Thomas Heath is away, but we found some newsy tidbits to pass on in his absence.
More than half of the nearly 40 high-ranking Coast Guard officials who left the service between 2006 and 2010 received compensation from Coast Guard contractors at some point between 2006 and 2011, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.
Twelve of the 22 compensated were paid by major Coast Guard contractors, defined as those that received more than $10 million in contract obligations in 2011. Furthermore, three-quarters of those 12 officials had positions that involved developing new business.
The study is an annual exercise performed by the GAO in response to congressional worries about what’s often dubbed the “revolving door” between government and industry.
“Congress has been concerned about contractors hiring former government officials because these individuals can be put in a unique position to make or influence decisions that positively or negatively affect the relationships between contractors and the government,” the report adds.
In a response to the GAO, a Department of Homeland Security official said the department is “pleased to note that GAO found the DHS Hotline, Coast Guard Investigative Service, and GAO’s FraudNet had not received any allegations of violations of post-government employee restrictions for any of these officials.”
— Marjorie Censer
The new year is beginning with a boon for Rockville-based CytImmune.
The biotechnology firm, which develops cancer treatments, will partner with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to test whether CytImmune can use a nanoparticle of gold to carry a cancer-fighting compound being developed by AstraZeneca directly to cancerous tumors in patients.
“By combining CytImmune’s proprietary nanotechnology with AstraZeneca’s oncology compound, AstraZeneca and CytImmune have the opportunity to create a cancer therapy that may be widely applicable to many solid tumors, which may help improve patient outcomes and positively impact cancer care,” Lawrence Tamarkin, CytImmune’s chief executive, said in a statement.
The technology has already been studied in a clinical trial at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, where scientists found that CytImmune’s nanoparticles helped deliver other cancer-fighting molecules to malignant tumors rather than healthy tissue.
Founded in 1988, CytImmune employs six people. The company has struggled to secure funding over the years, like many other life science companies, relying primarily on money from wealthy backers and government grants, Tamarkin said.
— Steven Overly
DC Dosas, the first pop-up restaurant to complete the StartUp Kitchen program, has found a permanent home: the Whole Foods in Foggy Bottom.
The restaurant, which specializes in a crepe-like South Indian dish, is the brainchild of Georgetown resident Priya Ammu. DC Dosas had a soft opening earlier this month and will officially open in Whole Foods’ prepared foods department on Jan. 9.
“We are always looking for new and creative foods to offer our customers,” said Defausha Hampton, a spokeswoman for Whole Foods.
The next round of StartUp Kitchen, an eight-week incubation program that gives aspiring restaurateurs a crash course in running their own business, will take place at the Hello Cupcake in Capitol Hill. Applications will be accepted beginning Jan. 4.
— Abha Bhattarai
Ben and Daniel Miller, the Generation Y sons of charismatic Georgetown developer Herb Miller, have attracted attention with their crowdsource real estate businesses Popularise and Fundrise. The first encourages online feedback for development projects, while the latter allows individuals to buy shares in real estate projects in their neighborhoods.
Fundrise is being used by Teach for America to help it develop a new D.C. campus.
“They’re not paying us,” Ben Miller said. “We’re doing this because this needs to happen. This is important.”
The Miller boys like H Street NE and have purchased the AutoZone store there, though they haven’t determined a way of relocating it so they can develop the site. What to do in the meantime? They’ve submitted a proposal to the District to use Fundrise to develop the former R.L. Christian Library, at 1300 H St. NE. Sounding every bit like his pop, Miller said choosing a company that will bring on investors from the neighborhood was the right thing to do.
“It’s the kind of thing the city should be embracing,” he said.
— Jonathan O’Connell
For some lawyers at Hogan Lovells, it’s $1,200 an hour. The Washington law firm ranked second in a National Law Journal survey on law firm billing rates. The survey ranked 55 major U.S. law firms by the median hourly rate charged by attorneys. The $1,200 figure was the highest hourly billing rate at Hogan, while the median rate was $625.
Hogan ranked just under legal giant DLA Piper, which reported the same highest hourly rate and a slightly higher median rate of $635. A handful of other Washington firms also made the list, including Dickstein Shapiro, which charged $1,250 on the high end and a median rate of $580, and Patton Boggs, which charged $990 on the high end and a median rate of $550.
— Catherine Ho