive Airport is living up to its name, attracting lots of executives who like the location and ease of travel. See story * The median price of a new home in Montgomery County has surpassed $1 million. It's $1,133,029, to be exact. Builders began putting up bigger houses...

By Terri Rupar | September 27, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

Here's the news in Wednesday's paper: Thomas F. "Mack" McLarty, left, and Robert L. Johnson plan to add 20 dealerships to their automotive retailing partnership over two to five years. (By Linda Davidson -- The Washington Post) * Washington billionaire Robert Johnson is buying a majority stake in a group...

By Dan Beyers | September 26, 2007; 05:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 09.24.07

Here are some of the stories in today's Washington Business section: * The District says it needs a large hotel adjacent to city's convention center to attract more conferences, and plans to build one recently were put back on track. But people who attended this fall's first major convention say...

By Mike Shepard | September 24, 2007; 02:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

Marriott agreed to put a smaller hotel, with about 1,150 rooms, at the new convention center, under an agreement the company made with the mayor and the Convention Center Authority. See story Discovery Communications moved closer to going public, with its main shareholder discussing buying the 34 percent stake of...

By Terri Rupar | September 22, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

* The AMC Loews Dupont 5 will screen its last show Jan. 13, reflecting the difficulty that smaller theaters face. See story * A federal appeals court reinstated conspiracy and environmental charges against W.R. Grace of Columbia related to an asbestos-laden mine in Libby, Mont. * Orbital Sciences is expanding...

By Terri Rupar | September 21, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

* MedImmune of Gaithersburg, owned by AstraZeneca, won FDA approval of its nasal vaccine FluMist for children ages 2 to 5. See story FluMist manufacturer MedImmune plans to produce about 4.5 million FluMist doses this flu season. (By Chris Gardner -- Associated Press) * About 150 members of the Service...

By Terri Rupar | September 20, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

* AOL is moving to New York to be closer to advertisers. But it may be difficult to capture much of the online-ad market. See story * Carlyle Group plans to announce the hiring of its first in-house lobbyist: David M. Marchick from Covington & Burling. See story * The...

By Terri Rupar | September 19, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

Monday Briefing 09.17.07

Former Fannie Mae chief executive Franklin D. Raines is seeking to broaden his defense against shareholder lawsuits by issuing subpoenas to the White House and the mortgage finance giant's regulator. See story. Loudoun County is seeking to shed the perception that it's a place best left to families with children....

By Mike Shepard | September 17, 2007; 12:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

Herndon closed down its day-laborer center. Dozens of workers walked about a mile and a half away to a path next to a park to look for work. The depressed housing market is leading to lower sales tax revenues for Maryland. See story U.S. commercial lender CapitalSource of Chevy Chase...

By Terri Rupar | September 15, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. proposed the largest fare increases in agency history - and moments later, Metro's board of directors blocked discussion of the proposal. See story Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is considering proposing a cut in state property taxes and an expansion of a tax credit...

By Terri Rupar | September 14, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

Freddie Mac is asking a bankruptcy court to order the transfer of paperwork for 4,457 mortgages from American Home Mortgage Investment, which is in bankruptcy protection. See the story. The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to end funding for General Dynamics to build a second prototype littoral combat ship. Under the...

By Terri Rupar | September 13, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

The credit crunch could be having an effect on two local deals. The deal to build a hotel across from the D.C. Convention Center might not happen because of timing - interest rate and construction costs are up, and the hotel boom may be slowing. See story And columnist Steven...

By Terri Rupar | September 12, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Sunday Paper

In the Sunday Business section, we look at where some restaurateurs are turning for funding to help open an eatery: their customers. See story Michelle Singletary looks into mortgage originators and some practices that have been used in the Washington area. See column Elizabeth Razzi welcomes Volkswagen to the area...

By Terri Rupar | September 9, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

BearingPoint, the McLean -based management and technology consulting firm, said it has filed its 2007 first-quarter financial results, bringing the company one step closer to being up-to-date in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. For more than a year, the company has not filed its financial results on...

