Vernon Parker, Paradise Valley councilman and CD9 candidate, lost his appeal to the Small Business Administration in June 2009 despite rumors to the contrary.
Parker argued, on appeal, that the SBA improperly terminated his company, VBP Group LLC, from the federal 8(a) program for disadvantaged businesses.
The federal 8(a) program says:
The 8(a) Business Development Program is a business assistance program for small disadvantaged businesses. The 8(a) Program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
In 2008, the SBA’s Office of Inspector General wrote a scathing rebuke of Parker and his VBP Group LLC’s involvement in the 8(a) program which awarded Parker a $1.2 million sole-source contract for entrepreneur training.
The VBP Group LLC is the conduit Parker used to gain a lucrative USDA contract while still a US government employee in 2006. Parker resigned from the USDA as an assistant secretary and immediately became a consultant for the agency. He retained his federal health and other benefits while a consultant.
Parker lied (aka submitted false information) to the USDA when filing VBP Group LLC’s application to be a vendor in the 8(a) program. Parker claimed he was not a government employee at the time of the application. The US government disagreed and had the personnel records and direct deposit payroll information to prove it.
On appeal, Parker was unable to persuade administrative law judge, Richard Arkow, that VBP Group LLC with Parker as its principle – was wrongfully barred from conducting further business with the government.