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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

NetCentrics still fighting for $268.5M DOD contract

NetCentrics is pushing back against an allegation that it pulled a bait-and-switch when it bid on an IT support contract with the Defense Department’s Joint Service Provider organization.

The company was the incumbent on the $268.5 million contract and won the recompete, but a protest by NCI Information Systems led DOD to pull the contract and eventually award it to NCI.

A sticking point here was the program manager NetCentrics included in its bid. The person was an employee when NetCentrics submitted its bid. But by the time award was made, he had left the company.

NCI raised this point with DOD, which then determined NetCentrics made a “material misrepresentation.”

NetCentrics has lost protests at both the Government Accountability Office and U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The company is now taking its case to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, contending there was no intention to mislead.

In its latest filing, NetCentrics says it informed the contracting officer of the person’s change in status. When the protest was at GAO, NetCentrics provided a letter from the person saying he would be available to work for them on the effective date on the contract.

GAO asked for a sworn affidavit, but the person told NetCentrics that he didn’t want to get involved in the protest.

The person has since changed his mind and again stated his willingness to come back to NetCentrics.

NetCentrics argues that it was disqualified from its biggest contract “based on a suspicion that it had been misleading,” the company writes in its filing with the appeals court. “Despite the weight of evidence that there was no falsity and no finding of intent to deceive.”

The company is arguing the Court of Federal Claims made an error when it upheld the decision by the DOD contracting officer. The court ruled that the officer was “within her discretion by inferring that NetCentrics” submitted a false statement, even if the statement was unintentional.

A second error by the court was its decision not to allow new evidence in NetCentrics’ favor, the company argues. NetCentrics wanted to submit a letter from the former employee stating he planned to return when the company won the contract. The court rejected that evidence because it would not “clearly” change the outcome.

No hearings have been scheduled. For now, NCI is working on the contract after NetCentrics’ request for an injunction on the work was denied.

This is no small matter for NetCentrics. When the company lost the injunction request in the fall, it had to lay off 95 employees.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Feb 24, 2020 at 11:37 AM

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