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    May 14, 2008  


Join us for lunch with three of America's top General Counsels: Freddie Mac's Bob Bostrom, the Washington Post's Veronica Dillon, and American Capital Strategies' Sam Flax (largest publicly-held private equity firm in the US). Wed, May 28, at Il Mulino in DC. Sign up here. Thanks to great sponsors Studley and IMC.


Rich Lucas must have had a lot of Hilton Honors points from his 17 years traveling as an A&P hotshot, because on Monday, Hilton Hotels installed him as its new General Counsel. We caught up with Rich late last week—he worked at the firm through Friday, but we're hoping he at least took the weekend off—just before he ended headed to LaLa-land for the new gig.


Holding tight to the railing (it's a long way down to A&P's lobby), Rich tells us he'll be working from the hotelier's Beverly Hills HQ—zip 90210, natch—overseeing a legal staff of 100, with 40 lawyers and six direct reports as now configured. Beyond typical GC concerns like employment, contract, and patent matters, Rich expects to be focusing on the international growth he sees ahead for the 3,000-hotel family, including the Doubletree, Embassy Suites, and Waldorf-Astoria brands. And, of course, racking up more hotel stays; he hit Memphis's Embassy Suites for his first Board meeting two weeks ago.


The job came to Rich through one of his first clients, Chris Nasetta, now Hilton's CEO. The two bonded in Rich's first year at the firm, when he counseled a creditors' committee lead by Chris in the bankruptcy of Rick Antonelli (who owned half of PMI, the parking lot kings). Chris went on to become President of Host Hotels, and was named CEO of Hilton after Blackstone bought it (for a tidy $26 billion) last year. He called Rich from a plane to offer him the job, and though it's "hard to leave a place like Arnold & Porter," Rich's new home is the Beverly Hills Hilton (site of the Golden Globe Awards) until he finds an apartment. His family will follow next year, but ten-year-old daughter Kate is already fascinated by California. Just keep her away from Paris Hilton, please.


Such glamour in the halls of A&P. No sooner had Lucas left than Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff dropped in, making an appearance to hob-nob with donors to the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. The group spends just over half of its funds locally, but also spreads the wealth to global projects like providing basic-needs assistance to the elderly in Russia.


Secretary Chertoff and wife Meryl, Director of the Sandra Day O'Connor Project, are flanked by Ken Ende, counsel to Sen. Norm Coleman, and Patton Boggs partner David Farber. Ken also plays energy advisor, and tells us Sen. Coleman is co-sponsoring the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill.


A&P's Jeff Burt and Jerome Chapman. Jeff headed up the firm's now-shuttered Moscow office in the 90s, but got back in time to clear use of the firm's conference room for the Chertoff visit. It's not just any room: Producers for the movie Contact thought it had a futuristic feel and used it for a scene in which Jodie Foster makes a presentation about contacting alien life. Sounds like a typical business development plan.

John Ford is Bisnow's Managing Editor.  Got a story? By all means, drop him a line at john@bisnow.com.

Gilbert Randolph
Kane Company
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