Contractor Misrepresented VOSB Status For $152 Million Lease, Says VA OIG

The VA failed to verify the accuracy of a contractor’s representation that it was a veteran-owned small business, according to a new report issued by the VA’s Office of Inspector General.

According to the VA OIG, the VA failed to verify the claim of Westar Development Company, LLC to be a VOSB–and “[t]he evidence does not support a finding that Westar is or ever has been a Veteran-Owned Small Business.”   The VA’s failure to verify Westar’s VOSB status is just one of many serious flaws identified by the VA OIG in its audit of the award of a major VA lease to Westar.

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VA SDVOSB Set-Asides Not Required For Prosthetics, Says GAO

The VA is not required to prioritize SDVOSB set-asides when it obtains prosthetic appliances and related services, according to the GAO.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that a specific statutory exemption allows the VA to procure prosthetic appliances and related services in whatever manner the VA deems best, without regard to the ordinary requirement that the VA prioritize SDVOSB acquisitions.

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VA CVE FOIA Email Unnerves SDVOSBs–Now What?

On February 27, the VA CVE sent an email to companies listed in the VetBiz database, suggesting that all documentation submitted to the CVE may be subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.  Many SDVOSBs and VOSBs were outraged–was the VA really stating that tax returns, payroll, bank signature cards, and other closely-guarded information would be made available to the public?

Now, after push back from SDVOSBs and VOSBs, the CVE has issued a press release clarifying that some documentation submitted to the CVE may be withheld under FOIA on a “case by case basis” and that the CVE will seek to limit the exposure of proprietary and personally identifiable information.

The press release is a good start, but in the wake of its misguided email, the CVE needs to do more to assure SDVOSBs and VOSBs that their proprietary information is safe in the government’s hands.

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SDVOSB Fraud: Non-Veteran Arrested For Claiming SDVOSB Status

A New Jersey woman has been arrested and charged with procurement fraud for allegedly falsely certifying that her company was a SDVOSB.

According to a Department of Justice press release, Miriam Friedman falsely claimed that her father-in-law, a retired veteran, owned and operated the business.  According to the DOJ, Friedman’s father-in-law not only had minimal involvement in the business, but is not service-disabled.

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SDVOSB Protests: Outside Relationships Undermined SDV’s Control, Says SBA OHA

A would-be SDVOSB’s relationships with a company controlled by the SDVOSB’s minority owner undermined the service-disabled veteran’s control–and cost the SDVOSB an Air Force contract.

In a recent decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals ruled that a SDVOSB did not adequately control his company where the company (and the veteran) appeared to be unduly dependent on an outside firm.

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SBA: SDVOSB, HUBZone, WOSB Mentor-Protege Programs May Arrive In 2014

The SBA will “make it a priority” to adopt regulations establishing mentor-protege programs for SDVOSBs, HUBZones, and WOSBs in the next 12 months, according to the SBA’s most recent semiannual regulatory agenda.

The regulatory agenda states that the three new mentor-protege programs are expected to be “similar” to the 8(a) mentor-protege program, which suggests that the special joint venturing benefits currently available only to 8(a)s may become available to SDVOSBs, HUBZones and WOSBs, as well.

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SDVOSB Not Required To Inform Agency Of Veteran’s Death, Says Court

A SDVOSB was not required to inform a procuring agency that the service-disabled veteran owner had passed away following submission of the SDVOSB’s proposal, according to a recent decision of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

In NEIE, Inc. v. United States, No. 13-164 C (2013), the Court sharply criticized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for unjustifiably maintaining that the SDVOSB in question was required to inform the EPA of the veteran’s death, even though there is no such requirement in the regulations and the veteran’s death had no impact on the SDVOSB’s contract eligibility.

The NEIE case is not only a good reminder of when a SDVOSB must be eligible to receive a non-VA SDVOSB set-aside (typically, at the time of the initial priced offer), but a troubling example of an over-zealous procuring agency misinterpreting and misapplying the SDVOSB regulations to the detriment of an eligible SDVOSB.

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