All Articles Tagged "government contracts"
Rodney P. Hunt made a name for himself by becoming one of the most successful black-owned government contractors in the country. And he wasn’t shy about it; he let everyone know about his success, talking up the lavish $23.1 million mansion that owned on the riverfront in McLean, VA. We say “owned” because the house is scheduled to be sold at auction on September 27, reports The Washington Post.
At one point, Hunt’s wealth was estimated at $265 million. The co-founder of RS Information Systems, a tech company launched in 1992, he sold that company in 2007. His son was featured on MTV’s Teen Cribs (you can watch a clip via that Washington Post link), his company employed 1,700 workers at one time and RSIS stayed on the Inc. 500 list for years.
But despite his actual success, Hunt felt the need to exaggerate, inventing college degrees, a partial ownership of the Washington Nationals baseball team and even a visit from President Obama when he was a candidate on the campaign trail four years ago. Now, he’s in default for $9.4 million on his lavish Potomac River mansion, owes $10 million for loans and bad investments and hasn’t responded to media inquiries. He has a music label, RPH Entertainment, that reps a number of little-known acts and one, Big Pokey, that WaPo says you might know.
In case you’re shopping for some property, the McLean mansion is equipped with a bowling alley, indoor basketball court and a 15-car garage. Hunt at one time said it covered a total of 53,000 square feet. (He also called his son Bradley, aka rapper Kid Named Breezy, “The Chosen One.” Yikes.) You would need a $100,000 certified check in-hand to purchase.
After the huge success of his tech business, it sounds like Hunt got a little too big-headed and is now paying the price. No one wants to hear a story about someone losing their home or livelihood, but it is a cautionary tale.
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(nj.com) — On the day Mayor Cory Booker made his first state of the city address, he had vowed to end political contributions given in exchange for city contracts. ”No one with a city contract can give money to politicians in the city of Newark going forward,” Booker told reporters February 7, 2007. But that same afternoon his deputy mayor, Ronald Salahuddin, was doing just that, according to FBI surveillance tapes. ”Your contract’s the only one that’s been executed,” Salahuddin told Nicholas Mazzocchi, then the state’s largest contractor in building demolition. Only two months prior, according to the tapes, Salahuddin solicited a $5,000 contribution from Mazzocchi to Booker’s nonprofit, Newark Now, telling him, “This makes you strong.”
(Exception) — The Department of Defense, General Services Administration and NASA submitted a rule change on September 9 to eliminate a program which aimed to boost government contracts that were awarded to minority-owned small businesses. “It is unbelievable that at a time when unemployment among minorities is at record levels, the President is going to eliminate the largest federal programs to help minority-owned businesses,” said American Small Business League President Lloyd Chapman.
(AJC) — With the county preparing to award contracts in the most expensive library construction program in state history, a Fulton commissioner wants to stamp out any appearance of backroom dealing in the bid process. What Commissioner Emma Darnell is proposing would be among the most stringent campaign finance restrictions in the nation, banning any company that donates more than $500 to a commission candidate’s war chest from doing business with the county for a year. No jurisdiction in the metro Atlanta area has anything similar on its books. ”Many contractors don’t believe they have a chance, unless they are connected,” said Darnell, who will ask the board to adopt the new rules at Wednesday’s meeting. “That’s not true in Fulton County, but that’s the perception.”
(Inc.) — In February, the federal government unveiled new rules to promote women-owned small businesses. Contracts under the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract Program are to be awarded by the fourth quarter of 2011. This should help the government reach its 5 percent goal for contracting to women-owned businesses. (In 2010 only 3.4 percent of federal contracting dollars were awarded to female entrepreneurs. When compared to all privately held firms, women-owned businesses employ 13 percent of the workforce and account for 11 percent of all business revenue, according to the recent American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Business Report. However, much more can be done to boost this group. Only 1.8% of women-owned businesses currently have revenue that exceeds $1 million.American Express Open executive vice president Denise Pickett says government contracts are critical because they are one area of the economy that is on the rise. “Government spending in many areas has either remained consistent or increased in a time when other prospects’ spending has decreased,” she stated in May testimony to the House Small Business Committee.
