Sources tell LL that more than a dozen people were laid off last week from
the Washington offices of MacFarlane Partners, the development company owned by San Francisco real-estate magnate Victor MacFarlane. MacFarlane also owns the D.C. United soccer squad and has been pushing a soccer stadium at Poplar Point in Anacostia since buying the team in early 2007.
The most telling casualty is Linda Mercado Greene, the former top aide to Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry who became MacFarlane’s VP for public affairs and community relations in the summer of 2006. Greene was a crucial connection in securing Barry’s support for the Poplar Point soccer stadium and convincing other leaders in Ward 8 to follow.
According to LL’s sources, the only executive remaining in D.C. for MacFarlane will be Dana Bryson, once a top aide to former city administrator Robert Bobb.
The downsizing comes at a crucial time, with three crucial elected officials—-Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, and finance committee chair Jack Evans—-all reticent to support the $225 million in public financing that MacFarlane has reportedly been seeking. Only Barry has been pushing hard to get a deal done, and with Greene out, it’s likely that will no longer be the case.
Meanwhile, investors and politicos in Maryland have been attempting to lure MacFarlane out of the District to sites in Howard and Prince George’s Counties.
It is unclear whether the layoffs were immediate; Greene’s assistant answered the phone at the company’s regional office on Connecticut Avenue this morning. Greene and other MacFarlane representatives have not returned repeated phone calls for comment.
UPDATE, 4:20 P.M.: MacFarlane spokesperson Julie Chase says Greene hasn’t been laid off, but rather that “her role has been moved.” The move in general, Chase says, isn’t a downsizing, but a “restructuring.” More to come.
UPDATE, 7:53 P.M.: The positions being cut, 14 of them, were not in the D.C. office only, Chase says, but also included the New York and San Francisco offices. As for Greene, she says, MacFarlane “no longer has a need for the role that Linda Greene was filling in D.C.,” which included responsibility for securing support for the soccer stadium. But Chase says that Greene has been offered a position with D.C. United itself “that would allow her to continue to focus on the team’s stadium in DC and Prince George’s County.”