B-241536, Oct 31, 1990, 90-2 CPD ***

B-241536: Oct 31, 1990

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PROCUREMENT - Contractor Qualification - Organizational conflicts of interest - Allegation substantiation - Evidence sufficiency DIGEST: Protest alleging conflict of interest involving agency consultant and awardee firm is dismissed where allegations do not establish likelihood that awardee's alleged prospective employment of consultant improperly influenced evaluation and award. Manoff alleges that award to EDC was improper due to a conflict of interest involving a consultant to the agency who was involved in drafting the RFP. Manoff states that the consultant was named in EDC's proposal and will be joining EDC to work on the project. This requirement contemplates that protesters will provide.

B-241536, Oct 31, 1990, 90-2 CPD ***

PROCUREMENT - Contractor Qualification - Organizational conflicts of interest - Allegation substantiation - Evidence sufficiency DIGEST: Protest alleging conflict of interest involving agency consultant and awardee firm is dismissed where allegations do not establish likelihood that awardee's alleged prospective employment of consultant improperly influenced evaluation and award.

Attorneys

Manoff Group, Inc.:

The Manoff Group, Inc. protests the award of a contract to Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) under request for proposals (RFP) No. W/FA- 90-003, issued by the Agency for International Development for the Infant Feeding Field Support Component of the Women's and Infants' Nutrition Project. Manoff alleges that award to EDC was improper due to a conflict of interest involving a consultant to the agency who was involved in drafting the RFP. Manoff states that the consultant was named in EDC's proposal and will be joining EDC to work on the project.

We dismiss the protest.

Our Regulations provide that a protest shall include a detailed statement of the legal and factual grounds of protest, 4 C.F.R. Sec. 21.1(c)(4) (1990), and that the grounds stated must be legally sufficient. 4 C.F.R. Sec. 21.1(e). This requirement contemplates that protesters will provide, at a minimum, either allegations or evidence sufficient, if uncontradicted, to establish the likelihood of the protester's claim of improper agency action. Professional Medical Prods., Inc., B-231743, July 1, 1988, 88-2 CPD Para. 2.

When a conflict of interest is alleged, our role within the context of a bid protest is to determine whether any action of the individual who previously participated in the procurement on behalf of the government resulted in prejudice for or on behalf of the awardee. AT T Technologies, Inc., B-237069, Jan. 26, 1990, 90-1 CPD Para. 114. There must be hard facts and not mere suspicion or innuendo that a conflict of interest exists before a firm may be excluded from a competition on this basis; the mere employment of an individual who is familiar with the type of work required and helped prepare the specification or statement of work, but who is not privy to the contents of proposals or other inside information concerning the evaluation, does not establish a conflict of interest or confer an unfair competitive advantage. Id.

Manoff's protest, based on "information and belief," does not allege that the consultant was accorded access to inside agency information concerning the procurement, or that the individual's prior employment improperly influenced the evaluation and award. Consequently, Manoff has failed to establish the likelihood that award to EDC was improper. See id. To the extent that Manoff filed its protest in order to obtain more detailed information about the relationships between the parties involved-- Manoff specifically requests it be furnished such information-- the protest is speculative and we will not consider it. See ACCESS for the Handicapped, B-234233, May 15, 1989, 89-1 CPD Para. 458.

The protest is dismissed.