A consultant for MicroTechnologies LLC, one of the federal government’s most prominent small-business contractors, said the firm’s founder authorized him to submit information to the Small Business Administration in 2005 that the agency later said “appears to be a complete fabrication,” the consultant told The Washington Post on Thursday.
Alanson R. Anderson said MicroTech founder Anthony R. Jimenez provided the material included in a successful SBA application for entrance into the SBA’s 8(a) program for small, disadvantaged businesses, qualifying for preferential treatment, including contracts awarded without competition.
At the time, Anderson was president of Sourcetec Corp., a small-business consultancy retained to guide Jimenez through the application process.
MicroTech’s application included statements in response to SBA questions about the firm’s ties to two other companies. One of the statements said the firm had “no link, relationship, or partnership of any kind” with a firm owned by two MicroTech investors. SBA rules prohibit small and disadvantaged contractors from being overly affiliated with larger firms.
In December, the SBA suspended MicroTech after agency officials said they had new information that Jimenez had provided “false and misleading statements” about the firm’s ownership, operations and ties to other companies. The suspension was triggered when the SBA began a process known as “debarment” that would block MicroTech from future contracts.
The suspension threatened the viability of MicroTech, which has received more than $1 billion since it was formed in 2004, a third of it from contracts reserved for small firms owned by disadvantaged or service-disabled-veteran entrepreneurs.
That action followed stories in The Post that reported that Jimenez made claims that appeared to be inconsistent with internal company documents, government records, and interviews with current and former employees.
On Wednesday, the SBA said it was lifting the ban through an “administrative agreement” because MicroTech was willing to “demonstrate that MicroTech may be trusted to deal fairly and honestly with the Government.”
As part of the deal, Jimenez agreed to step aside as chief executive for 30 days. But he still faces his own debarment proceedings.
In the agreement, the firm acknowledged that statements included in Jimenez’s 2005 application “were not accurate,” but company officials attributed the statements to “MicroTech’s consultant,” the agreement shows.
In an interview, Anderson disputed that characterization. Although Anderson drafted the statements, they were crafted after multiple telephone conversations with Jimenez and were “based on the information he provided,” Anderson said. The implication that he is responsible for the content of the statements is “nonsense,” he said.
Anderson said that he had no reason to provide misleading information on MicroTech’s behalf because he received his $4,490 fee whether or not MicroTech was accepted into the SBA’s program.
“I could not have formulated that response without input from the applicant, Tony Jimenez,” Anderson said. “I can tell you categorically there is no way I ever could or would put those responses together without his input.”
In a brief statement, MicroTech declined to discuss the company’s statements or Anderson’s role.
“The Administrative Agreement between MicroTech and the Small Business Administration speaks for itself on this issue,” the MicroTech statement said.
As part of this week’s agreement, MicroTech also had to make several assertions about its operations, including that “it did not have any significant connection with Microlink,” a larger firm owned by two men who lacked the disadvantaged status and invested in Jimenez’s company.
If any of those assertions is found to be incorrect, the agreement could be terminated and MicroTech again barred from receiving federal contracts, according to SBA spokesman Terry Sutherland.
Inspectors general at the SBA and the General Services Administration are still investigating MicroTech’s contracting activity. Anderson said an SBA official has contacted him to discuss the 2005 SBA application. Anderson said the official told him he could face debarment if he was found to be responsible for the inaccurate statements.