Franklin Raines, Making Big Moves

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Big changes for Franklin Raines. The former chief executive finally closed the book on his controversial stint at Fannie Mae . . . and is selling his house, getting a divorce and has a new girlfriend.

Last week, Raines settled a civil lawsuit with the feds by agreeing to pay $24.7 million, ending more than three years of legal wrangling over accounting shenanigans at Fannie Mae. Raines admitted no wrongdoing; he now sits on the board of Steve Case's Revolution Health company.

He's already moved on in his personal life, too. We've learned that Raines and his wife of more than 25 years, Wendy Farrow Raines, have been separated for more than a year. Beechwoods, the 1910 colonial they shared with their three daughters in Forest Hills -- the site of their huge annual Christmas party -- went on the market last month for $8.25 million. The seven-bedroom, seven-bath property (movie theater, pool and cabana, tennis court) was assessed at $3.2 million last year.

Raines, 59, is dating Denise Grant, a partner at the executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates. The 43-year-old lawyer served with Raines as vice president and assistant to the chairman of the Fannie May Foundation; she also worked in private practice and as counsel to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Raines did not return our calls yesterday; Grant had no comment.

Snow, Bypassing Fox for CNN

Tony Snow is back in broadcasting -- as a conservative commentator for CNN, the network announced yesterday. Why not Fox, where the former White House press secretary spent many happy years? "We talked to a lot of networks, and this was the best fit," he told us from Spokane, Wash., where he was preparing for the latest in a busy schedule of speaking engagements. "I still love Fox, I love the people at Fox, I really love [Fox News prez] Roger Ailes" -- plus, he still guests on Bill O'Reilly's radio show. He wouldn't discuss negotiations; observers, though, noted that Snow is more likely to stand out at CNN than on Fox's crowded roster of marquee Republicans like Karl Rove. Snow also worked for CNN when he first came to D.C., he said, so "I won't need a pith helmet and a compass." On the health front: Despite regular CAT scans to monitor the cancer that recurred last year, by all accounts he looks great -- "and I feel great."

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

· Will.I.Am having a quiet and recuperative dinner at Zengo Sunday night. On the heels of his epic Saturday (closed down the Park at 14th with a millionaire fan who ordered 45 bottles of high-end bubbly) and his rained-out Sunday afternoon set at the Green Apple Festival on the Mall, the Black Eyed Peas frontman opted for bottled water, OJ, won-ton tacos, edamame and salad during his meal with one female friend at the downtown Latin-Asian restaurant.


· Split: Kanye West and designer Alexis Phifer, who have ended their 18-month engagement. "It's always sad when things like this end, and we remain friends," Phifer told People magazine. The couple, both 30, have dated on and off since 2002; the rapper proposed in August of 2006. A friend told the magazine the couple hit a rough patch and West was "putting everything" into his current concert tour.

* * * "The intern is, I'm happy to say, at the Betty Crocker boot camp."

-- Cindy McCain, co-hosting ABC's "The View" yesterday and addressing last week's mini-scandal about the "intern" who supposedly caused plagiarized Food Network recipes to end up on her husband's campaign Web site as "McCain Family Recipes."

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