All ‘Native American’ DBE Certifications Under Review by DOT

The LA Times published an article by Paul Pringle and Adam Elmahrek, entitled “Minority contractors claiming to be ‘Native American’ to undergo nationwide review.”

A portion of the article is listed below. Please see the LA Times for the full article.

Federal, state and local authorities are intensifying scrutiny of minority contracting programs across the country in the wake of a Times investigation that found that companies received more than $300 million in government contracts based on unsubstantiated claims by the firms’ owners to be Native American.

As two House committees prepare to examine the matter, the U.S. Department of Transportation has called for a review of all Native American companies in its minority contracting program nationwide to weed out firms whose owners do not belong to state- or federally recognized Native American tribes.

At the same time, officials in California and five other states have begun stripping minority status from a number of companies highlighted in The Times report. The newspaper determined that government contracts were awarded to those companies and several others because the owners were members of one of three self-described Cherokee groups that have no government recognition and are considered fraudulent by recognized Cherokee tribes.

City officials in St. Louis said they have decertified five firms that received contracts set aside for minority-owned businesses. State contracting officials in Oklahoma and Kansas said they have removed the minority certification from two companies or intend to do so. As of this week, the two firms were still listed as certified in Kansas’ minority contractor database. Caltrans earlier lifted the minority designation of one company.

Please see the LA Times for the full article.