Former publisher of Daily Record is turning new page

August 30, 2005|By BILL ATKINSON

ONCE, Edwin Warfield IV was one of the best-known names in the publishing business in Maryland. Then, he basically vanished.

After selling the Daily Record and Warfield's business magazine, which he had built into solid publications, Warfield chased the dot.com dream in Florida, buying and starting online technology and business publications with his own money and backing from Wall Street financier Bruce Wasserstein, among others.

But the dot.com boom caused him a setback - personally and professionally. His relations with backers were strained; his marriage collapsed. His divorce was so ugly, he says, "my son hasn't talked to me for a year-and-a-half."

"I did crash and burn," Warfield said. "I have been through personal hell the last couple of years."

Now, at 51, Warfield is trying to revive his career and rebuild his name in publishing.

Warfield, who has moved back to Baltimore and is living downtown near the Wharf Rat bar, has a new venture called citybizlist.

He says it's a business-to-business version of craigslist, the hugely popular online site, which puts people together in cities across the country who want to buy and sell everything from homes to bicycles, rent apartments or simply chat.

Citybizlist has been up and running for about a week, offering classified ads, press releases, resumes, a marketplace, a list of events and news - some he generates himself and other stories he grabs from The Sun and Daily Record.

Not only is he rolling out his cyber paper in Baltimore, but he plans to expand in Washington, Philadelphia, Atlanta and South Florida.

Warfield's financing the venture with a second mortgage. His partner, John Berndt, who runs the Berndt Group, a Baltimore Web developer, is part owner and has put in sweat equity.

Warfield has been out hustling, too, meeting with local executives and doing interviews that run in citybizlist.

On Friday, he attended a news conference at the Women Entrepreneurs of Baltimore Inc., hoping to scoop The Sun and other papers.

When asked about his new venture, he laughed nervously and said he wasn't ready to talk, but later agreed to answer questions.

Warfield's family has been in the publishing business for more than 100 years, and his name is well-known here.

His great-grandfather was the governor of Maryland and his father was the general who headed the Maryland Air National Guard. He bought out the Daily Record in the early 1980s and started Warfield's magazine in 1986. He sold the publications in 1994 and moved to Florida.

After his disappearing act, he is hoping to resurrect himself.

"I had been away too long and needed to get back to my roots and the things that inspire me," he said. "I don't have wild ambitions that I had in my young days. I am going to build it a day at a time, a relationship at a time, a posting at a time. I am back with the people I want to be with."

Anne Beckley knows how to focus.

She is a farmer, but only raises organic blueberries. She trains dogs in national agility and racing competitions, but only Jack Russell terriers.

Now, she is focused on finding the right person to lead Women Entrepreneurs of Baltimore Inc.

Last week, Beckley, 43, was named interim chief executive officer of WEB, a nonprofit organization that teaches women and men - specifically low-income individuals - to become entrepreneurs.

Beckley thinks it will take six months to find her replacement.

The last time Paul Leand played tennis, he got whipped by his sister. One winner "hit the back of the fence before I even knew it," he said.

Of course, his sister is Andrea Leand, a former professional tennis player from Baltimore who took on the best: Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles and Martina Navratilova.

Fortunately, Paul Leand, 38, makes his living off the court. He is chief executive officer of AMA Capital Partners, a merchant banking firm in New York focused on the maritime and transportation industries.

This summer AMA opened an office in Baltimore to tap rail, barge and domestic transportation businesses. He thinks the office could have as many as four professionals in time.

Leand likes Baltimore. Not only did he grow up here, but he sees a rich talent pool, especially from the old Allfirst Bank, known for its maritime and transportation lending. The bank was later acquired by M&T Corp.

He ran Allfirst's international shipping portfolio for two years and its rail group for four years before leaving for New York.

"We like the way they approach problems, we like the way they approach business," Leand said of his former Allfirst colleagues. "It is not surprising we go back [to Baltimore] to find people."

Bill Atkinson's column runs Tuesdays and Fridays. Contact him at 410-332-6961 or by e-mail at bill.atkinson@balt sun.com.

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