A contractor has agreed to pay the government $1 million–and to dissolve as an ongoing entity–to resolve allegations that it falsely claimed SDVOSB status in order to receive VA SDVOSB set-aside contracts.
According to a government press release, the settlement comes after VA investigators alleged that the company’s non-veteran partner made all important corporate decisions, while the service-disabled veteran partner spent much of his time away from the company.
Even if the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation has found that a service-disabled veteran “unconditionally” controls a SDVOSB, the SBA may nonetheless determine that other individuals or entities also control the company within the meaning of the SBA’s affiliation rules.
As demonstrated by a recent decision of the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals, VA CVE verification does not shield a SDVOSB from an adverse SBA affiliation determination, even if that determination is based on a finding that non-veterans control the company.
The U.S. Court of Federal Claims has jurisdiction to hear challenges to the SBA’s SDVOSB determinations.
In a recent case, the Court held that it had the power to review a decision issued by the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals, in which OHA deemed a company ineligible to receive a SDVOSB set-side contract.
A large business has agreed to pay $1.1 million to resolve allegations that it created a “front company” to be awarded a SDVOSB set-aside contract–and then served as a “pass through” by performing the work itself.
In addition to the $1.1 million penalty agreed to by the large contractor, the putative SDVOSB has agreed to pay the government $50,000, plus five annual contingency payments equal to one percent of its total annual revenues.
A SDVOSB’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan caused the company to be ineligible under the SBA’s SDVOSB rules because the service-disabled veteran did not own 51% of the ESOP class of stock.
A recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals decision should serve as a cautionary tale to any SDVOSB contemplating establishing an ESOP–or any other ownership structure consisting of multiple classes of stock.