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Hasta la Vista After just one year at Akerman Senterfitt, Hispanic-issue lobbyist Jose Fuentes has left to open his own shop, Eastport Strategies. He takes with him the same four clients he brought to Akerman from Reed Smith last year. They are: the Puerto Rico municipalities of Toa Bajaf, Bayamon, and Guaynabo, as well as the American Alliance of Tax Equity, also based in Puerto Rico. He says his decision to leave was based on the sheer amount of work required by his clients, which last year brought in $400,000 to Akerman in consulting, legal, and lobbying fees, according to Fuentes. “You’re expected to have a certain number of minimum billable hours, grow the practice, and get new clients,” says Fuentes, who was Puerto Rico’s attorney general from 1997 to 2000. “But these four clients took up all of my time, and I didn’t want to do that.” Fuentes says he has represented the same clients since 2002 — winning government contracts for them in areas such as transportation and homeland security. Last year, Fuentes says he kept an Army base shared by Bayamon and Guaynabo from being shut down. “The facility is a very important part of the economy for these two municipalities, and I made sure they weren’t included in the closures.” Fuentes, who co-chaired President George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential election committee for Puerto Rico, is well known for his work on Hispanic issues. Bush sought his support for the Supreme Court nominations of John Roberts Jr. and Samuel Alito Jr., and asked Fuentes for his help in saving the failed nomination of Harriet Miers. Fuentes says the GOP’s current crop of presidential hopefuls have already asked for his support. “They’ve all called me,” he says. “I haven’t made a decision yet but I will eventually.” Richard Spees, who heads Akerman’s D.C. office, says he’s sorry to see Fuentes — and the clients — go. “They did bring us a significant amount of money in one year, so yes, we are going to feel it,” Spees says. Fuentes isn’t going far. He’ll work out of Akerman’s D.C. office and says the firm has said it would be ready to help as outside counsel if needed. — Osita Iroegbu
Dealing Dubai Since last year’s Dubai Ports World flap, the atmosphere has gotten tougher for foreign companies looking to do business in the United States amid raised national security concerns. That translates to more work for lobbyists. Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, hoping to seal a $1.8 billion purchase of two aircraft parts companies owned by the Carlyle Group, has hired MWW Group to lobby the U.S. Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment. The purchase of Landmark Aviation and Standard Aero Holdings was announced in early April. The deal is under review by the foreign investment committee, which must approve any foreign acquisition of a U.S. company — a process that normally takes three to four months. To help move that process along, Landmark Aviation has hired a team from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. The Akin Gump lobbyists registered to work on the deal include Joel Jankowsky, Steven Ross, Barney Skladany Jr., and Henry Terhune. They did not return calls. Interestingly, it was Akin Gump that worked on behalf of China National Offshore Oil Corp. in its failed $18.5 billion bid to take over California-based Unocal Corp. in 2005. The firm received plenty of criticism from lawmakers who condemned the firm for aiding an entity owned by a communist country in an effort to acquire a major U.S. oil company. MWW lobbyists William Morley, Tom Mouhsian, Richard Tauberman, and Timothy Yehl are working for Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, which overhauls engines used in small jets. — Osita Iroegbu
Adding Muscle Since convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s bilking of Indian tribe clients came to light, Greenberg Traurig’s Washington operation has struggled to recover. But the firm is looking to put the Jack-attack in the past. Greenberg is beefing up its defense practice, registering five clients in the past month, and is also helping clients vie for coveted military land after the latest round of base closings. The defense bulk-up, led by lobbyists Joseph Corrigan and Christopher Romig, includes signing on FPL Energy, Leewood Real Estate Group, Homeland Security Corp., JTL Capital, and Saab Microwave Systems. “We have created a national defense and homeland security practice, and we will continue to work in that area extensively,” says Corrigan, a retired Army officer with extensive military real estate and construction experience. Greenberg has also added several military heavyweights to back up the big talk. Retired Maj. Gen. John Altenburg Jr., who served as the convening authority in the Guant�namo Bay detainee trials, has returned to the group, and retired Army officer John Einwechter, a former senior legislative counsel for the Army, and Romig, the former chief of the Army Congressional Budget Liaison, have also recently joined up. Goodbye, Abramoff and scandals. Sometimes the best offense is a good defense. — Attila Berry

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