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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Jimenez, SBA end debarment proceedings

The dark cloud is finally starting to lift from over Tony Jimenez and his company, MicroTech.

Jimenez has signed an agreement with the Small Business Administration that lifts the notice of proposed debarment against him and clears the way for him to return to work as the CEO of the company he founded.

SBA and MicroTech, the company, reached an agreement in January that ended the debarment procedures against the firm, but negotiations were continuing with Jimenez.

Since January, Jimenez has not been allowed to participate in day-to-day operations of the company.

MicroTech and SBA were set on a collision course after a series of Washington Post stories in November accused the company of misrepresenting itself to win small business contracts.

SBA proposed a debarment of the company on Dec. 20 – which effectively stopped it from bidding on new business – while it investigated the Post allegations. (I questioned this process in earlier blogs because it lacks due process.)

While the Post outlined a variety of allegations, SBA’s investigation zeroed in on MicroTech’s application to become part of the 8(a) small business program back in 2005. There were some inaccuracies in that application in how MicroTech’s relationship with two other companies was described.

The companies shared investors, which is apparently what bothered SBA.

Repeatedly in the agreement between MicroTech and SBA, MicroTech is quoted as affirming that its connection with those two companies didn't run afoul of any SBA regulations. And SBA seems to agree.

With the agreement signed this week, SBA says it is satisfied that Jimenez’s “future dealings with the Government, if any, will be conducted responsibly” if Jimenez meets certain requirements.

One requirement is that Jimenez sign MicroTech’s code of ethics.

In a second requirement, Jimenez agrees to participate in contracts compliance training as directed by the company and according to a schedule the company will provide to SBA.

Jimenez also has voluntarily agreed that he cannot resume the CEO position until May 18, but he can meet with bankers and financial institutions and meet with distributors and manufacturing partners.

The agreement also includes other requirements such as Jimenez’s cooperation with SBA going forward.

In a phone call, Jimenez sounded relieved and said that his top priority is rebuilding his company, and he has his work cut out for him. While he didn’t talk revenue, MicroTech has lost more than 100 people because of lost business opportunities. The company now has 190 employees.

“This impacted my business, my reputation and the reputation of my company,” he said. “But the people who know us and trust us still see us as a responsible company.”

He can point to two recent contract wins as being proof – the Air Force NetCents 2 contract for network operations and infrastructure and the GSA OASIS contract for professional services.

“Those are desirable contracts,” he said, and show that government customers trust MicroTech.

He’s also quick to point out that none of the allegations against MicroTech involved accusations that it did poor quality work.

“We have dozens of repeat customers,” he said. “No one said we were a poor performer.”

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Apr 01, 2014 at 9:22 AM

Reader Comments

Fri, Apr 11, 2014 Roy Barrera San Antonio

Great article Nick and its great to hear that MicroTech and their CEO have finally been cleared despite the fact that we all know the SBA only reacted because this one was high visibility. Had MicroTech and Jimenez never been a Robert O’Harrow target the SBA would have continued to sing the praises of MicroTech and Tony Jimenez. Now the Post articles and SBA’s action have us wondering why this was handled so poorly and why MicroTech and their CEO’s treatment was so prejudicial and inconsistent. Unfortunately we all know it is really about the Post attacking a Small Business success story in order to show that Government set-aside programs lack oversight and the SBA and Air Force were not smart enough to realize that helping Robert O’Harrow take down MicroTech and Jimenez by leaking Government documents to Robert O’Harrow and the Post hurt them and their small business programs also and was not only unethical it was illegal. In fact after sensitive Air Force documents were leaked to O’Harrow the Air Force immediately pointed fingers at the SBA as the source of the leak and went back to business as though nothing had happened. It came from their office yet there was no investigation, no call for action they just swept it under the carpet and moved on despite the fact that it was unethical and illegal and someone in either their organization or the SBA had done it! In your article “Is SBA MIA on contractor fraud” you raised some very good points about the SBA putting the cart before the horse and proposing MicroTech and their CEO for Debarment based exclusively on information provided by others like the Washington Post. When you look at how the government treated MicroTech, it’s CEO, and the damaging effects their treatment had on MicroTech employees and compare that to the treatment of Anthony Bilby or Thomas Flynn’s company - and Castillo’s company - Strong Castle, companies involved in Government fraud cases and even murder cases, it’s confusing! I really think the DOJ Civil Rights Division should spend some time understanding why there is such a lack of consistency in how these three cases were handled and why MicroTech and Jimenez were targeted based on outside influence, they were given no due process, they were proposed for debarment almost immediately, and their only recourse was to reach an agreement or face bankruptcy. This would make a great TV show except everyone would think it was fiction!

