- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The D.C. government has barred a former consultant to the city’s technology office from doing business with the District because he pleaded guilty to a criminal conflict-of-interest charge nearly three years ago.

John Izzard III, a former program manager at the D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Officer, was charged in 2003 with seeking about $36,000 from a vendor in exchange for helping the firm win D.C. government contracts, authorities said.

Mr. Izzard’s duties as a private consultant at the technology office included recommending contracting actions to city officials, authorities said.

The panel, in a letter to Mr. Izzard last month, wrote “there is no public purpose to be served for the District to contract with a contractor that committed a serious violation.”

The ruling bans him from city contracts or subcontracts until next year.

An attorney for Mr. Izzard yesterday said his client is considering whether to appeal the panel’s decision.

“He’s trying to get by on other work, but this is the equivalent of taking the license away from a doctor or a lawyer,” said William R. Buie III, attorney for Mr. Izzard. “The stakes are very high.”

In a letter to the panel, Mr. Izzard last year argued that “payment was never requested nor demanded” of D.C.-based HMS Co.

Also in his letter to city officials, Mr. Izzard said he disputed the accusations in the indictment against him.

“No invoice was ever generated or provided,” he wrote.

But the debarment panel said the guilty plea weighed heavily in its ruling against Mr. Izzard.

The panel told Mr. Izzard in its letter to him, “You have a criminal conviction … for which debarment is appropriate.”

Panel members also ruled that “conviction for soliciting payment from a D.C. contractor … goes to the heart of the integrity of the procurement process.”

According to authorities, Mr. Izzard had asked the owner of HMS for about $36,000, saying he was entitled to money the company was receiving under its contract with the city’s technology office.

He was sentenced to one year of probation and paid a $1,000 fine as a result of the plea deal with federal authorities in 2003.

The panel’s ruling against Mr. Izzard was not unanimous. Four board members voted for the two-year ban. A fifth board member, Eric Payne, while voting for debarment, said a two-year ban was too severe.

The panel had banned Mr. Izzard from city contracts for two years, but it also gave him credit for nearly one year served. He was declared ineligible for contract work when city officials first proposed his debarment in March 2005.

The panel informed Mr. Izzard of its final ruling in its letter to him last month.

Meanwhile, the panel continues to weigh actions against another local contractor who has found himself in legal trouble in recent years.

Fernando J. Villegas and his company, International Builders Inc., face being barred after he pleaded guilty in 2004 to a scheme to bribe a former deputy director of the D.C. property management office.

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