By Terri Rupar | September 8, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 09.07.07

The percentage of mortgages entering foreclosure rose to a record level in the three months ended June 30, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. But in Maryland, Virginia and the District, foreclosure starts have been significantly lower than the national average. See story Virginia joined Maryland in blocking Metro Dream...

By Terri Rupar | September 7, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 09.06.07

* A judge ruled in favor of Kenneth Michael in a suit in which his business partner accused him of breach of contract. The partners had agreed that Gary Murray would get a 20-acre piece of a 381-acre development in Bowie, but Michael said he couldn't determine where the track...

By Terri Rupar | September 6, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 09.05.07

* Columnist Steve Pearlstein looks at Carlyle's struggle to set up an hedge fund and take it public in the European market. "Suddenly," he writes, "instead of scouring the world for promising but undiscovered companies to buy and retool -- its core business -- Carlyle found itself scouring the world...

By Terri Rupar | September 5, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Early Briefing 09.04.07

It's hard to get back to work after a glorious weekend like we just enjoyed, but we'll try. The Watergate Hotel is to sell everything to prepare for face-lift. (Gerald Martineau - The Washington Post) * The Watergate Hotel has long been more of a famous name than a five-star...

By Dan Beyers | September 4, 2007; 06:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

In the Sunday Paper

There are plenty of ways to avoid foreclosure, but it's up to the homeowner to figure it out. The Sunday Business section has some strategies. See story Census figures confirmed it: We're smart. William Frey from Brookings says the Washington region is the "egghead capital," and the numbers show median...

By Terri Rupar | September 2, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 09.01.07

Here's how we kick off the long weekend: Sen. Charles Schumer said that Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson expressed interesting in letting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac exceed mortgage-portfolio limits. A Treasury spokeswoman said the department believes that lifting the caps isn't the solution though Paulson "is interested in hearing all...

By Terri Rupar | September 1, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 08.31.07

Lockheed Martin did not win a contract worth up to $1.8 billion to build the next air-traffic control system; that honor went to ITT of White Plains, N.Y. (It does have operations in the area.) Speculation is that Lockheed may have been hurt by troubles with the Deepwater program. See...

By Terri Rupar | August 31, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 08.30.07

Education technology is hot in the Washington area, with companies including Blackboard, Defywire, Learning Objects and Regent Education in the field. See story Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke lined up on the side of the Bush administration, saying he doesn't think that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac need looser regulatory constraints....

By Terri Rupar | August 30, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 08.29.07

Annual census figures say Maryland is now the richest state, with a median household income of $65,144. (Anyone know how the rankings change if you go by mean household income instead?) And Washington is second among metropolitan areas, with Fairfax, Loudoun, Howard, Montgomery and Prince William counties ranking high in...

By Terri Rupar | August 29, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

In the Sunday Paper

Elizabeth Razzi's Local Address column examines the effects of the credit crunch on different parts of the Washington area. See column The ease of selling them on Craigslist has made stealing bikes more attractive, bike owners say. See story A class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of homeowners against Joy...

By Terri Rupar | August 26, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing

NVR's mortgage unit struck a borrowing agreement that keeps it from using a line of credit to make riskier home loans, such as subprime, Alt-A and piggyback. NVR of Reston is the largest builder in the region. See story Business improvement districts in Mount Vernon Triangle and Adams Morgan are...

By Terri Rupar | August 25, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 08.24.07

Carlyle Group of the District, its private-equity partners and Home Depot appeared to still be negotiating over a deal for HD Supply. The official deadline was extended last week to Thursday night. The deal could go through at the original $10.3 billion price, Home Depot could accept less for its...

By Terri Rupar | August 24, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 08.23.07

* Columnist Marc Fisher questions whether the economic development expected around the new stadium for the Nationals (who did not lose by 27 runs last night) is as sure as some people think. See column * Former Fannie Mae chief executive Franklin D. Raines asked a judge to find the...

By Terri Rupar | August 23, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 08.22.07

It's mortgages and the defense industry today. Carlyle Group of the District agreed to loan as much as $100 million to a credit affiliate, Carlyle Capital, which borrows money to make bets on AAA-rated mortgage securities. See story. Steven Pearlstein talks about McLean-based Capital One closing its mortgage unit and...