(Crain’s) — City Hall is moving toward a new form of bidding, designed to save money by emulating eBay. And it’s going to put those notorious “no-bid” contracts online even before they’re done — something that could make it harder for the well-connected to get sweetheart deals. In a pair of initiatives being announced this morning, Mayor Rahm Emanuel first is to announce that the city will begin using what’s known as “reverse auctions” in which those who want city business bid not once but keep bidding in a public process in which everyone knows everyone else’s last offer.
(Maryland Gazette) — Prince George’s council members are calling for county-based companies to receive preferential treatment when they seek government contracts. County Bill 17, known as the Jobs First Act, would require the county government to weigh in favor of county-based and minority-owned businesses when taking bids for new equipment, supplies, construction or services. The bill calls for the county to award 50 percent of all contracts to county-based businesses, which last fiscal year would have equated to $149 million. Since the 2008 fiscal year, about 12 percent of Prince George’s $1.3 billion in procurement spending has gone to county businesses. Any company that gets county funding for a new shopping center, office park or community must agree to a 51 percent hiring goal for residents as workers under the bill, which also sets hiring and contracting goals for minority-owned and small business firms.
(Black Enterprise) – Gerald Smith, chairman and CEO of Houston-based Smith Graham & Co. Investment Advisors L.P., says his firm is already benefiting from a new federal law that’s helping minority and women contractors land deals with regulators of the nation’s financial system. The law allowed Smith’s firm, (No. 7 on the BE ASSET MANAGERS list with nearly $5 billion in assets under management), to land a contract last fall to provide advisory services to the U.S. Treasury Department, Smith says. Smith Graham, through a partnership with Boston-based State Street Global, is advising the Treasury on the management of about $150 billion in mortgage-backed securities, Smith says. “Our goal is to spend more time in Washington and work with these offices, bring more business to the firm, create new opportunities and show them our value added proposition,” he says.
(Chicago Reporter) — Shaking hands with officials from the Illinois Lottery, Bob Dale felt like a winner. No, he didn’t win the jackpot or even one of those scratch-off cards. But his business, R.J. Dale Advertising, had just sealed a $100 million contract with the Illinois Department of Revenue, one of the largest contracts awarded to a black-owned business in Illinois. But looking back on his big win now, Dale doesn’t feel so lucky. Low commission rates and sky-high legal fees from state audits meant R.J. Dale Advertising didn’t even make a profit for being the lottery’s chief advertising agency. “Quite honestly, it damn near put us out of business,” he said. The lottery, on the other hand, fared well. During its five-year contract term, revenue from the lottery increased by $490 million. Dale and hiscolleagues hoped that success would generate new business. As it turned out, the lottery contract opened no new doors for the firm. Major corporations “didn’t care about the phenomenal success we had,” Dale said. “They just weren’t interested in hiring a black-owned business.” Many minority business owners say they still face significant discrimination in the marketplace. To help remedy that, some states, including Illinois, have created programs to make sure that some government contracts go to diverse businesses.
(Businessweek) — In Illinois, you’re never too big or too small to get stiffed by the man. The strapped state government, awash in debt, is now $4 billion behind in paying its bills. At least 8,000 businesses, charities, and state agencies have been waiting patiently—or not—for the state to scrape together enough money to settle up. IBM (IBM) is hoping to see $1.1 million for equipment and services it provided the government.Office Depot (ODP) is out $660,955. And the 17th Street Bar & Grill in downstate Sparta, Ill., is sitting on a $340.52 tab. At least 114 companies are due more than $1 million. To put the mess in perspective, the backlog is larger than Delaware’s entire $3.5 billion budget.