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Not So Fast Slow down, you move too fast. That’s the message being delivered by long-standing monitors of Cuba to the U.S. business community, panting over last week’s developments on the communist island. Cuban dictator Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, 80, fell ill and turned his reign over, albeit temporarily, to his 75-year-old brother, Raul Castro Ruz. But the situation in Cuba remains very fluid, so don’t draw up plans for a Havana Bed Bath & Beyond just yet, notes Jason Poblete, a Cuban-American consultant at the law firm Reed Smith. “To say �premature’ is an understatement,” says Poblete, a former staffer for House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.). “Furthermore, the Cuban government is extremely paranoid and unreliable as far as what is actually taking place on the island. It always has been. Folks must wait and allow this matter to play itself out.” Poblete adds that the only news last week was that, for the first time publicly, Castro had transferred power. “He’s never done this,” Poblete says. “Beyond this, there’s nothing definitive here.” Castro, who has been Cuba’s president for 47 years, transferred power to his brother, as required by the Cuban Constitution, after announcing he had to undergo surgery for intestinal bleeding. Cuban officials have since said Castro is recovering well. — Joe Crea
In His Footsteps? Gregg Levy, a partner at Covington & Burling, was named last month one of five possible candidates to replace Paul Tagliabue as commissioner of the National Football League. The 65-year-old Tagliabue announced his plans to retire in March, after 17 years as commissioner. His successor is expected to be chosen at the NFL’s owners meeting in Chicago, Aug. 7-9. Levy has been the principal outside counsel for the NFL for more than 10 years. He recently scored a victory for the NFL in a suit over eligibility requirements brought by former collegiate running back Maurice Clarett. Just before he was elected NFL commissioner, in 1989, Tagliabue held the same position of NFL outside counsel at the same firm that Levy does now. The candidate favored to win the coveted football job is Roger Goodell, the NFL’s chief operating officer and the only candidate who works directly for the NFL. Levy is one of two candidates who are lawyers; the other three are corporate executives. And no, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who has said the position would be her dream job, is not in the mix. Each candidate will be asked to make a presentation on Aug. 7 before the NFL team owners. When Tagliabue was elected commissioner, the teams were deadlocked for three months before he was finally given the job. To become commissioner, a candidate must get the approval of 22 of the 32 teams. — Ben Sullivan
In Memoriam Jerris Leonard, a seasoned lobbyist and chairman of the Leonard Group, died July 28 at the age of 75. He worked in lobbying and lawmaking for nearly 50 years, most recently serving on the Bush-Cheney transition team for the Justice Department. Leonard also was legal counsel to the American League of Lobbyists from 2002 to 2005 and was a longtime member of the league. ALL President Paul Miller remembers him as a “by-the-book kind of guy” who treated everyone with respect. “He was 40 years my senior and he still addressed me as Mr. President,” Miller recalls. Leonard was a Republican, serving in the Wisconsin Legislature for 12 years, including a stint as the state’s Senate majority leader. He was Wisconsin’s Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in 1968. President Richard Nixon appointed him to the position of assistant attorney general for civil rights in 1969. ALL has posted a tribute to Leonard on its Web site. Miller encourages people to send stories or photos about Leonard for inclusion in the tribute. E-mail items to Patti Jo Beber. Leonard is survived by his wife, Mariellen, and their six adult children. — Marisa McQuilken

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