GAO: SBA’s Five-Day 8(a) Eligibility Deadline Applies To JVs

Before an agency can award an 8(a) contract, the prospective awardee must first be deemed eligible for award under the 8(a) business development program criteria by the Small Business Administration. The SBA has a tight deadline to make this determination—a mere five days.

But what happens when the SBA’s eligibility evaluation is more complicated than a determination of whether the awardee meets the program’s basic eligibility requirements? The GAO recently addressed this issue in FedServ-RBS JV, LLC, B-411790 (Oct. 26, 2015), where the GAO held that the applicable regulations do not require the agency to stay its proposed award beyond five days pending the SBA’s approval of an 8(a) joint venture agreement. Continue reading

SBA Moving Closer To “Universal” Mentor-Protege Implementation

The SBA is moving toward implementing its proposed “universal” mentor-protege program for all small businesses.

According to testimony presented by the SBA’s Associate Administrator for Government Contracting Business Development at a recent Congressional hearing, the SBA has put together a Mentor-Protege Program Expansion Project Team to oversee the implementation of the new program.

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8(a) Mentor-Protege Joint Venture Agreements: Details Matter, Court Says

An 8(a) mentor-protege joint venture was not entitled to take advantage of the special mentor-protege exception from affiliation because the joint venture agreement lacked adequate detail.

In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims held that the SBA had reasonably determined the joint venture to be a large business because the joint venture agreement did not sufficiently address certain requirements.  The Court’s decision should be a warning for all 8(a) mentor-protege joint ventures: details matter.

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8(a) Fraud: 21-Month Prison Sentence In Pass-Through Case

The owner of a former 8(a) program participant has been sentenced to 21 months in prison in connection with an 8(a) program “pass-through” scheme.

Under the plea agreement, the former 8(a) program owner also agreed to three years of supervised release and the forfeiture of $554,541.07.

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8(a) Program Fraud: Contractor Will Pay $7.8 Million

A former 8(a) program participant has agreed to pay nearly $8 million to settle allegations of 8(a) program fraud.

According to a Department of Justice press release, LB&B Associates Inc. will pay $7.8 million to resolve claims that it improperly obtained 8(a) certification (and 8(a) contracts) even though it was not controlled by a disadvantaged individual.

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8(a) Program Denial: Federal Lawsuit Available, Says SBA OHA

An 8(a) Program applicant may challenge the SBA’s denial of its application in federal court if the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals lacks jurisdiction to hear the case.

According to a recent OHA decision, although OHA’s own jurisdiction in 8(a) denial matters is limited, a rejected applicant “is not utterly without recourse” because relief can be sought in court.

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8(a) Program: Follow-On To Competitive Award Can Be Sole Sourced

An 8(a) contract was properly awarded on a sole source basis to a tribally-owned entity, even though the contract was a follow-on to a competitive 8(a) set-aside award.

In a recent decision, the GAO deferred to the SBA’s interpretation of the 8(a) program regulations–which, according to the SBA, allow such sole source awards.

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