8(a) program mentor to pay $928,000 False Claims Act settlement

March 2, 2014 by

An 8(a) Program mentor has agreed to pay a False Claims Act settlement of $928,000.  The settlement stems from the government’s claims that the mentor abused the 8(a) mentor-protege program.

According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release, the mentor firm performed eight 8(a) prime contracts on behalf of its protege–without an SBA-approved joint venture.  The government also contended that the mentor’s extensive role resulted in the protege firm failing to meet the applicable limitation on subcontracting.

According to the DOJ, Okland Construction Co. Inc., a large business, entered into an 8(a) mentor-protege agreement with Saiz Construction Co., an 8(a) participant.  Although the SBA did not approve joint ventures between the companies, Okland allegedly prepared the bids for the 8(a) contracts and Okland’s employees served as project managers, submitted invoices, and performed payroll and other accounting functions.

The government also alleged that Okland’s extensive involvement resulted in Saiz’s inability to meet the 15% limitation on subcontracting applicable to general construction contracts.  Okland allegedly concealed its extensive involvement in the 8(a) contracts by misrepresenting to the government that its employees were employees of Saiz.

Keewp reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/8a-program/8a-program-mentor-to-pay-928000-false-claims-act-settlement/

Consultant to veteran-owned small business, once suspended by SBA, says CEO provided inaccurate information

February 10, 2014 by

A consultant for MicroTechnologies LLC, one of the federal government’s most prominent small-business contractors, said the firm’s founder authorized him to submit information to the Small Business Administration in 2005 that the agency later said “appears to be a complete fabrication,” the consultant told The Washington Post.

Alanson R. Anderson said MicroTech founder Anthony R. Jimenez provided the material included in a successful SBA application for entrance into the SBA’s 8(a) program for small, disadvantaged businesses, qualifying for preferential treatment, including contracts awarded without competition.

At the time, Anderson was president of Sourcetec Corp., a small-business consultancy retained to guide Jimenez through the application process.

MicroTech’s application included statements in response to SBA questions about the firm’s ties to two other companies. One of the statements said the firm had “no link, relationship, or partnership of any kind” with a firm owned by two MicroTech investors. SBA rules prohibit small and disadvantaged contractors from being overly affiliated with larger firms.

In December, the SBA suspended MicroTech after agency officials said they had new information that Jimenez had provided “false and misleading statements” about the firm’s ownership, operations and ties to other companies. The suspension was triggered when the SBA began a process known as “debarment” that would block ­MicroTech from future contracts.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/consultant-for-microtech-said-he-vetted-inaccurate-information-with-firms-ceo/2014/01/30/9fb50e9c-89dc-11e3-a5bd-844629433ba3_story.html 

Outside relationships undermine service-disabled veteran-owned small biz, says SBA

February 7, 2014 by

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.

SBA OHA’s decision in Battalion, LLC, SBA No. VET-242 (2013) involved an Air Force solicitation seeking a contractor to repair exterior building walls.  The Air Force set aside the procurement for SDVOSBs under NAICS code 238140 (Masonry Contractors).

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/service-disabled-veteran-owned-small-businesses/sdvosb-protests-outside-relationships-undermined-sdvs-control-says-sba-oha 

Applications for SBA’s “Emerging Leaders” program now open

January 29, 2014 by

What is Emerging Leaders?

The Emerging Leaders is an intensive training initiative to accelerate high-potential small businesses’ growth in America’s inner-cities. This comprehensive curriculum provides the tools to catapult participating companies to the next level and help them emerge as growing, self-sustaining businesses in their community.  In Atlanta, the Emerging Leaders initiative is supported by a coalition of local economic and business development entities.

What does the Emerging Leaders advanced training entail?

Over seven months, participants are required to participate in approximately 60-80 hours of classroom instruction, generally two three-hour sessions per month. The method used is primarily instructor-facilitated discussion of the training curriculum. Outside subject matter experts are included as guest speakers to bring a “real world” perspective. Additionally, class participants meet and work in smaller CEO Peer Mentoring Groups for an additional 15-20 hours during the training period.

Topics/subjects include:

  • Business & Leadership Assessment
  • Finances
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Business Development Resources
  • Growth Action Plan

Eligibility and Requirements

The Emerging Leaders advanced training series is open to the President, Managing Partner, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, or Chief Operating Officer of small businesses that:

  • Are located in Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, and Rockdale counties
  • Have been in active operation at least three years
  • Have generated for the past three years an average annual revenue of at least $400,000 not to exceed $10,000,000
  • Have at least one employee besides the owner(s)

In order to successfully complete and graduate from the program, participants must not have more than two unexcused absences from classroom or CEO Peer Mentoring Group sessions. They must also prepare and give a 15-minute presentation at the last class session on a three-year strategic growth plan for their business developed from their learning experience before a panel of business and economic development experts.

There will be up to fifteen small businesses accepted for the 2014/Emerging Leaders program. This program is provided at NO COST to participants.

For more information, please contact SBA’s Dorothy Atkins (404) 331-0100 ext. 305 or Charlotte Johnson, (404) 331-0100 ext. 405.  Formal “Expressions of Interest” to participate must be received by midnight, March 21, 2014.  The 2014 Emerging Leaders class begins on April 21, 2014.

SBA issues final rule on surety bond guarantee program

January 29, 2014 by

In a rule (79 Fed. Reg. 2084) scheduled to go into effect on Feb. 12, 2014, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is modifying its Surety Bond Guarantee Program to incorporate certain provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA).  This includes provisions that increase the contract amounts for which SBA is authorized to guarantee bonds, grant SBA the authority to partially deny liability under its bond guarantee, and prohibit SBA from denying liability based on material information that was provided as part of the guarantee application in the Prior Approval Program.

