B-232731, Oct 12, 1988

B-232731: Oct 12, 1988

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Cannot be considered an interested party under the General Accounting Office's Bid Protest Regulations to maintain a protest that it was improperly found nonresponsible. Lionhart contends that the agency's determination of nonresponsibility was based upon the improper rejection of a staff member who Lionhart says complied with the solicitation's qualification requirements. The protest is dismissed. The record shows that Lionhart was the apparent low bidder. The agency found one candidate was qualified and the other was not qualified. The protester sought to persuade the agency that the remaining candidate was qualified. Indicate that the protester was otherwise responsible and if it received the award it must produce a qualified applicant.

B-232731, Oct 12, 1988

PROCUREMENT - Bid Protests - GAO procedures - Interested parties DIGEST: A protester, who willingly permits its bid to expire, renders itself ineligible for award and, therefore, cannot be considered an interested party under the General Accounting Office's Bid Protest Regulations to maintain a protest that it was improperly found nonresponsible.

Lionhart Group, Ltd.:

Lionhart Group, Ltd., protests the Department of the Army's purported nonresponsibility determination under request for proposals (RFP) No. DABT01-88-B-1049 for learning lab instructor services. Lionhart contends that the agency's determination of nonresponsibility was based upon the improper rejection of a staff member who Lionhart says complied with the solicitation's qualification requirements.

The protest is dismissed.

The record shows that Lionhart was the apparent low bidder. In response to a preaward survey request, Lionhart provided documents to substantiate the qualifications of its two teaching candidates proposed for the contract. The agency found one candidate was qualified and the other was not qualified. The qualified candidate then declined to work for the protester. The protester sought to persuade the agency that the remaining candidate was qualified, but the agency refused to change its determination.

Lionhart reports that the agency did, however, indicate that the protester was otherwise responsible and if it received the award it must produce a qualified applicant. The protester then informed the agency that it would not protest if the award was made to the second low bidder, nor request that the responsibility determination be referred to the Small Business Administration for a certificate of competency (COC). Lionhart did advise the agency, however, that it intended to protest the nonresponsibility determination of its teaching candidate and seek to recover bid preparation costs. The agency subsequently requested that Lionhart extend its bid expiration date but Lionhart refused to extend its bid, which then expired on September 13. Lionhart's protest was filed in our Office on September 26.

We find that Lionhart is not an interested party entitled to a bid protest decision on the merits under our Bid Protest Regulations. C.F.R. Sec. 21.1(a) (1988). Since Lionhart willingly permitted its bid to expire, it became ineligible for award. Therefore, whether or not the protester had properly been determined responsible, it could not receive the award. Consequently, Lionhart is not an interested party eligible to maintain a protest before the General Accounting Office. See Co-Mate Construction Co., B-213494, Jan. 4, 1984, 84-1 CPD Para. 52.

Accordingly, the protest is dismissed. Since we dismiss the protest, Lionhart's claim for reimbursement of its bid preparation costs is denied.