By Terri Rupar | August 22, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Saturday Briefing 08.18.07

Democrats pressed their case for lifting caps on District-based Fannie Mae and McLean-based Freddie Mac, arguing they should be allowed to buy up more mortgages. See story SEC Chairman Christopher Cox and a D.C. lobbyist were among those whose vacations were cut short due to the turmoil in the markets....

By Terri Rupar | August 18, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 08.17.07

As the company discussed its belated earnings, Fannie Mae predicted that housing prices will decline by 2 percent on average this year and by 4 percent next year. See story * Washington investment firm Key West Partners buys Duvinage of Hagerstown, the nation's oldest maker of steel spiral staircases. *...

By Terri Rupar | August 17, 2007; 12:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 08.15.07

Developers are backing out of local condo developments, leaving some buyers in the lurch. See story Latino business owners in Prince William are seeing the effects of the county's crackdown on illegal immigration. See story Local payday lenders have launched an ad campaign designed to persuade the D.C. Council to...

By Terri Rupar | August 15, 2007; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 08.10.07

Local firms felt jitters from the trouble in the credit markets, but Frederic V. Malek, founder of Thayer Capital, said Washington is more insulated than other financial centers. See story David M. Mott, chief executive of Gaithersburg-based MedImmune, discussed the reasons behind selling the biotechnology company. See story Applera, the...

By Terri Rupar | August 10, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 08.09.07

In a conversation on economic issues, President Bush dismissed proposals to loosen restrictions on District-based Fannie Mae and McLean-based Freddie Mac. See story The Coast Guard increased the estimate for the cost of two ships that are part of the Deepwater program by $255 million. Lockheed Martin of Bethesda and...

By Terri Rupar | August 9, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 08.08.07

The troubles in the mortgage market may present opportunities for District-based Fannie Mae and McLean-based Freddie Mac, which are calling on regulators to loosen restrictions on them. And Steven Pearlstein thinks regulators should heed those calls. See column Capital One of McLean said it will buy NetSpend Holdings, a retail...

By Terri Rupar | August 8, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief 08.07.07

Shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac jumped yesterday as the stock market recorded its biggest one-day gain in more than four years. Investors were betting that regulators may soon ease investment restrictions on the government-chartered mortgage companies. See story Venture capital investment in Washington-area companies slowed during the second...

By Mike Shepard | August 7, 2007; 10:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 08.03.07

The new venture from Steve Case, founder of Dulles-based AOL, is building an environmentally friendly resort in Costa Rica. Revolution Places is a unit of Revolution LLC of the District. See story The Sparrows Point steel plant east of Baltimore will be bought by a venture of Esmark, an Illinois-based...

By Terri Rupar | August 3, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 08.02.07

Time Warner released its quarterly earnings yesterday, and with it news that Dulles-based AOL continued to lose subscribers and that its advertising growth slowed. See story In other earnings news, Dominion Resources of Richmond's second-quarter earnings were hurt by costs related to the sale of oil and natural-gas assets. It...

By Terri Rupar | August 2, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 08.01.07

A federal judge dismissed some charges against current and former members of Fannie Mae's board. See story The Montgomery County Council repealed an increase in parking fees. The repeal was proposed because businesses said they would be unfairly affected. See story Local farmers are worried about the effects of the...

By Terri Rupar | August 1, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief 07.31.2007

Constellation Energy of Baltimore files plans to build nuclear plant, the first such petition in the United States in three decades. See story Comcast subscribers in Montgomery have been warned about an upcoming change to their cable agreements that limits their rights to take legal action against the cable provider....

By Mike Shepard | July 31, 2007; 10:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 07.27.07

District-based XM's second-quarter loss narrowed, and it added subscribers, finishing the period with 8.25 million of them. XM said its loss was $175.7 million (57 cents a share), compared with a loss of $231.7 million (87 cents) in the second quarter last year. Revenue rose to $277 million from $228...

By Terri Rupar | July 27, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Brief 07.25.07

The lazy days of summer may be here but that hasn't stopped the deal making. Here's some of the local business stories in today's paper: * A Silver Spring company announced plans to build a $400 million natural gas-fired power plant in Charles County, big enough to supply electricity to...

