Kingdomware SDVOSB Supreme Court Case: Read Our Amicus Brief

In Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court will answer a critical question: does the VA have to prioritize SDVOSBs and VOSBs in federal contracting?

As SmallGovCon readers know, I have been critical of the VA’s contention that it need not prioritize SDVOSBs and VOSBs.  Now, I have gone a step further.  Together with my colleagues at Koprince Law LLC, I have filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to overturn the lower court’s decision and rule in favor of veterans.

Want to read our full amicus brief?  Glad you asked–just click here.

Agency Pulls A Fast One At GAO–And Gets Caught

After a protest was filed at the GAO, a procuring agency delayed implementing the mandatory statutory suspension of work, then amended the awardee’s contract to permit the awardee to fully perform before the suspension actually kicked in.

Then the agency got caught.

In a recent decision, the GAO sustained a protest because the agency had circumvented the GAO’s bid protest process.  But while the agency got busted–a good thing–the penalty it will pay is less than satisfactory.

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Supreme Court Will Hear Kingdomware SDVOSB Dispute

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal filed by Kingdomware Technologies, Inc.

News outlets are reporting that the Supreme Court will take on the question of whether the VA’s “Veterans First” rules permit the VA to circumvent SDVOSBs by using the Federal Supply Schedule.  The case is an appeal from a 2014 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in which a three-judge panel ruled 2-1 in favor of the VA.

The Supreme Court grants only a small fraction of the petitions for certiorari filed with it, so just getting in the courthouse door is a victory of sorts for Kingdomware.

Much more on the pending Supreme Court case as I get the details.

VA CVE Improperly Disqualified SDVOSB, Says Federal Court

SDVOSBs—and basic fairness and common sense—were big winners in a recent decision issued by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

In its decision, the Court held that the VA’s Center for Verification and Evaluation violated the law when it disqualified a SDVOSB, without giving the SDVOSB the opportunity to contest the reasons for the disqualification. In an opinion reminiscent of last year’s landmark Miles Construction case, the Court then held that the CVE’s substantive reasons for the disqualification were arbitrary and unreasonable.
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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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GAO: SDVOSB Improperly Downgraded For Not Identifying Its Subcontractors

A SDVOSB was improperly downgraded for not identifying its subcontractors in its proposal, according to a recent GAO bid protest decision.

In Coburn Contractors, LLC, B-408279.2 (Sept. 30, 2013), the GAO held that the VA improperly applied an unstated evaluation criterion by requiring that the protester identify its subcontractors, because according to the solicitation, a subcontractor list was only required at the task order level.

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VA SDVOSB Protests: New Rule Allows Appeals

The VA SDVOSB protest process has been criticized by some (including a certain Kansas-based government contracts attorney) for failing to offer a right of appeal.  Under the VA’s rules, if a protested company was found to be ineligible as a SDVOSB, its only option was to sue the VA in federal court–an expensive and time-consuming proposition.

Until now.

Today, the VA published an interim final rule, under which a protested SDVOSB has the right to an appeal within the VA.  The new system isn’t perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.

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