B-171550, B-171565, B-171629, B-171631, MAY 3, 1971

B-171550,B-171631,B-171629,B-171565: May 3, 1971

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BID PROTEST - SUSPENSION FROM DOING BUSINESS - FRAUD ADVISING WITH RESPECT TO THE PROTEST OF BOSTON PNEUMATICS AGAINST THE OPENING OF BIDS UNDER VARIOUS SOLICITATIONS BECAUSE IT WAS NOT GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO SUBMIT BIDS. THAT IT WAS SUSPENDED. PROTESTANT WAS SUSPENDED FROM DOING BUSINESS WITH THE GOVERNMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 1-1.605-1 OF THE FPR BECAUSE GSA HAD ADEQUATE EVIDENCE UPON WHICH TO SUSPECT IT OF FRAUD IN PERFORMANCE OF A CONTRACT. A CONTINUANCE OF THE SUSPENSION IS ALLOWED WHEN REQUESTED AS WAS DONE IN THIS CASE. KEPHART AND KOSTOS FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAMS OF DECEMBER 15. BECAUSE BP WAS NOT SENT COPIES OF THE INVITATIONS ISSUED BY THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (GSA) OR GIVEN OPPORTUNITIES TO SUBMIT BIDS.

B-171550, B-171565, B-171629, B-171631, MAY 3, 1971

BID PROTEST - SUSPENSION FROM DOING BUSINESS - FRAUD ADVISING WITH RESPECT TO THE PROTEST OF BOSTON PNEUMATICS AGAINST THE OPENING OF BIDS UNDER VARIOUS SOLICITATIONS BECAUSE IT WAS NOT GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO SUBMIT BIDS, THAT IT WAS SUSPENDED, IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS FROM DOING BUSINESS WITH THE FEDERAL SUPPLY AGENCY. PROTESTANT WAS SUSPENDED FROM DOING BUSINESS WITH THE GOVERNMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 1-1.605-1 OF THE FPR BECAUSE GSA HAD ADEQUATE EVIDENCE UPON WHICH TO SUSPECT IT OF FRAUD IN PERFORMANCE OF A CONTRACT. WHILE THE INVESTIGATION BY THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT MUST BE COMPLETED WITHIN 12 MONTHS, A CONTINUANCE OF THE SUSPENSION IS ALLOWED WHEN REQUESTED AS WAS DONE IN THIS CASE, TO COMPLETE THE INVESTIGATION.

TO STASSEN, KEPHART AND KOSTOS

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAMS OF DECEMBER 15, 17 AND 31, 1970, PROTESTING ON BEHALF OF BOSTON PNEUMATICS (BP), AGAINST THE OPENING OF BIDS UNDER SOLICITATIONS NOS. FPNTP-B8-31815; 6PR-W-65315-B F; 6PR-W- 59744-HH-F; AND 6PR-W-61229-KI-F, RESPECTIVELY, BECAUSE BP WAS NOT SENT COPIES OF THE INVITATIONS ISSUED BY THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (GSA) OR GIVEN OPPORTUNITIES TO SUBMIT BIDS.

IN SUBSEQUENT LETTERS OF DECEMBER 30, 1970, JANUARY 15, AND FEBRUARY 24, 1971, YOU STATE THAT ALTHOUGH BP WAS ARBITRARILY SUSPENDED FROM BIDDING ABOUT A YEAR AGO, BP HAS NOT BEEN ADVISED OF THE CHARGES PLACED AGAINST IT, AND HAS NOT BEEN GIVEN A CHANCE TO BE HEARD. YOU APPEAL TO OUR OFFICE TO ARRANGE A MEETING AMONG ALL INTERESTED PARTIES SO THAT THE CHARGES AND THE FACTS MAY BE PLACED ON THE TABLE TO BE JUDGED FAIRLY.

IN ITS REPORT TO OUR OFFICE, GSA ADVISES THAT BY LETTERS DATED FEBRUARY 11, 1970, FORWARDED BY CERTIFIED MAIL, BOTH BP AND ITS PRESIDENT WERE ADVISED THAT BOTH WERE, EFFECTIVE THAT DATE, SUSPENDED FROM DOING BUSINESS WITH THE FEDERAL SUPPLY SERVICE IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 1-1.605-1 OF THE FEDERAL PROCUREMENT REGULATION (FPR), BECAUSE GSA HAD ADEQUATE EVIDENCE UPON WHICH TO SUSPECT THAT BP WAS GUILTY OF FRAUD IN THE PERFORMANCE OF A GSA CONTRACT. ON FEBRUARY 25, 1970, THE MATTER WAS REFERRED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FOR INVESTIGATION, WHICH UNDER THE REGULATIONS, MUST BE COMPLETED WITHIN 12 MONTHS UNLESS PROSECUTIVE ACTION HAS BEEN INITIATED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE OR AN ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL REQUESTS CONTINUANCE OF THE SUSPENSION. IN THIS REGARD, WE ARE ADVISED THAT SUCH A REQUEST WAS MADE ON FEBRUARY 8, 1971, FOR AN EXTENSION OF SIX MONTHS FROM FEBRUARY 11, 1971.

THE APPLICABLE REGULATIONS CONCERNING THE SUSPENSION OF BIDDERS ARE SET OUT IN SUBPART 1-1.605 OF THE FEDERAL PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS (FPR). THOSE REGULATIONS PROVIDE THAT AN AGENCY MAY SUSPEND A FIRM OR INDIVIDUAL SUSPECTED, UPON ADEQUATE EVIDENCE, OF COMMITTING A FRAUD IN THE PERFORMANCE OF A GOVERNMENT CONTRACT, OR ANY OTHER OFFENSE EVIDENCING A LACK OF BUSINESS INTEGRITY OR BUSINESS HONESTY WHICH SERIOUSLY AND DIRECTLY AFFECTS THE QUESTION OF PRESENT RESPONSIBILITY AS A GOVERNMENT CONTRACTOR. SUBPART 1-1.602 OF FPR PROVIDES THAT BIDS WILL NOT BE SOLICITED OR CONSIDERED FROM SUCH FIRMS.

WHILE THE LENGTH OF TIME DURING WHICH BP HAS BEEN SUSPENDED WITHOUT A HEARING MAKES YOUR CONCERN UNDERSTANDABLE, THE PERIOD OF SUSPENSION IS STILL WITHIN THAT SET OUT IN THE REGULATIONS. IN VIEW THEREOF, AND SINCE THE DELAY APPEARS TO BE ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WHICH HAS REQUESTED AN ADDITIONAL SIX MONTHS TO COMPLETE ITS INVESTIGATION, WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT INTERVENTION BY THIS OFFICE WOULD BE JUSTIFIED AT THIS TIME.

CONSEQUENTLY, YOUR REQUEST MUST BE DENIED.