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Two DHS contractors suspended in SBA probe
The SBA action follows a Washington Post investigation of abuses in the federal government's small business programs for Alaska native corporations. The Post detailed the relationship between GTSI, EG Solutions and MultimaxArray. GTSI was part owner of EG Solutions with Eyak Technology, an Alaska native corporate subsidiary.
Court filings and internal DHS documents obtained by The Post show that department officials have received numerous reports over a two-year period questioning whether EG Solutions and MultimaxArray were improperly passing business along to GTSI.
DHS officials took no action against those firms, even after the SBA noted in its Oct. 1 suspension of GTSI that "there is evidence that GTSI's prime contractors had little or no involvement in the performance of the contracts, in direct contravention of applicable laws and regulations."
Three days later, DHS issued a statement saying: "At this time we have no information to suggest any misconduct relating to the First Source program."
The warnings started in September 2008, when another First Source contractor accused MultimaxArray of working as a front for GTSI. But a DHS contracting official actively downplayed the concerns in a letter to the SBA, which was responsible for assessing the protest.
The protester's evidence "proves nothing other than GTSI is playing a role as a source for the computer equipment that will be purchased under the awarded delivery order," contracting officer Laura Zuchowski wrote in a Sept. 26, 2008, letter to the SBA.
Last year, Mae Kim, a contracting official responsible for overseeing First Source, voiced concerns that EG Solutions and MultimaxArray had engaged in "suspicious" activity on the contract, documents show.
"I want them to play fair," Kim wrote in an Oct. 28, 2009, e-mail seeking guidance from Kevin Boshears, chief of the department's small business procurement program.
Boshears and other DHS contracting officials declined to be interviewed, but officials have previously said the department reviewed the relationships between the firms and "ensured that all prime contractors were properly performing their role."