The rule also makes changes to the Quick Bond Guarantee Application and Agreement, the timeframes for taking certain actions related to claims, and the dollar threshold for determining when a change in the Contract or bond amounts meets certain criteria or requires certain action. Finally, the final rule eliminates references to the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) that has expired.

The new rule can be downloaded here: 79 Fed. Reg. 2084

SBA moves to ban firm from government contracting work

January 7, 2014 by

The Small Business Administration is moving to ban one of the government’s most prominent small-business contractors from new federal work, saying that the firm provided false information about its ownership and operations, documents show.

The SBA said it has information showing that Tysons Corner-based MicroTechnologies LLC and its founder, Anthony R. Jimenez, submitted “false and misleading statements” in order to receive preferential treatment, according to a Dec. 20 letter from the agency to the company. The company and Jimenez are effectively suspended from receiving new government work.

The agency said the false statements included one that “appears to be a complete fabrication” to hide the extensive role of two investors who apparently worked with Jimenez to launch, bankroll and operate MicroTech, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Washington Post.

The SBA notice is the first step in a civil process that could lead to the banning of both Jimenez and MicroTech “from future contracting with any agencies of the Executive Branch of the United States Government,” the SBA said.

MicroTech did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

The company has 30 days to respond to the claims in the SBA’s regulatory action, which immediately makes the company and Jimenez ineligible for contracting work or any government assistance, such as loans, and proposes the “debarment” of the firm from future federal contracts.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/sba-moves-to-ban-microtechnologies-llc-from-government-contracting-work/2013/12/27/a83ede02-6f02-11e3-b405-7e360f7e9fd2_story.html 

SBA presents Jan. 22 webinar on reasons 8(a) applicants are rejected

January 2, 2014 by

The U.S. Small Business Administration will present The Top Reasons Why SBA Returns and Declines an 8(a) Application on Jan. 22, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. EST.

The hour-long webinar will cover:

  • Eligibility requirements for 8(a) certification;
  • How to present a clean 8(a) application to the SBA to enhance the potential for acceptance into the  8(a) program; and
  • The top reasons why an 8(a) application is declined or returned.

The Jan. 22 webinar will cover basic “must have” requirements and the top reasons why an 8(a) application is declined or returned.

Click on this link to register: http://ems.intellor.com/index.cgi?p=204873&t=71&do=register&s=&rID=432&edID=293

Affordable Care Act webinar to be repeated Jan. 14th

December 20, 2013 by

The Georgia District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and SCORE Atlanta are hosting another informational webinar for small businesses on the Affordable Care Act.   The next webinar for small businesses will be held on Tuesday, January 14, 2013 from 10:00 am until 1:00 pm. In this webinar, you’ll learn about the ACA and your business, including:

  • Small Business Health Care Tax Credit
  • Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP)
  • Shared Employer Responsibility

Presenters include:

  • Ms. Amanda Ptashkin, Outreach and Advocacy Director, Georgians for a Healthy Future,
  • Ms. Kim Agah, Vice President for CBIZ Benefits & Insurance Services, Inc.

Online Registration is at: http://events.sba.gov/eventmanagement/EventRegistration.aspx?id=a891c1d2-3767-e311-9695-02bfa56e2a24

For questions regarding registration please contact Ms. Patrice Dozier at 404-331-0100 ext. 411.

GAO says agencies need to comply with Congressional requirements for bundled contracts

December 17, 2013 by

Federal agencies sometimes can achieve savings by consolidating requirements from separate, smaller contracts into fewer, larger contracts.  However, consolidation may negatively impact small businesses.  Generally, when consolidation makes a contract unsuitable for small businesses, the contract is considered bundled, which is a subset of consolidation. Agencies must justify their actions for both consolidated and bundled requirements.

In a new report issued by the U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO), it’s noted that the Department of Defense (DoD) and the General Services Administration (GSA) — which accounted for more than 80 percent of the consolidated contracts reported by all federal agencies in fiscal years 2011 and 2012 — do not know the full extent to which they are awarding consolidated contracts.  This is the result of contracts being misreported in the federal procurement data system (FPDS).

GAO reviewed 157 contracts — more than half of all DOD and GSA contracts that were reported as consolidated — and found that 34 percent of the DoD contracts and all of the GSA contracts in fact were not consolidated. GAO also identified four DoD contracts with consolidated requirements that were not reported as such.

GAO’s study found that DoD generally justified contracts with consolidated requirements in accordance with existing regulations, but DOD and GSA have not yet implemented 2010 changes in the law.   Eighty-two percent of the 100 DoD contracts confirmed as consolidated followed existing regulations pertaining to conducting market research, identifying alternatives, and justifying decisions. Most of the contracts that did not comply were justified, but the determinations were not made by an official at a level senior enough to meet defense regulation requirements.

The study also found that the Small Business Administration (SBA) does not collect complete information on bundled contracts and has not reported to Congressional committees as required by federal law.

To read the full GAO report, please visit: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-36

GSA updates strategic sourcing tool for office supplies

December 6, 2013 by

The General Services Administration in late November published a draft update of its seven-year-old strategic sourcing initiative aimed at reducing the costs of agency office supply purchasing.

The new statement of work titled “Office Supply Third Generation,” or OS3, is “the agency’s latest effort to cut costs and increase efficiencies by buying everyday supplies like pens, paper and printing items from a list of vendors with negotiated low prices,” GSA said in a release. It is expected to save $65 million a year in reduced administrative costs and $90 million through lowered prices, with 76 percent of purchasing contracts going to small businesses. Since 2006, the program has saved agencies $350 million, according to GSA.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2013/12/gsa-updates-strategic-sourcing-tool-office-supplies/74702