US Navy Cheats Black-Owned Business Owner Out of $100 Million Contractby GDN Shared Post July 8, 2020
CommsolGlobal, a Black-owned business founded by Victor Ogunniyi, successfully bid on a five-year small business set aside contract with the US Navy for engine maintenance of their ships. The contract was awarded in 2012 and the entire operation was moved from Louisiana to San Diego in order to dedicate all resources solely to the US Navy, as stipulated by the contract.
Unfortunately, the large corporations who were performing the work up until the award refused to relinquish this work and have been successful in lobbying the government against the small businesses. This is not an isolated issue but something that has become the systematic bane of our procurement system, it is crippling for small businesses and entrepreneurs working to achieve the American Dream.
Victor was born in Nigeria. He holds a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Victor worked for Shell Nigeria and served in different capacities and assignments both in and outside Nigeria i.e. – United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. Victor is a council member of Registered Engineers of Nigeria (COREN), Nigerian Society of Engineers (MNSE), and an associate member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (AMASCE).
Victor became an entrepreneur after 19 years at Shell and started his own company, Commissioning Solutions Global, LLC in 2004. CommSolGlobal, as it’s better known, is an engineering/technical service company. In 2005, CommSolGlobal revealed a state of the art lube oil flushing equipment that can deliver rotating equipment lube oil flush cleanliness to ISO 4406 (US) and NAS 1638 (UK). The patent approval is STILL pending from the US Government.
CommSolGlobal received many recognitions and awards during its time of operation. Some of which include: the St. Tammany Parish West’s 2005 High Tech Award for outstanding advancements in the use of Technology; nominations by the Louisiana Technology Conference for the 2006 New Technology Product of the Year and Best Application of Technology; recipient of the Procurement TAC and SBDC award for the 2006 St. Tammany Parish Excellence in Government Contracting; and recipient of the Louisiana Technology Conference in association with Greater New Orleans Inc. award for the 2007 EWARD in Best Application of Technology.
In 2010, Victor Ogunniyi was approached by the US Navy to bid on a contract located in San Diego. The contract was a small business “set-aside”, a federal contract purposefully designated for small business bidding. In 2012, CommSolGlobal and another small business were jointly awarded the contract. It was a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery, and quantity contract to provide lubricating oil flushing services for US Navy ships. The maximum dollar value, including the base year and four option years, for both contracts combined, equaled $100,729,000. The US Navy required Victor Ogunniyi to move all operations to San Diego and work exclusively on their projects. And he did.
However, Victor says that it quickly became apparent that the US Navy had no intention of honoring the contract. The large shipyards in San Diego who had been doing the work prior to the award continued to do so and neither of the small business contractors got any projects. In fact, they were not contacted or provided any information until Victor challenged them for an explanation.
The situation was devastating to both small businesses. It was also insulting because the large shipyards actually approached CommSolGlobal and the other business to offer them subcontracts for jobs that legally should have been theirs.
Victor has been fighting this injustice for the past 8 years. He has taken this case, without legal representation, all the way to the United States Supreme Court (ref: 16-6197 – Ogunniyi vs US), sadly, with no success. He has been through the appeals process, been ignored by the navy, and exhausted all avenues in the three branches of government. In 2018, he even wrote a letter to the White House & POTUS. Victor Ogunniyi put everything into his business and will not stop until the US Navy is held accountable and makes amends.
There is a lot of corruption, bribery, mismanagement, etc with government contracts that are set aside for small businesses, mostly minority-owned. These small businesses are cheated out of earned opportunities to progress in life. The perpetrators get away with it because small businesses don’t have the money to fight the legal battles needed to expose the injustice. Who helps small businesses when they are up against the government?
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