By Dan Beyers | July 25, 2007; 06:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 7.24.07

Mel Karmazin said that a merged Sirius and XM, based in the District, would offer an a la carte pricing plan. Opponents have said the deal would lead to higher prices. See story Sam Diaz blogged on the topic over at Post I.T. See entry Alumni of Carlyle Group of...

By Terri Rupar | July 24, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Briefing 07.25.07

XM of the District and Sirius, the two satellite radio companies, may not be big players in the media world. But their desire to merge is bringing out some big bucks. See story AOL of Dulles, as part of its push into the online advertising world, agreed to buy Tacoda,...

By Terri Rupar | July 24, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Brief 07.23.07

It's WashBiz Monday. Here's some of the local business stories in today's paper. * Creative Class guru Richard Florida has left George Mason U. * Leasing by defense-related companies shows signs of slowing. * Choice Hotels makes PETA's list of animal-friendly companies. * Not all temporary workers from other countries...

By Dan Beyers | July 23, 2007; 06:16 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief 07.20.07

Small business in the District are struggling to keep up with a sharp rise in property taxes, and some business owners are wondering whether they can afford to keep their doors open. See story Columnist Steven Pearlstein looks at the region's challenge in finding enough affordable housing to accomodate an...

By Mike Shepard | July 20, 2007; 10:25 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief 07.19.07

Efforts by a Prince George's businessman to buy Greater Southeast Community Hospital have collapsed, and the struggling District facility's parent company is reassessing how it will search for a new owner. See story. Gannett's first quarter profit jumped 18 percent, but most of those gains were fueled by the McLean...

By Mike Shepard | July 19, 2007; 10:11 AM ET | Comments (0)

Early Brief 07.19.07

Bloomberg reports that Lockheed Martin is exploring potential tie-ups with Indian companies as it prepares a bid to sell fighter jets to the government. Customers of SunRocket of Vienna were struggling with their sudden lack of service. See more...

By Terri Rupar | July 19, 2007; 05:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief 07.16.07

Find out what the region's highest-paid coporate executives made in 2006 in The Washington Post's annual executive compensation survey. The Post's research was drawn from publicly available data filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This year, new compensation disclosure rules are helping shine a light on previously obscure executive...

By Mike Shepard | July 16, 2007; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief 07.14.07

It's easier than ever for house hunters to find detailed information about a neighborhood, including schools, crime and traffic, and much of the research can be done online. See story. Finding a bargain among the growing pool of foreclosures can take a lot of legwork, and may not yield the...

By Mike Shepard | July 14, 2007; 09:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Brief 07.13.07

Yesterday saw the stock market reach new heights. What will today's trading bring? * Marriott International reprorted an 11 percent increase in first-quarter profit, but its shares fell by 3 percent as the Bethesda hotel operator reduced its forecast for a key measure of revenue. See story * Federal prosecutors...

By Mike Shepard | July 13, 2007; 10:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Brief 07.12.07

Here are some of the local business stories in today's paper: * A ceremony was held yesterday to mark the placement of the last of 3,500 steel beams at the Washington Nationals' new stadium. But an afternoon thunderstorm delayed by a day the place of the final beam, which was...

By Mike Shepard | July 12, 2007; 09:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Brief 07.11.07

Thought of the day: Don't get caught outside when the sky starts rumbling. Or maybe: It never hurts to have another shirt handy in the office closet. Here's some of the local business stories in today's paper. * AOL investors should soon receive the proceeds of the Dulles company's multi-billion...

By Dan Beyers | July 11, 2007; 06:09 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Brief 07.10.07

Here's some of the local business stories in today's paper: * Capital One shakes up its banking division; former chief executive of North Fork Bancorp departs McLean company. * Corporate Advisory Board of Washington invests in a provider of online salary data. * Laureate Education investors approve plan to take...

By Dan Beyers | July 10, 2007; 05:36 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Brief 07.09.07

It's WashBiz Monday. Here's some of the local business stories in today's paper: * Former FCC chairman Reed Hundt pitches a new telecommunications company that would allow build a national network open to all mobile phones and other devices. Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt (By Susan Goldman -- Bloomberg News)...

