“VSC was unknown to the contracting officer when the lottery proposals were being evaluated, unknown to the Mayor when he submitted the contract package to the Council, and the details of its agreement with Intralot were unknown to the Council when it considered and then approved the contract,” he wrote.
The Times in recent weeks has published reports that show VSC boasted on its corporate website of general contracting experience from federal jobs it did not perform for government clients who had never heard of it, and that president and CEO Emmanuel S. Bailey has a messy employment history and has been involved with troubled businesses and lawsuits.
Although a number of council members have ties to Mr. Bailey, the most influential is Mr. Gray, who worked with Mr. Bailey’s mother, Barbara, a principal with VSC, during the 1990s at the D.C. Department of Human Services (DHS).
In October 2008, Mr. Gray met with Mr. Bailey and Intralot’s lobbyist, Kevin P. Chavous, and discussed the lottery — even as a previous award to Intralot and a different partner was pending before the council.
Mr. Bailey recalled that he left the meeting with “a good feeling.” Documents obtained by The Times show that he told people he could count on Mr. Gray’s support, and he said he offered his assistance to Intralot’s then-partner, W2Tech.
Once the contract was re-bid, in early 2009, Mr. Bailey set up VSC as a corporation based in his mother’s house in Southeast Washington. He hired a former Florida lottery official and applied for VSC to become a certified business entity in D.C.
Mr. Nickles first objected in a letter to Mr. Gandhi on June 25 that the VSC-Intralot partnership agreement was not formally submitted to the council or the CFO for approval, and that no further vetting of Mr. Bailey, VSC or DC09 occurred.
He has been particularly critical that the lack of vetting is in contrast to the first lottery contract award, which resulted in deep scrutiny of Intralot’s first partner, and the vetting of a separate local firm that was disqualified during the second procurement.
In his letter Tuesday, Mr. Nickles asked Mr. Willoughby to determine whether the council should have returned the lottery contract to Mr. Gandhi’s office “when the Council became aware that Intralot was adding major players to the team,” and whether Mr. Gandhi’s office should conduct further inquiry into “VSC’s capability to serve as the Operations Manager for the contract.”
Mr. Nickles told The Times he called for the investigation rather than conducting it himself to head off accusations that his political allegiance to Mr. Fenty could influence the probe and to ensure subpoena power is available to investigators.
The Office of Inspector General is the city’s main agency that investigates allegations of misconduct by D.C. government employees and contractors. The inspector general has the authority to refer evidence of criminal violations to the U.S. Department of Justice.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Jeffrey Anderson is an investigative reporter for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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