Mon, Apr 7, 2014 Randy McMahon West Springfield, Virginia

Hey anonymous, or should I call you Jealous? Let me see if I have this right, you hate Tony because he sponsored the UFC, created hundreds of jobs, gave back to Veterans with the help of the UFC, and became one of the most successful Veteran Entrepreneurs in the Nation and that is just the beginning because (oh my goodness) he made you feel inferior at a staff meeting and refused to use any of your ideas! I cannot imagine how that could be possible considering your arguments are so viable and compelling? No wonder you think he needs to go prison. Grow up Jealous, this is a website for thinking people who are trying to make sense of why the Post would devote seven front page stories to a person because they were successful, won lots of contracts and got a ton of visibility for their company. As far as Tech companies advertising in the UFC, there are dozens including Microsoft (they sponsor Demetrious Johnson) Oakgrove Technology, Salesforce, NUITEQ and dozens of others. You and I both know the only reason Tony got on SBA’s radar was because people like you can’t stomach the fact that somebody is living the dream and if you can’t keep up they must be doing something wrong. The investigations are over and the Post and the Government have moved on so get over it and focus that anger and negative energy toward someone doing something to deserve it.

Sun, Apr 6, 2014 Judy Langston Washington DC

Nick, Thanks for helping us to keep our eye on the facts here rather than believe a story written in the Post that is based on bias and discrimination. You are 100% correct that MicroTech and SBA were on a collision course after a series of Washington Post stories in November accusing MicroTech of misrepresenting itself to win small business contracts, but when you read the SBA letter and the agreement MicroTech and SBA reached it’s about errors in an application from 2005 not about if they are a Small Business or not because the fact is they are and have always been a Small Business. Fact is Jimenez was eligible for the 8(a) program when he applied and SBA knows its. Jimenez was not affiliated with MicroLink or GovWare and even if they were affiliated the combined size of the three was well under $25M it would not have had any material effect on the application. As far as the comment that the CEO did not sign his own company's code of ethics, well that reader missed it. MicroTech had a code of ethics for more than 10years and everyone at MicroTech is aware of it. Ethics is part of the culture and the CEO has signed it every year since it was instituted and as far as setting the example. Mr. Jimenez talks the talk but he also walks the walk. Other CEOs could learn a great deal from him and many have.

Sun, Apr 6, 2014 Proud American Washington DC

Nick, It took a lot of courage for you to stand up to the Post the way you did and hundreds people who work at MicroTech appreciate what you did. People forget that Tony was not the only person hurt by those attacks. Most of the folks who worked at MicroTech had seen O’Harrow in action before and knew the Gov would do what they do and assume guilty until proven innocent and they did. MicroTech lost hundreds of jobs and lots of people spent Christmas and New Year’s praying they would have a job to go back to and that MicroTech would survive and all because the Post said MicroTech might be guilty! Now I read a comment from Mel saying it’s a rite of passage? You have got to be kidding me? This was all based on an application filled out 10 years ago by a consultant? My understanding is the SBA found a 10 year old error but nothing they found would have stopped MicroTech from being certified and that is why MicroTech was reinstated.

Thu, Apr 3, 2014

This by no means puts him off the hook. As a matter of fact he is still being investigated over the fact that he was being used as a puppet leader with other corporation pulling his strings. This idiot dumped tons of money into advertising on sponsoring MMA fighters.... MMA fighters? ah yes all tech companies are rushing to do that. This was a juvenile fantasy that he spent who knows how much money so he could live out a child's fantasy. This is just the tip of the iceberg. I have personally been there for meetings this guy holds. They are just ego trips and talking down to everyone he can, unwilling to even listen to ideas outside of his own little box he lives in. There is no way this person should be running a company. This is a shill so that the puppet masters can make money off this, and Tony is just getting fat off the money from kick backs he gets from these people. A lot of people invested time into this company and gave up really good situations to just be fired due to this idiots ridiculous scam. I hope that any further investigations keeps this company on its knees. this guy should be in prison.

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