- Ohio Gov. John Kasich cruising to re-election: survey
- Landslide hits Indian village; 150 may be trapped
- Albania bank loses $7M in theft; police arrest 2
- Gov. Mike Pence irked as Obama sends illegals to Indiana on sly
- Israel, White House say Obama phone call to demand cease-fire was fake
- Nancy Pelosi: Deporting kids un-Christian, sends them ‘into a burning building’
- Islamist militants seize special forces base in Benghazi, Libya
- Feds sue Pennsylvania State Police over women’s fitness tests
- Israel accused of striking U.N. school, killing at least 15
- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
D.C. hospital contract exposes defects
Insiders call process ‘broken,’ ‘illogical’
Question of the Day
In Horace McCormack’s mind, the lucrative contract to “turn around” city-owned United Medical Center was in the bag.
Chicago-based Huron Healthcare, a finalist in a competitive bid process overseen by the D.C. Office of Contracts and Procurements, had partnered with Mr. McCormack’s firm, HGM Management and Technologies, to comply with a small and local business set-aside requirement.
But the multimillion-dollar contract aimed at salvaging the only hospital in the District east of the Anacostia River suddenly slipped through Mr. McCormack’s grasp when he discovered his firm did not meet the District’s certification requirements for small businesses.
For Huron, the consequences appeared equally grim: D.C. procurement law states that failure to include a certified local small business in an original bid proposal can be grounds for disqualification.
Instead, the defect in Huron’s bid, the steps that contracting officials took to rectify it and the response among competitors typified what is wrong with local small-business involvement in city contracts and the procurement process in general, according to elected officials and members of the business community.
Among those problems, critics say, is the involvement of well-connected “consultants” outside the contracting process who become a distraction or cause of anxiety for competitors wary of improper influence.
Huron executives testified Thursday at a D.C. Council hearing that they partnered with HGM as the local firm was in the process of becoming recertified by the Department of Small and Local Business Development.
In reality, HGM was having its certification denied when best-and-final offers were being presented to contracting officials.
In an email dated Dec. 12, Melissa Resil, a business certification manager with the small-business department, wrote to Mr. McCormack and asked why he had failed to confirm that 100 percent of the firm’s revenue was “derived from transactions in the District.”
She also asked him to submit tax returns from Virginia, where officials located a residence and storage facility apparently connected to HGM’s revenues.
“This is totally unprofessional and unjust!” he wrote. “We intend to fight this CASE!!! The PROCESS IS BROKEN! It needs to be fixed!!!”
That denial caused Huron to turn to controversial mayoral campaign fundraiser Reuben O. Charles for help in seeking a replacement — a move that competitors claimed should not have been allowed.
After contracting officials ordered a second round of best-and-final offers that allowed Huron to stay in the competition, and Huron went on to win the award, the contract price jumped from $10 million to $12.7 million.
Mr. McCormack was not the only small-businessman crying foul.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
TWT Video Picks
- Patent workers paid to exercise, shop, do chores: report
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- CARSON: Rudderless U.S. foreign policy
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Obama mum on where illegal immigrant children are sheltered
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of politicizing business
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Kerry's credibility questioned as fighting in Gaza rages
- Fla. mom arrested for allowing 7-year-old son to walk to park alone
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world