WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

GAO closes door on OASIS protester

The Government Accountability Office denied a request for reconsideration from Aljucar, Anvil-Incus & Co. and Rudy Sutherland, who objected to the joint venture requirements in the General Services Administration’s $60 billion OASIS contract.

GAO earlier denied Aljucar’s protest that the GSA was too restrictive when it said it would not look at the past performance of the individual members of a joint venture. They would only consider the past performance of the joint venture itself.

Aljucar argued that restriction was unfair to small businesses and wouldn’t let them form joint ventures specifically to pursue OASIS, GSA’s huge contract for complex professional services.

GAO sided with GSA, finding that the agency justified the restriction because its market research showed that joint ventures that didn’t have a history of working together presented a higher risk than experienced joint ventures.

To prevail in a reconsideration, Aljucar needed to show that GAO made an error of fact or law.

The company, which is an advisory firm representing the interests of small businesses, repeated its contention that the GSA restrictions on OASIS were too burdensome for most companies. That argument was not a basis for reconsideration, GAO said.

Aljucar also presented GAO with an Office of Management and Budget guidance document on how to collect and use past performance information. GAO rejected this because the guidance wasn’t part of Aljucar’s original protest.

“A party’s failure to make all arguments or submit all information available during the course of the initial protest undermines the goals of our bid protest forum--to produce fair and equitable decisions based on consideration of both parties’ arguments on a fully developed record--and cannot justify reconsideration of our prior decision,” GAO wrote. “Since [Aljucar] knew, or should have known, about these authorities at the time of its initial protest, it may not rely on them now as a basis for reconsideration.”

The question remains on whether this is the end of the line for Aljucar and its leader Rudy Sutherland.

He also leads a group called the Voice of Small Business in America. He’s argued since the release of the OASIS solicitation that the large business portion of the contract was unfair to small business.

His protests to GSA and GAO have been denied at nearly every turn. The next step would be the Court of Federal Claims.

We’ll keep you posted.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Mar 21, 2014 at 9:24 AM

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