Anti-Kickback Act Settlement Costs Contractor $2.72 Million

A New York contractor has agreed to pay $2.72 million to resolve claims that it violated the Anti-Kickback Act and False Claims Act in connection with its prime contract work on an EPA facility.

According to a Department of Justice press release, Sevenson Environmental Services Inc. accepted more than $1.6 million in kickbacks from six subcontractors, then passed the majority of those kickbacks through to the EPA.

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Thank You, New Mexico!

I am back in Lawrence after a trip to the Southwest, where I spoke at the Holloman Air Force Base Industry Day in Alamogordo, New Mexico.  My morning session addressed communicating with contracting officers, and my afternoon session covered teaming and joint venturing on set-aside contracts.  During lunch, I also gave a brief update on recent government contracting legal developments.

A big “thank you” to the New Mexico Procurement Technical Assistance Program and New Mexico Small Business Development Center for inviting me to be a part of this great event.  And thank you to all of the contractors (small and large) and industry professionals who attended my sessions, asked excellent questions, and shared their own experiences.

It has been a busy year of travel and I am not quite done yet.  Next month, I will be in Atlanta for the National Veterans Small Business Engagement.  I hope to see you there.

WOSB Program: Certification Oversight Lacking, Says GAO

The SBA performs only “minimal oversight” of third-party certifiers for the woman-owned small business program, and thus “lacks reasonable assurance that only eligible businesses receive WOSB set-aside contracts,” says the GAO in a recent report on the WOSB Program.

The GAO report identifies numerous weaknesses in the WOSB certification system, and provides a number of recommendations to strengthen WOSB Program oversight.

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Size Protests: Only SBA Can Grant Extension To Response Deadline

Only the SBA has the power to grant an extension to the short time deadline for a company to respond to a SBA size protest.

As demonstrated in a recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals decision, although the SBA’s practice is to require the procuring agency to grant a concurrent extension, the procuring agency’s agreement alone–in the absence of a corresponding SBA extension–will not permit a protested company to file a late response.

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8(a) Program Improvements Needed, Says SBA OIG

8(a) Program improvements are needed to allow more disadvantaged firms to receive 8(a) contracts, according to a recent report issued by the SBA Office of Inspector General.

In its report, the SBA OIG credits the SBA with positive steps taken to improve the 8(a) Program, but says that more must be done to ensure that 8(a) business development assistance reaches more 8(a) Program participants.

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GAO Bid Protests: Gold Coast Presentation Now Available

GAO bid protests were the focus of my presentation at this year’s Navy Gold Coast conference in San Diego.  If you weren’t able to make it to Gold Coast in August, I have good news: the conference organizers have made all of this year’s presentations available online, free of charge.

My GAO bid protest presentation covers the GAO’s jurisdiction, who can file a protest, the timeliness rules, how the protest process works, protest outcomes, success rates, and more.  To view my Gold Coast presentation on GAO bid protests, just follow this link.  And don’t forget to check out the other great presentations from this year’s Gold Coast conference, too.

8(a) Program: Accent, Lack of English Proficiency Not Evidence of Bias

A Bulgarian immigrant’s thick accent and lack of English proficiency were not evidence of bias, and did not support the immigrant’s 8(a) Program application.

In a recent 8(a) Program decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals expressed sympathy for the language difficulties many immigrants face, but held that such difficulties, by themselves, do not constitute evidence of “social disadvantage” for 8(a) Program purposes because the 8(a) Program requires a showing of bias or prejudice.

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