Professor Charles Tiefer was quoted in a Bloomberg Law Federal Contracts Report about a $1.7 billion contract to build a new FBI headquarters near Washington. Vornado Realty Trust, a company with ties to President Donald Trump and to Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is one of three finalists to win the contract from the General Services Administration, according to a news report.
Vornado is a partial owner of two Trump Organization buildings and is a major investor in a Kushner Companies building, ABC News reported last week.
Contract competitors could react by “sprinting to the courthouse to protest and get the award thrown out on organizational-conflict-of-interest grounds,” Bloomberg Law wrote.
Though a federal acquisition regulation exists to mitigate significant potential conflicts, Tiefer said the regulation doesn’t cover situations in which a president has a major financial stake in a bidder.
Vornado’s competitors “could yell and scream about this, but there is no guarantee of an adequate remedy,” Tiefer told Bloomberg News, which noted that Tiefer “expressed a lack of confidence” in the government’s ability to stand up to President Trump.
“A skillful GSA procurement official would know how to tilt the playing field toward Trump’s friends at Vornado without much chance of a successful protest,” said Tiefer, who added that the government’s treatment of Trump’s lease of the Old Post Office building for the Trump Hotel shows the GSA “has its head in the sand” about Trump’s conflicts of interest.