By Dan Beyers | July 9, 2007; 05:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Brief 07.08.07

Here's some of the local business stories in today's paper: * It's time for the quarterly investment review in the Sunday Business section. Included in the coverage is the thoughts of Robert Smith, portfolio manager of T. Rowe Price Growth Stock Fund, who sees opportunities in large cap stocks and...

By Dan Beyers | July 8, 2007; 05:47 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Brief 07.07.07

Good morning and welcome to 7-7-7, that's got to be lucky, right? It better be after a week that felt like, as one of our colleagues put it, two Mondays and two Fridays sandwiched around a holiday. Here's some of the local business news bits in today's paper: * People...

By Dan Beyers | July 7, 2007; 05:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Brief 07.06.07

Here's some of the local business stories in today's paper: * Former Fannie Mae chairman Franklin Raines sues federal regulators to release his stock award. Former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines * Area accounting firms woo number-crunching graduates with trips, parties and offers. * Hotel stocks soar as investors bet...

By Dan Beyers | July 6, 2007; 06:26 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Brief 07.05.07

Here's some of the local business stories in today's paper. * Reeves Restaurant and Bakery, a DC confectionary icon, closes under financial strain. The original Reeves Restaurant and Bakery opened in 1886 on F Street NW. (Craig Herndon -- The Washington Post) * At Red and the Black, a New...

By Dan Beyers | July 5, 2007; 05:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Brief 07.04.07

Happy July 4th everyone. Here's some of the local business stories that appeared in today's paper. * Loudoun supervisors fight Virginia's $400 million roads plan, saying they oppose setting up a special panel to make decisions about levying taxes and imposing fees. The challenge could slow work on the Fairfax...

By Dan Beyers | July 4, 2007; 08:03 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Brief 07.03.07

Here's some of the local business stories in today's paper. * Internet phone upstart SunRocket of Vienna lays off a quarter of its staff. * Carl Icahn increases stake in XO, the Reston telecommunications provider. * Carlyle takes Manor Care private. * Virginia energy giant Dominion exits the oil and...

By Dan Beyers | July 3, 2007; 05:25 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Brief 07.02.07

Mondays are the day when we turn the Business section over to local news. Here's some of the stories in today's paper. * Bladensburg 7-Eleven gets Simpsons makeover. * Investment advisory firm Beaty Haynes agrees to merge with Brown Advisory. * DC gas station is city's first to pump ethanol...

By Dan Beyers | July 2, 2007; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Brief 06.30.07

Here's some of the local stories in the newspaper this morning. * Foreclosures up around the region. Regulators urge more oversight on loans. * Counterfeit toothpaste allegedly found in Arlington dollar store. The toothpaste was labeled as having been made in South Africa but had numerous mispellings such as "SOUTH...

By Dan Beyers | June 30, 2007; 06:57 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Brief 06.29.07

Here's some of the local business stories that appeared in today's paper. *Private equity deals appear to be slowing down after financiers restructure some deals involving US Foodservice and Carlyle. * A federal panel delays a vote on whether to recommend MedImmune's FluMist for children under 5 after concerns were...

By Dan Beyers | June 29, 2007; 06:21 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Brief 06.28.07

Here's a roundup of the local business stories that appear in today's newspaper> *AOL's news sites adopt the look of blogs. *The number of government no-bid contracts soar, prompting calls for more oversight. *As contracting force shrinks, a Booz Allen contract grows. *Are you camping out yet for the iPhone?...

By Dan Beyers | June 28, 2007; 07:43 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Brief 06.27.07

Here's what was in the morning paper. *Sprint to drop the Nextel name from its branding. *Reston's ComScore prices IPO at $16.50 a share *Senators question bonus for Fannie Mae's chief....

By Dan Beyers | June 27, 2007; 07:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Brief 06.26.07

We're trying something here. Here's the local news that appeared in this morning's paper. If you like this summary, let us know and we'll keep doing it. *Radio One reported yesterday that profits for the first quarter were down sharply. *Metro has a story about low-income DC families getting fewer...

By Dan Beyers | June 26, 2007; 07:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

 
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