Judge Postpones Merchant Banker's Sentencing
Monday, August 2, 2004; Page E02
Convicted Washington merchant banker C. Gregory Earls will have to wait until October to learn his sentence.
Earls was convicted in April of diverting $13.8 million in investor money to pay personal expenses. He was to be sentenced Tuesday, but scheduling conflicts forced Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald to postpone sentencing until Oct. 13.
On April 23, a jury convicted Earls on 22 counts of securities, mail and wire fraud. He faces up to 12 years in prison. He plans to begin an appeal after receiving his sentence.
During a month-long trial, prosecutors portrayed Earls as a smooth-talking con man who used his southern charm, social connections and ties to members of Congress, Harvard University and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington to attract investors to U.S. Technologies Inc., a prison-labor-turned-Internet-venture firm that crashed as the technology bubble of the late 1990s burst.
Prosecutors said Earls stole $13.8 million of investor money intended for U.S. Technologies and used it to pay for everything from his daughter's Harvard tuition to jewelry from Tiffany & Co. Earls's investors included prominent Washingtonians such as syndicated columnist George F. Will and Reagan White House counsel C. Boyden Gray.
After his conviction, Earls said, "That's not what I was looking for."
• Journal Newspapers owner Rupert Phillips is selling the Journal's office in Alexandria at 6408 Edsall Rd., said James McDonald, president and publisher of the chain of community newsweeklies. The two-story office building near I-395 is listed for $6 million, said Leo McDermott, senior associate with the Washington office of CB Richard Ellis real estate brokerage.
McDonald became publisher in February after he and a group of investors bought an unspecified stake in the Journal Newspapers. McDonald said it was Phillips's decision to sell the building. Phillips is a partner in Phillips Properties LLC, which owns the property, said McDermott. Phillips did not return calls seeking comment.
McDermott said Phillips is selling the building "to reduce costs, take advantage of the hot real estate market, and pull cash out of an asset that is not producing any cash flow." About 100 Journal employees occupy the building, which the company leases, said McDonald.
• Lockheed Martin of Bethesda said it expects the Housing and Urban Development Department to make a decision by Aug. 13 on a 10-year information technology contract worth $860 million. Lockheed and Electronic Data Systems have been battling over the contract for the past year. Lockheed has informed Maryland officials that if it loses, about 150 employees in its Lanham building could be laid off by Sept. 7.
James Craig, vice president of the Lockheed division that oversees the Maryland facility, said the company hopes to find positions for many of the employees if it loses the contract, but he declined to say how many positions. Lockheed has held the HUD contract for more than a decade. After HUD chose EDS over Lockheed, the Government Accountability Office said the decision was unfair and Lockheed filed a lawsuit. Lockheed employees have been working under three different contract extensions, while HUD reviews the contract.
• Lockheed Martin said the General Services Administration has asked it to explain why it should remain eligible for government contracts, after determining that two contracts under which the company provided interrogators to the military at Guantanamo Bay had been improperly awarded. Lockheed said it has provided the information GSA requested, and that it does not expect to be suspended or debarred. GSA said its review, which began last month, is still pending.
• Greater Washington Board of Trade, a regional chamber of commerce, has a new top lobbyist. Scott Sterling was named vice president of government relations for the group. Sterling handled government affairs for developer Charles E. Smith Residential for 20 years and is a former chairman of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and trustee of the Fairfax County Chamber. Sterling replaces Al Eisenberg, who took the job in 2002 and left earlier this summer. Eisenberg is a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.
• Cineplex Odeon Outer Circle art-house movie theater, which is owned by Loews Cineplex Entertainment, closed its doors July 25. John McCauley, senior vice president of marketing at Loews, said the lease for the theater was up and the company decided to concentrate on its Georgetown cineplex, which opened in 2002. "Given the competition, it's more efficient to have newer complexes that can play a well-rounded product including the art-house films, rather than operating a stand alone house," McCauley said. The Outer Circle theater operated two screens, compared with other area theaters that operate more than 20 screems.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company