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SMALLER FIRMS OBJECT TO BASEBALL TAX PLAN Mayor Anthony Williams has promised D.C. residents that the city could finance a half-billion dollar ballpark for its new Major League Baseball franchise “without one dime of residents’ money.” But lawyers at small and midsized firms in D.C. will be missing more than a few dimes if the mayor’s current proposal is passed by the D.C. Council. Under the mayor’s plan, 80 percent of the new ballpark would be financed by a new gross-receipts tax on businesses with revenues of more than $4 million. But the city’s biggest businesses would be taxed at a much lower rate than their midsized counterparts. That’s because the so-called ballpark fee tax scale is capped. A $7 billion firm like Pepco would pay exactly the same tax as a business with $30 million in revenue: $48,000 annually. That’s drawn protests from businesses in the $4 million to $30 million range that will feel the worst pinch from the tax. James Schaller, managing director of the 50-lawyer Jackson & Campbell, terms his firm’s $31,000 annual bill under the plan “unfortunate” � particularly since Jackson & Campbell will be paying just $17,000 less than 464-attorney Hogan & Hartson. “I’m a fan of the national pastime,” he says. “But not that big a fan.” Schaller isn’t alone in crying foul. “We’d pay $15,000 to $20,000 a year,” says an administrator for a 30-attorney firm who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “That’s a lot of money. We have no interest in baseball. Who’s it going to benefit?” Among those helped by the mayor’s tax cap are the big businesses run by the partners of the Washington Baseball Club � the Williams-endorsed ownership group considered to have the inside track to purchase the Expos from Major League Baseball. That group could benefit mightily from a publicly financed ballpark and includes Steve Porter of Arnold & Porter (a firm that grosses $299 million a year), Vernon Jordan of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld ($173 million), and Paul Wolff of Williams & Connolly ($169 million). Porter declines to comment on the ballpark proposal, and Jordan did not return a message on the subject, but Wolff is openly critical of the mayor’s plan. “If the small guy’s not happy [but] you don’t hear any of the mega-businesses complaining, it’s a problem,” he says. “As much as I want baseball here, I say to these guys: ‘I feel ya.’ “ The D.C. Council is set to vote on the tax plan Nov. 30, and it’s widely expected to pass. When asked if it was fair that a $300 million business pay the same baseball tax as a firm a tenth its size, Chris Bender, a spokesman for the mayor, responds, “You can’t just tax, tax, tax business all the time whenever you need a new revenue stream.” But, he adds, “We’re open to new proposals.” � Jason McLure GOING TOPLESS Even before the Supreme Court issues its anxiously awaited decisions on the constitutionality of federal sentencing guidelines, the assumption at U.S. Sentencing Commission hearings last week appeared to be that the guidelines are toast. The focus instead was on what will replace them and cure the problem identified in June’s Blakely v. Washington � namely, that under the Sixth Amendment, juries, not judges, should determine the facts that increase sentences beyond guideline maximums. In testimony before the commission Nov. 17, Assistant Attorney General Christopher Wray came close to endorsing what has been described as the “topless guideline” approach. The plan would retain the minimums, but remove the tops of sentencing guideline ranges, replacing them with the statutory maximums for the crime involved. That would give judges more breathing room, but critics say it might result in harsher sentencing. Sentencing Law and Policy blogger Douglas Berman of Ohio State University says numerous legal and constitutional obstacles remain. Berman, who also testified, says, “It was palpable in the room that the Justice Department likes this approach. But it was attacked by nearly everyone else.” � Tony Mauro ON THE MARKET Daniel Troy, chief counsel for the Food and Drug Administration, announced his resignation on Nov. 16. He joined the FDA in 2001 after spending years on the other side fighting FDA regulations as an attorney at Wiley Rein & Fielding and the Washington Legal Foundation. As the FDA’s top lawyer, he sparked controversy by, among other things, actively siding with drug companies in liability suits nationwide and loosening restrictions on drug advertisements. Several weeks ago, Troy said he wanted to return to private practice after he stepped down. Last week, he reiterated that hope, but added, “as to which [firm] I don’t know yet. I am keeping an open mind.” He said that he won’t talk to any firm until after he leaves the FDA on Nov. 28. � Bethany Broida TOP SPOT Early in the morning on Nov. 17, R. Bruce LaBoon, a senior partner in Locke Liddell & Sapp, received a call from an enthralled Harriet Miers, his former co-managing partner who had left the firm in 2000 to work at the White House. Miers was calling, LaBoon says, to give him a heads up that President George W. Bush would announce that day that he was appointing Miers to be the new White House counsel. Miers succeeds fellow Texan Alberto Gonzales, whom Bush recently nominated to become attorney general. “This is going to be a very public position in the administration and there are many, many issues that are going to be important that she is going to have to deal with, including reforming Social Security and judicial appointments,” says LaBoon. Miers, who declines comment through White House spokesman Allen Abney, has held behind-the-scenes posts at the White