Ex-Prince George's executive to join Murphy law firm

Defense-oriented practice is hiring Curry to launch corporate consulting unit

September 28, 2004|By Paul Adams | Paul Adams,SUN STAFF

Wayne K. Curry, a former Prince George's County executive who once considered a run for statewide office, will bring his name and background in high-powered deal-making to the Baltimore law firm of William H. Murphy Jr.

Curry, who was forced out of office in 2002 because of term limits, will help the firm launch a corporate consulting practice centered on helping clients broker complex real estate development deals, particularly those that involve public-private partnerships with government agencies.

Curry said he will have an "of counsel" relationship with the firm, which means he won't be a partner but will have a business arrangement with Murphy.

The deal marks a shift for Murphy, a colorful defense lawyer better known for taking on high-profile clients involved in criminal cases.

"It's new for the firm in its breadth," said Hassan Murphy, managing partner of the 14-member firm and son of William Murphy. "We have been providing these services for clients over the last several years, but never have we really developed a business plan with the goal of building a separate and strategic unit around providing these services."

As county executive, Curry was best known for turning around a $137 million deficit and building the county's tax base with projects such as the Redskins football stadium in Landover and National Harbor, a $560 million hotel-entertainment complex on the Potomac River.

A fiscal conservative and social moderate, Curry will bring considerable political influence to the firm. A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., the Democrat once toyed with running against Kathleen Kennedy Townsend for governor in the 2002 primary. More recently, he has cultivated a relationship with Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., who named Curry to his transition team after being elected in 2002.

Last year, Maryland Republican leaders tried unsuccessfully to entice him to switch parties and run against U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski this year.

In June last year, Curry had surgery after being hospitalized with an aneurysm. Since his recovery, he has been working on developing a practice, focusing primarily on the rapidly growing Washington suburbs.

Before taking office, he had a successful practice in real estate and business transactions. His latest venture will bring him full circle.

"I've had the good fortune to have been a part of what's been a great dynamic change in Prince George's County, and it's very rare that you get an opportunity to blend these kinds of experiences and practices in this way," he said.

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