Later this year, the Supreme Court will take up the case of Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. United States. The Court will decide whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was correct to find that the VA need not give SDVOSBs and VOSBs a contracting preference so long as the VA is meeting its SDVOSB and VOSB goals.
If you follow SmallGovCon, you know my position: I think the Federal Circuit’s ruling was fundamentally flawed. Last week, I spoke with Francis Rose of Federal News Radio about the case. Click here to listen to my interview with Francis, and be sure to tune in to In Depth With Francis Rose weekdays from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern on Federal News Radio.
Is the Department of Veterans Affairs required to prioritize service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (“SDVOSBs”) when it buys supplies and services? That, essentially, will be the question before the Supreme Court when it takes up the case of Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. vs. United States. On June 22, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Kingdomware will end a long-running battle between the VA and various SDVOSBs, which have accused the VA of creating loopholes to avoid a statutory contracting preference for veterans. Hopefully, the Court will get it right. As a matter of policy and law, the underlying decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is fundamentally flawed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Perhaps no single aspect of federal government contracting causes more confusion than the fact that the government currently runs two SDVOSB programs: one under the VA’s rules and the other under the SBA’s.
The current system can lead to inconsistent results, such as a company being a “SDVOSB” for purposes of VA contracts, but not those issued by other agencies (or vice versa). As SmallGovCon readers know, I am on record as stating that the “two SDVOSB programs” approach is idiotic and ought to be scrapped. (Okay, maybe I wasn’t on record with the word “idiotic” before. I guess I am now.)
But while I cross my fingers and hope that Congress will simplify things, SDVOSBs are stuck with the current system. And, as a recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals case demonstrates, SDVOSBs should be aware of the important differences between the two SDVOSB programs.