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Worth Reading: NY Times reviews JEDI contract

Most contracts we write about don’t end up in the New York Times. But when the price tag is $10 billion and there are allegations of improper conduct, it is probably too much for the Gray Lady to resist.

The New York Times today published a piece on the controversy surrounding the Defense Department’s $10 billion JEDI cloud computing contract.

The piece is good but it doesn’t really break new ground. Still, I think it is worth a read.

It puts most of the focus on Deap Ubhi, who worked at Amazon and then left to work at DOD before returning to Amazon.

While at DOD, he did some of the early market research behind the JEDI solicitation but recused himself after about two months because Amazon was looking to acquire a company he founded called Tablehero, a restaurant reservation platform.

Shortly after recusing himself, he left DOD and rejoined Amazon.

In its lawsuit against DOD, Oracle charges that Ubhi’s work on JEDI and then return to Amazon is a conflict of interest. Amazon and the government have denied that there is a problem but the inspector general and the FBI have made preliminary inquiries that could lead to a criminal investigation.

DOD also said it has new information on the Ubhi’s role and taking a second look at some of its earlier decisions to approve Ubhi to work on JEDI.

Oracle has filed a lawsuit at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims but the court has paused it while DOD re-investigates.The Times article does have at least one new tidbit: Amazon never bought Ubhi’s Tablehero company.

And one of Ubhi’s investors says he can’t reach Ubhi. “We have written off this investment, unfortunately,” Dheeraj Jain told the Times. “And we are not happy about it.”

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Mar 21, 2019 at 8:45 AM


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