FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTRACTS APPEALS BOARD REJECTS BID PROTEST BY MAJOR BOWSER DONOR FORT MYER IN A SCATHING OPINION THAT FURTHER CLOUDS GOVERNMENT’S DECISION TO FORCE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER OUT AFTER HE RECOMMENDED AWARD TO GILBANE, NETTING TAXPAYERS A $10 MILLION SAVINGS
CAB Decision Confirms Former DGS Associate Director Yinka T. Alao Appropriately Recommended Award of The Contract To Gilbane Building Co., Which Submitted A Bid Almost $10 million Dollars Lower Than The Bid Submitted By Ft. Myer. DC CAB Opinion Casts A Further Shadow Over Perplexing Decision To Fire Mr. Alao
Washington, DC, September 26, 2016 – The DC Contracts Appeals Board has issued a decision in a bid protest submitted by Ft. Myer Construction, filed after Ft. Myer lost out on the contract to redevelop the St. Elizabeth’s East Campus – future site of the Washington Wizards Basketball practice facility. After Ft. Meyer lost out on that contract and the contract to develop the future site for DC United’s new stadium at Buzzard Point, Mr. Alao, a 10-year DC employee who previously led the “Procurement Integrity and Compliance Office” for the city’s Office of Contracting and Procurement, was abruptly placed on administrative leave on August 15, 2016 and separated from the government on August 30, 2016. Despite the fact that Mr. Alao’s decision on the St. Elizabeths contract saved $10 million taxpayer dollars, he was summarily terminated after FMC apparently complained to Mayor Bowser’s administration. Mr. Alao is represented by The Chambers Firm, LLC.
In vindicating Mr. Alao’s procurement practices and rejecting every single argument raised by Ft. Myer in the protest, the CAB noted:
“…[i]n the present case, Fort Myer seemingly argues that the District was effectively obligated to accept a proposal that was almost $10 million more expensive and essentially technically equivalent to the lower priced offeror… As we note above, that is an improper reading of the [Contracting Officer’s] discretion under the solicitation and applicable law. In summary, we find that the evaluation of proposals in this case was proper, and that the [Chief Contracting Officer] properly considered and explained its assessment of the technical and price evaluation results that were the basis of its award decision.”
Darrell Chambers, principal attorney at the Firm, supports the CAB’s decision, indicating it further strengthens Mr. Alao’s case against the government:
“I am pleased with the decision of the CAB exonerating Mr. Alao of any wrongdoing in the procurement and awarding of the St. Elizabeths East contract to Gilbane Building Company. While the decision answers some questions, others remain. For instance, why, on the St. Elizabeths project, did high-ranking government officials outside of DGS and not a part of the procurement process push for Mr. Alao to request a ‘Best and Final Offer’ (BAFO) from the bidders even though Fort Myer’s bid was so much higher than Gilbane’s bid? Also, I question whether Ft. Myer received inside information which allowed them to reallocate their costs in a way that resulted in their cost allocation score going from zero points in their initial bid to 26 points in their BAFO, the latter enabling Fort Myer to take a slim lead in points over Gilbane despite the fact that their bid remained almost $10 million dollars higher than Gilbane’s. The level of precision in cost reallocation seems to point, in my view, to some insider knowledge. How else to explain the dramatic swings in pricing at the BAFO stage without any change to the technical aspects of Fort Myer’s proposal?”
The decision calls into question the City Administrator’s statements that Mr. Alao engaged in “indefensible procurement practices” and failed to “fairly and appropriately, within guidelines, policy, and practice administer procurement solicitations in the District of Columbia.” The decision also belies Rob Hawkins’ statement that Mr. Alao sought to “undermine local and minority businesses.” According to the Administration these purported failures led to Mr. Alao’s termination. In a scathing rebuke of these false statements, the CAB specifically determined that Mr. Alao’s “award decision was reasonable and consistent with the evaluation criteria and procurement law.” This finding is inconsistent with the stated reasons for Mr. Alao’s termination, which appears to be retaliation for his failure to recommend award of the St. Elizabeths and Buzzard Point contracts to Fort Myer.
The Chambers Firm has offices in DC and Silver Spring, Maryland. The principal of the firm, Darrell Chambers has over 18 years of litigation experience. He is a former Section Chief in the Civil Litigation Division of the DC Attorney General’s Office.
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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Darrell Chambers, Esq. at (202) 507-6273, (240) 638-2831, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.