The District's Minority Business Opportunity Commission has accused OAO Services Inc., a firm whose D.C. contracts are under investigation by federal authorities, of participating in the city's minority contracting program through "deceit" and false information.

The commission suspended the firm's certification as a minority bidder in a meeting Wednesday and sent a letter yesterday notifying the company that it plans to revoke the certification. OAO Services has 10 days to seek a hearing on the suspension.

Maudine R. Cooper, the commission's executive director, said an administrative inquiry showed OAO Services had falsely represented that its principal place of business was in the District, when in fact it was operating out of the Greenbelt offices of OAO Corp., its minority-owned parent corporation.

Under the rules of the minority contracting program, only firms headquartered in D.C. can be certified, unless they qualify under strict waiver provisions.

Cecile D. Barker, who owns a controlling interest in OAO Services and OAO Corp., said yesterday that OAO Services qualifies under the program's rules as a D.C.-based company. He blamed the MBOC's action on "a disgruntled competitor and their legal representative."

"OAO vigorously denies any allegations that are made by the MBOC," Barker said.

Federal investigators began looking into how OAO obtained its certification months ago as part of an attempt to determine whether OAO Services and OAO Corp. received favored treatment from city officials.

Three former employes of city agencies told the FBI that their superiors overruled their objections to the commission's certification, sources said. One of them, a commission staff member assigned to review OAO's application, told the FBI he recommended against certification because it appeared to be a front for OAO Corp., sources said.

Certification qualifies firms as minority bidders and allows them to compete for "sheltered market" contracts that make up more than 35 percent of the city's business.

Asked about the federal probe yesterday, Barker said the firm obtained its certification properly and "has never paid a bribe to any person or any government official."

OAO Services and OAO Corp., both computer and data processing firms, have received $11.3 million in contracts from the District government since 1984.

Cooper said the commission's action will not disrupt the firm's current contracts, but it has held up the award of a new $1 million contract to produce water and sewer bills.

The commission initiated its inquiry of OAO Services after a competitor for the water and sewer billing contract, D.C. Computer Systems Inc., alleged that OAO Services was improperly certified. D.C. Computer officials said they made the same complaint concerning an earlier contract but never received a response from the commission, then under Cooper's predecessor, William C. Jameson.

Jameson, who favored certifying OAO Services, left the agency last year.

Cooper said the commission hired a private investigative firm, R.L. Reed & Associates Inc., to gather information.

Barker said R.L. Reed's representatives "told senior representatives of OAO that they found we were legitimately certified. They came back four different times, saying we were legally certified, but {the commission} kept sending them back until they said something was wrong." Efforts to reach R.L. Reed for comment were unsuccessful.

Cooper said that in determining whether a company qualifies as D.C.-based, the commission considers where the firm's records are kept, where principal employes work, who controls the firm's daily operations and to which jurisdiction taxes are paid, among other factors.