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Government and People
NATIONAL CAPITOL REVITALIZATION CORPORATION
JUNE 12, 2003Thank you Mr. Chairman for the opportunity to appear before the committee as a nominee for the National Capitol Revitalization Corporation. I want to thank the Mayor for my nomination and look forward upon confirmation by the Council to my service as a member of the NCRC.
I have been a resident of the District for more than 30 years. I have observed the growth and change the city has taken over the years. I have observed as the District has evolved from a largely segregated city, whose low point was the disastrous riots following Dr. King's assassination in 1968, to a vibrant urban center at the forefront of American cities.
Yet for all of its progress, we have important challenges to confront. I believe the principal challenge is the type of growth the city will undertake. This new Washington must include benefits for all of its citizens. I believe the city's development will continue, as it should be, driven by the private sector, yet the public sector as represented by the NCRC is an important entity in shaping the city's future. The NCRC as a public entity can serve as a catalyst for development and act in the broad public interest. If I may state this another way, the strong commercial and residential real estate market that is altering the District's landscape is positive and will continue. Yet the public interest, and in particular the interest of the District's diverse neighborhoods, are critical considerations in any development or economic activity.
It would be useful, Mr. Chairman, to give the committee some of my background that is relevant to membership of the NCRC.
For a number of years, I practiced law where my efforts were devoted to policy issues in public finance. As a principal part of my legal engagements, I served as the Washington counsel for the cities of Detroit, New Orleans, Kansas City and Oakland handling relationships between the cities and the federal government, including Congress.
In addition to municipal representation, I practiced extensively in financial matters and business relationships; served a number of years as bond counsel to the District of Columbia Government; negotiated industrial revenue financing for local universities; and represented the regulatory agencies such as the Federal Home Loan Bank Board.
I currently serve as Chairman of JAH International, a holding company that is involved in venture capital projects. JAH has a representative group of investments, including cogeneration and coal gasification. In cogeneration, JAH was involved as a partner in the development of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts 200 mega watt cogeneration facility for General Electric, and a limited partner in the development of the CODA coal gasification facility in Illinois, which will convert high-sulfur coal into gas that will be used to develop this country's largest fertilizer plant.
Other than the energy projects, JAH has been involved in the acquisition of hair care and cosmetics companies as a principal investor. The most recent acquisition in this area was Carson Products of Savannah, Georgia. Carson, until its recent sale to L'Oreal, was the nation's leading ethnic hair care company with a twenty-six percent (26%) market share and annual revenues of over $100 million.
Parallel to my business activities, I remain engaged as a member of the public policy community. I served for a number of years as Chairman of the Morehouse College Board of Trustees, a Board Member of the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority, One-to-One (the national mentoring organization founded by Ray Chambers), the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African Art, the District of Columbia Tax Revision Commission, the Friendship House public service agency, and General Counsel to the D.C. Chamber of Commerce.
Again, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before the committee and will respond to any questions you may have.
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