A Papal Tree Ornament

Put those tired old Santas back in the box. Pope John Paul II is ready for your Christmas tree.

Kaminski Special Edition Ornaments LLC of Gaithersburg is marketing Vatican-licensed Pope John Paul II tree ornaments. The ornaments come in 10 styles that include "Kneeling Pope" and "Standing Pope With Cross." His holiness comes in robes of white, gold and red.

Kaminski sells the ornaments for about $50 each. According to licensing agreements, it must give a 12 percent cut to the Vatican and an 8 percent share to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.

These arrangements aren't new. The Franklin Mint has had a licensing deal with the Vatican. And several years ago the Vatican licensed awe-inspiring art to a Pittsburgh businessman, the result being that works by Leonardo da Vinci can now be reproduced on wall hangings.

Don Kaminski and his cousin, Ken, came up with the idea of selling religious ornaments last year. Initially, the two Catholic men had trouble being taken seriously. But Ken had been in seminary and "has some connections," Don Kaminski said.

The cousins took their concept to Monsignor Michael Dylag, administrative assistant of the Pope John Paul II Foundation. The Kaminskis then went before the Catholic bishops organization and lastly, the Vatican.

As Don Kaminski remembers, the Vatican seemed thrilled with the ornaments. But an assistant to the pope looked sternly at the cousins. "You boys better pay attention to the detail or I will take this all away from you," he warned.

-- Stephanie Stoughton (stoughtons@washpost.com)

DID YOU HEAR? . . .

"By having a say in some of the companies, they can basically make them use some of their technologies."

-- Renaissance Worldwide telecommunications analyst Rolf DeVegt, on why Microsoft Corp. would want to buy a $500 million stake in Vienna-based Teligent Inc.

$185,022,760

That's how much the market value of Lanham-based Radio One Inc. has increased since Sept. 1. The upstart radio broadcast company in recent weeks has become a hot property, boosted by a pleasant earnings surprise and news last week that a group of hotshot broadcasting titans was forming a fund to invest in minority- and female-owned broadcasting companies. Most of this good karma has accrued to Cathy Hughes, 52, Radio One's chairman (at right), and 34-year-old Alfred Liggins III, her son, who together own 99 percent of the controlling Class B stock in Radio One. Hughes's interest in the company was valued at $80 million at Friday's close. Liggins's part is valued at $108 million. Radio One owns 26 Afro-centric radio stations in major urban markets, an empire that Hughes started here in Washington in the 1970s, long before the rest of the broadcasting world recognized the buying power of African Americans. The buying power of Radio One, meanwhile, is about to go up. It registered last week to sell 5.1 million shares of stock on the open market for as much as $290 million.

-- Terence O'Hara (oharat@washpost.com)

Influential in Alexandria

Hispanic Business magazine named an up-and-coming Alexandria businessman among the 100 most influential Hispanics in 1999.

Dennis J. Garcia's Potomac Management Group Inc., an information technology consulting company, has been rated the nation's 25th fastest-growing Hispanic business.

The company, of which Garcia is president, made a name for itself when it rescued $3 billion worth of lost scientific data as a contractor for the U.S. Geological Survey.

-- T.O.