- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
D.C. can’t account for $1 billion for development
Developers not meeting city requirements for small enterprises
Question of the Day
Despite a booming commercial real estate industry that is the envy of almost every U.S. city, the District of Columbia is unable to account for more than $1 billion of public/private funding in fiscal 2012 intended for local, small- and minority-owned businesses, according to a city report.
And while Mayor Vincent C. Gray recently pledged to reform the dysfunctional program, known as Certified Business Enterprises, or CBEs, nearly a third of his appointees to a 17-member task force charged with recommending reforms come from companies found by the D.C. auditor to be involved with projects that failed to file required expenditure reports or meet CBE participation goals last year.
Some of the biggest construction companies in the city have been engaged in commercial projects for years that fall far below the required goal of 35 percent CBE participation. Some are involved with projects that neglected to file a report for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, as required by CBE agreements.
Only 25 of 247 development projects met expenditure goals and filed reports for fiscal 2012, the auditor’s report states. Meanwhile, 54 companies submitted the reports yet failed to meet CBE goals, and 168 failed to even file the disclosures.
With a total CBE expenditure goal of $1.4 billion last year, only $33.5 million could be accounted for as having met or exceeded individual project goals, the report states.
“Until [the Department of Small and Local Business Development] is able to determine the current status of those projects and assess the business opportunities provided, [the department] will be unable to determine the impact the construction projects had on the economic growth and stability of the impacted communities,” the report concludes.
The CBE program aims to stimulate and expand the District’s local tax base while “increasing the number of viable employment opportunities for District residents and extending economic prosperity to local business owners,” according to the report.
But while the report stops short of determining whether penalties of up to 25 percent of the CBE expenditure goal should apply, it raises questions for the very firms whose principals are charged with helping to fix the program.
Some of those principals told The Washington Times that as project managers, they are not responsible for filing CBE reports or ensuring compliance. Others declined to comment.
Harold Pettigrew, former director of the Department of Small and Local Business Development, said he was reticent to criticize the report; however, he described it as a “snapshot” of a program the department is not adequately funded to police.
A number of prominent figures on the mayor’s task force are involved with projects detailed in the report.
The report, for example, states that a $763,103 payment to “Hines Interests LP East Region” for the Association of American Medical Colleges Headquarters Project was misreported as a CBE expenditure. Bill Alsup, senior vice president of development at Hines said the association is responsible for filing CBE reports and that it was a clerical error.
Jair Lynch Development is project manager on a Capital Area Food Bank project that has seen zero dollars spent on CBE participation despite an expenditure goal of $6.3 million, according to the report. The company also is project manager at the Shaw Campus of KIPP D.C., a network of public charter schools where zero dollars have been spent toward a CBE expenditure goal of $4.2 million, the report states.
CBE expenditures at the Unity Health Care-Upper Cardozo Community Health Center, another project that Jair Lynch manages, could not be determined, because no report was filed for fiscal 2012. A representative of Mr. Lynch referred questions to the sponsors of the projects.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Luke Rosiak is a projects reporter on The Washington Times’ investigative team. He formerly covered lobbying and campaign finance for two watchdog groups as well as transportation for The Washington Post. Luke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Md. couple indicted in scheme to cheat SBA on minority contracts
- As federal agencies trim fat, contracts feed billions in profits to 59 companies
- Conflict of interest in $4 billion government minority program
- $4 billion program for disadvantaged businesses lacks oversight
- Maryland's minority-contracting program gets failing grade on 'graduation'
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- Washington Times strikes content and marketing partnership with Redskins
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- CURL: Obama, staffers not even pretending any more
- DCCC raising money on suggestion Obama impeachment is imminent
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Federal judge rules D.C. ban on handguns in public is unconstitutional
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq