Lottery subcontractor not allowed to bid on lucrative contract

The D.C.-based subcontractor behind the District’s controversial 2009 lottery procurement has been told it will not be allowed to compete for a separate, lucrative lottery deal.

Veteran’s Services Corp. and joint venture partner Pollard Holdings Inc. filed a protest Jan. 25 with the Contract Appeals Board shortly after its bid to print instant lottery tickets was ruled nonresponsive.

Pollard is described as a “highly specialized operator of secure printing facilities with service and support expertise.” VSC, as the local certified business enterprise, is the 51 percent owner of the JV.

Led by Emmanuel Bailey, VSC manages the District’s lottery system as a subcontractor to Intralot Inc., its foreign partner, under a $38 million deal. That contract, awarded in 2009 amid nasty fighting between the D.C. Council and then-Mayor Adrian Fenty, spurred a lawsuit against Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi and all sorts of investigations into the elected officials involved.

This time, the controversy appears to be more related to bureaucracy and red tape than clashing personalities and business interests.

According to the protest, filed by attorney Frederick Cooke, the JV of Veteran’s Services Corp. and Pollard was formed for the purpose of bidding on the instant ticket request for proposals, but the District’s Department of Small and Local Business Development failed to approve the pair’s CBE application in time for their bid to be considered.

Emails included with the protest suggest that Bailey first contacted the D.C. government about establishing a JV with Pollard in January 2012. The instant ticket solicitation wasn’t issued by the OCFO’s contracting office until Oct. 22. And months after that, Cooke alleges, the CBE application was still not OK’d.

The JV’s opportunity “to participate in this procurement was fatally damaged by the gross inaction of DSLBD,” Cooke writes in the protest.

“The conduct of DSLBD in this matter is absolutely shameful, and has effectively denied VSC/PH a fair opportunity to compete for an award under the Solicitation,” he continues.

Cooke asks that the JV either be allowed to participate in the bidding, or that the OCFO cancel the solicitation and start over.

A spokesman for DSLBD was not immediately available for comment, and a spokesman for the finance office declined to comment, as it’s now a legal matter.


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