House, serving as staff secretary and then becoming deputy chief of staff. At Locke Liddell, Miers had advised then-private citizen Bush on business-related legal matters. � Miriam Rozen, Texas Lawyer RIGGS DIRECTORS HIT Problems continue to mount for the directors of Riggs Bank and the bank’s holding company. Late last week, shareholder Freeport Partners filed a class action against the directors for violations of the RICO statute and breach of fiduciary duty. That complaint charged that the defendants “actively used Riggs Bank to facilitate money laundering on behalf of foreign dictator Augusto Pinochet of Chile and various Equatorial Guinea government officials.” Among the defendants: Joseph, Barbara, and Robert Allbritton, members of the family that has controlled Riggs for more than two decades, and Fulbright & Jaworski chairman Steven Pfeiffer and Wilkes Artis partner Charles Camalier, two D.C. lawyers on Riggs’ board. Central to the suit is the sale of Riggs to Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank, announced in July for $766 million. One day before the announcement, a Senate subcommittee released a report detailing a host of questionable transactions at Riggs. The plaintiffs maintain that Riggs would have sold for a substantially higher price had the bank not been engaged in dubious transactions. “We feel very good about the case,” says Adam Savett of Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, who, along with partners Herbert Milstein and Steven Toll, filed the case. An attorney for the directors could not be reached for comment. Riggs is also the subject of two shareholder derivative suits and is the subject of a Justice Department investigation. � Jason McLure BENCHED Last week, President George W. Bush nominated two people to fill judicial vacancies in D.C. courts. On Nov. 16, D.C. Superior Court Judge Noel Kramer was picked for a slot on the nine-judge D.C. Court of Appeals, while D.C. federal prosecutor Jennifer Anderson was named to Superior Court. Both judgeships carry 15-year terms and must be approved by the Senate. Kramer, who currently presides over the Criminal Division, would replace Judge John Steadman, who retired in August. Kramer, 58, has been a Superior Court judge for 20 years. As head of the Criminal Division on the Superior Court, Kramer has overseen the creation of the Community Court � a pilot program intended to match offenders with social service programs in an effort to keep them from returning to the court system. D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Rufus King III says Kramer has the skills to become a good appellate judge. “She’s thoughtful. She researches things carefully,” King says. Anderson, 45, is a deputy chief of the homicide section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. If confirmed, she would fill the spot vacated by Judge Steffen Graae, who stepped down in July. � Tom Schoenberg RETAIL REVIEW Antitrust experts predict the Federal Trade Commission will heed the call of Sens. Michael DeWine (R-Ohio) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), who last week asked the FTC to scrutinize Kmart Holding Corp.‘s $11 billion acquisition of Sears, Roebuck and Co. “Given the size of the deal, I’m sure someone will be assigned to think about it,” says Marc Schildkraut, a D.C. partner at Howrey Simon Arnold & White. An FTC spokesman declined to comment. Kmart has retained Joseph Tringali and Kevin Arquit of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett to handle the antitrust review. Sears has hired David Neill of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. � Jaret Seiberg, The Daily Deal PRODIGAL SON Six years after jumping ship from Howrey Simon Arnold & White, partner Chris Marraro is climbing back aboard. In 1998, Marraro left Howrey, along with partners Richard Wallace and Tony King, to start environmental litigation boutique Wallace King Marraro & Branson. “The entrepreneurial spirit moved us,” Marraro says. But only so far: Though Wallace King grew to 20 attorneys, that wasn’t expansive enough for Marraro. “I’m back looking for a bigger platform,” he says. Marraro isn’t returning to Howrey empty-handed. Along with him comes a passel of business from A-list environmental clients, including Chevron Texaco, WR Grace, and Agip Petroleum. Marraro says his departure isn’t a sign that Wallace King has hit troubled waters. “They’ll be fine,” he says. Ex-partner Wallace agrees. “[Marraro] decided he preferred a bigger firm,” he says. “Our business is booming still.” � Jason McLure CHIEF INSPECTOR Former Department of Health and Human Services acting Inspector General Dara Corrigan joined Arnold & Porter last week as a co-head of the firm’s pharmaceutical and medical device practice. Corrigan took over as the agency’s top watchdog in 2003 after Inspector General Janet Rehnquist left the post. Corrigan, a former assistant U.S. attorney in the District, was passed over for a permanent spot at HHS in the wake of both criticism and praise for her investigation into whether the agency withheld the real costs of the new Medicare prescription drug law from Congress and the public. Corrigan, who says she was drawn to Arnold & Porter for its strong food and drug practice and the “opportunity to learn,” says that investigation and putting the inspector general’s office back in order after Rehnquist’s departure were personal milestones. “It’s an achievement when no matter what is happening politically, you stick to the basics,” Corrigan says. The firm says it is looking to Corrigan to expand its regulatory capabilities, particularly in the medical technology area. � Lily Henning

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