Holland & Knight Represents Blue Cord DevGroup, LLC in Successful CVE Protest; Lease Deemed Void After SBA Sustains Protest
WASHINGTON (March 9, 2021) – Holland & Knight represented Blue Cord DevGroup, LLC in a successful protest at the Small Business Administration's Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA). It is the first time in U.S. Government lease procurement history that OHA has ordered the rescission of a fully executed, multi-year lease in response to a successful CVE status protest. The redacted, publicly-available decision was issued on March 4, 2021.
On Oct. 6, 2020, Blue Cord protested Purple Heart Heroes LLC's Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) status after it was awarded an SDVOSB set-aside lease by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). OHA determined a service-disabled veteran did not control Purple Heart Heroes and therefore the company is not an eligible SDVOSB. As a result of OHA's decision, the lease is deemed void ab initio, meaning it never existed, and the VA has removed Purple Heart Heroes as a SDVOSB from its Vendor Information Page (VIP), making the concern ineligible for future set-aside lease awards.
The lease in question was a 20-year lease for 26,202 square feet of space and 177 surface and outside parking spaces for a community-based outpatient clinic for the VA in Florence, South Carolina.
"This landmark decision has far-reaching implications," said Gordon Griffin, the Holland & Knight partner leading the firm's representation of Blue Cord. "Government leases typically do not contain a termination for convenience clause. As a result, when a protester is successful at other forums, such as the Government Accountability Office (GAO), remedies in the past have been limited to bid and proposal costs. However, under applicable SBA regulations, OHA's decision allowed the VA to declare the lease void ab initio, sidestepping limitations previously imposed by the lack of a termination for convenience clause."
In addition to Mr. Griffin, the Holland & Knight team also included Associate Amy Fuentes, who specializes in government contracts litigation and counseling.
Read the decision here.