GAO lists Tampa contractor in report on fraud in government program
A Tampa company got a $900,000 Air Force contract through a program benefiting veteran-owned businesses but funneled the job to another firm, according to a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
The GAO report on fraud and abuse cites 10 examples in which firms obtained $100 million in contracts under the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program. The Tampa case involves Furniture Fixtures & Equipment Office Solutions, which got the $900,000 contract through MacDill Air Force Base to design and install furniture.
But the company, which consists of one man and is based at a mail box rental store, passed along the work to a furniture dealer his wife works for, according to the report. The man also works full-time at MacDill.
From the GAO: "This award is questionable on three counts: the SDVOSB owner’s full-time job with another employer should make it impossible for him to manage and control daily business operations on a large SDVOSB contract; the contract work was passed through to the manufacturer; and the owner’s daily interactions with Air Force personnel on base create the perception of preferential treatment. In addition, as shown in figure 2 below, the legitimacy of the SDVOSB firm is also in question because the firm’s physical address is the owner’s home and its mailing address is a mail-box rental store."
"When questioned, contracting officials at the base stated that they were aware that the SDVOSB firm owner was also a DOD contract employee and that he would likely not perform a majority of the work on the contract. Nevertheless, they felt the contract was awarded appropriately."