Fancy Footwork in $500M NASA Contract

     FAIRFAX, Va. (CN) – The information-technology provider for NASA’s Kennedy Space Center faces a lawsuit accusing it of trying to oust its subcontractor.
     Analex and its parent company, Vencore Services and Solutions, say they were promised at least 25 percent of the lucrative contract in exchange for helping Abacus Technology bid for it in 2008.
     “On information and belief, the amount that Abacus will receive under the [IT] contract through 2017 is more than $500 million,” the complaint filed last week in Fairfax County Circuit Court states.
     Analex and Vencore say Abacus kicked them off the contract in late July without warning, announcing that it would take over the subcontractors’ work for the next two years.
     Making matters worse, Abacus intends to “raid” its former subcontractors’ employees, according to the complaint.
     “Abacus also told plaintiffs that Abacus’ actions were taken so that Abacus could position itself for 2017, when NASA would re-bid the prime contract (and all associated subcontracts),” the Aug. 21 complaint states (parentheses in original). “Plaintiffs have not consented, in writing or otherwise, to any ‘re-badging,’ hiring, soliciting, or recruiting of their employees.”
     Ousting the subcontractors amounts to a breach of their deal, the plaintiffs say, adding that Abacus would not have won the NASA contract without their help.
     In addition to providing expertise and knowledge of NASA operations, the plaintiffs say their workforce was the key for meeting NASA’s needs under the contract.
     Just before Abacus ousted them, NASA changed the contract “from a cost-reimbursable contract to a firm fixed-price contract,” according to the complaint.
     A NASA press release about the contract for “information management and communications support” estimates its total potential value at $900 million.
     The contract provides “voice communications, visual imaging and timing, transmission and cable systems, administrative phones, institutional computer networks, network IT security, publications, library, and computer services,” NASA’s press release said.
     Analex and Vencore’s complaint says the contract also provides products and services to multiple NASA programs, the U.S. Department of Defense, other contractors, academia, various space-related industries, global media organizations and other government agencies.
     The plaintiffs seek an injunction to prevent Abacus from hiring their employees and terminating their contracts, plus $50 million in damages.
     They are represented by Terence Ross in Washington.
     Vencore declined to comment. Abacus has not returned an inquiry on the allegations.

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