Guest List: Today's Newsmakers

The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight

By: Alyssa Rosenberg

Paul Bognanno. Never heard of Bognanno, or the Reston-based Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Corporation, of which he’s president? Turns out this obscure company has been allegedly taking over property records from government agencies for years—and it’s trying to foreclose on homeowners. As the New York Times said yesterday, “How can MERS claim title to those mortgages, and foreclose on homeowners, when it has not invested a dollar in a single loan?.” We imagine there are a lot of property owners with a lot of questions for Bognanno.

Ken Ludwig. The District playwright has put out a new annotated edition of his comedies, Lend Me a Tenor and Other Plays, providing an occasion, in a spring full of them, to celebrate theater in Washington. We could all use a few good-natured laughs to carry us through the competitive atmosphere of Helen Hayes Award season, right?

Kathryn Condon. In the wake of scandals at Arlington National Cemetery, the new director of the Army Cemeteries Program is facing up to the management problems that led to the interment of eight soldiers’ remains in the same grave, leaving three of them unidentifiable. Fortunately, she’s got extra staff and new equipment backing her up, but healing the emotional wounds of families who already lost their loved ones isn’t just a matter of funding or dedication.

Gary Williams. The head basketball coach at the University of Maryland has to take his team through a tough lineup if they want to make it to the NCAA tournament, beating both N.C. State and Duke. The team has struggled in recent weeks, but players say they’re optimistic looking forward. We’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope for lots of regional representation in the Big Dance.

Charles Willoughby. The scandal over the Vincent Gray administration’s hiring and then firing of former DC mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown—who’s now alleging that Gray’s campaign paid him off for attacking then-mayor Adrian Fenty with the promise of a job in Gray’s administration—might be entertaining if it weren’t an incredibly depressing illustration of the problems with District politics. Now, as politicians posture and deny, DC inspector general Willoughby will have to find out what actually happened during the campaign and whether Gray broke the law.

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