Capital Buzz: Chloraseptic inventor offers remedy for school


Ryan Villopoto receives the $1 million from Feld Motorsports’ Juliette Feld for winning all three motorcycle races at the Monster Energy Cup. (Chris Tedesco/Courtesy of Feld Entertainment)
October 23, 2011

Robert Schattner, Washington’s very own inventor of ubiquitous sore throat medicine Chloraseptic, is generous.

We uncovered one of Schattner’s recent good works — a $3 million donation-and-challenge gift to the Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital near Military Road in Northwest D.C.

The soft-spoken, self-made businessman’s latest gift will help pay for the acquisition of a second building, on 16th Street NW, about a mile from the school’s current location, also on 16th Street.

Both locations will allow the school to increase its student population by more than 28 percent, from its current 273 to 350 students.

Dentist-turned-businessman-turned-pro-sports-team-owner-turned-stock picker, Schattner donated $1 million as an outright cash gift and made an additional $2 million available for matching other donors’ gifts.

Knowing Schattner has given the school money in the past, we called him when we heard of the “anonymous” gift. He ’fessed up.

“It was with serendipity and luck, in my past, that I am able to support this and other educational causes,” said the octogenarian, who is also responsible for the 70,000-square-foot Robert Schattner Center at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine.

Schattner once owned the now-defunct Virginia Squires of the long-gone American Basketball Association. He also made runs at the Washington Redskins (as part of the John Kent Cooke bidding group), San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Eagles.

Chloraseptic grew out of a cocktail conversation Schattner had during the 1950s, when a guest who had several teeth extracted asked the dentist to recommend an antiseptic.

When he sold the company to Norwich Pharmaceutical years later, Dr. Bob bagged $4 million in cash and 10 percent of Chloraseptic revenue for the next 15 years. He gave his father around $400,000. He gave his brother, Sam, about $1.6 million and Bob kept $2 million.

New Editor named at The National Interest

Robert W. Merry, former president and editor in chief of Congressional Quarterly, has a new job.

The veteran Washington journalist, author and former Wall Street Journal reporter is the new editor at The National Interest, a domestic and foreign policy magazine.

“I wanted to get back into writing and thinking and editing and being a polemical journalist,” said the 65-year-old, who has authored books on President James K. Polk and on American foreign affairs.

Merry, who lives in McLean, was at CQ for 22 years, including three as managing editor, seven as executive editor and 12 years as its chief executive. He left after the publication was acquired by The Economist in 2009.

And his plans for the publication?

“I want to make sure it has a strong realist stamp and identity,” he said.

He succeeds Justine Rosenthal, who left for Newsweek.

The Buzz hears:

Sarah von Pollaro reopened her Urban Petals floral design firm recently after taking a year off to have a baby. Yale-grad Sarah has four employees and works out of Columbia Heights. Clients include The Kennedy Center and National Building Museum. Sarah is married to Sam von Pollaro, co-founder and chief executive of Venga restaurant Web site.

Big day for Arlington-based New Media Strategies, a pioneer in social media marketing founded by Pete Sny der , as the firm debuts its new Web site, www.nms.com, and goes global with a major investment by NMS parent company Meredith and Iris Worldwide. NMS is the largest social media marketing agency in the world, and this makes them bigger.

Risk management

No way. No one can do it. It won’t happen.

That’s what Kenneth Feld’s motor sports brain trust told him about the chances that one person could win all three motorcyle races at Oct. 15’s inaugural Monster Energy Cup at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.

Guess what?

Ryan Villopoto swept all three events, pocketing a cool $1 million from Kenneth’s daughter Juliette Feld of Feld Motor Sports, the event’s promoter and producer.

Kenneth Feld, whose parent Feld Entertainment is based in Tysons Corner, took the enormous payoff in stride.

“It was more expensive than hole-in-one insurance,” he said.

Next year’s show sold a thousand tickets the next day.

Thomas Heath is a local business reporter and columnist, writing about entrepreneurs and various companies big and small in the Washington Metropolitan area. Previously, he wrote about the business of sports for The Post’s sports section for most of a decade.
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