In Business: Agency Opening, Baker Running, Contractor Scheming (Demo)

Bowie resident guilty in scheme that netted $50 million in minority contracts to non-minority: this is SECOND scheme in 3 years, Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement grand opening is July 1st, County Executive Rushern Baker announces his bid for another term
From Washington Times, Vernon J. Smith III, who is not a minority, ran Capitol Contractors, which qualified as a minority contractor because he was listed as owning less than half the company; full control was turned over to Mr. Smith and his wife as soon as the time limit on its minority contracting certification ran out.  Mr. Smith, 61, then set up a second company, Platinum One, a roofing and construction company that listed a black employee, Anthony Wright, and his son as its owners so it qualified for race-based contracts under the Small Business Administration, even though Mr. Smith actually ran the company, the indictment says.   Wright, 42, of Bowie, pleaded guilty this week to his role in the scheme and is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 30.  October 29, 2010 – Platinum One Contracting, located in Capitol Heights, Md., its president, Anthony Wright, and Capitol Contractors, also located in Capitol Heights, and its president, Vernon J. Smith III, have agreed to pay the United States $200,000 to settle claims that they used false statements to obtain contracts from the Department of Defense, the Justice Department announced today. The contracts had been set aside for companies that qualified for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 8(a) business development program, as well as for businesses that qualified for the Historically Underutilized Business
Zone (HUBZone)

Department Permitting Inspections EnforcementPart of the promise made to residents when County Executive Baker ran for office in 2010 was that he would bring business to Prince George’s County.  For years, I’m told, the permitting process and building inspection process has been a convoluted mess.  From the Washington Post, “It takes Prince George’s County several months to process renovation permits. It can be a decade before officials get the courts’ permission to level fallen-down foreclosed homes.  And opening a business can require multiple trips to government offices from Laurel to Largo.” Well according to everyone from Councilman D.L. Davis to County Executive Baker, the  new Department of Permitting,  Inspections and Enforcement will change all that by restructuring agencies to streamline how the government approves and enforces permits, administers the building inspection process for commercial and residential property as well as enforcing the laws governing the standards that these properties must adhere to.   Goals also include shortening the time period for property inspection, code enforcement, and building compliance.  Well cheers and let’s hope for the most.  Businesses have to see this county as a sensible place to set up shop.  Let’s get to recruiting some good restaurants and making space for some start-ups.  Grand opening is Monday July 1st 10am-12noon, 9400 Peppercorn Place, 1st Floor, Largo MD.  Flyer HERE

County Exec. Baker
County Exec. Baker, PGC Blog

What I wonder is who’s going to run against County Executive Baker.  Haven’t heard anything yet.  From Washington Business Journal, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker will kick off his re-election effort Thursday evening with a BBQ picnic at the Newton White Mansion.  Baker was inaugurated in late 2010, shortly after former County Executive Jack Johnson was arrested by federal authorities on corruption charges. The new county executive had quite the mess to clean up — high crime, weak schools, a pay-to-play system that drove potential developers away.  The reelection announcement, albeit brief, touts the progress Baker’s administration has made “on all the major issues facing this county,” from new development to “meaningful ethics reform,” to a 30-year record-low crime rate.

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