[THREADING A SCOOP]: The Biden administration did not solicit bids for an $87 million contract to house migrant families in hotels and instead gave the massive contract to an organization whose leadership has ties to the White House. washex.am/3dL6YEP
In its rush to stand up facilities to hold families coming over the border, the Biden administration signed a deal that a member of Congress and people with knowledge of the matter said presented a conflict of interest and wasted existing gov facilities. washex.am/3dL6YEP
Last month, ICE awarded an $87 million contract to acquire and oversee an operation involving 1,200 hotel beds to house migrant families in Arizona and Texas. The contract was given to Family Endeavors, which has no history as an ICE contractor. washex.am/3dL6YEP
But Endeavors does have a former official from the Biden transition team in its ranks: former ICE official Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, identified as a potential broker in the deal by Rep. Andrew Clyde, who is tracking the contract, as well as two sources.
On Inauguration Day, Endeavors announced Lorenzen-Strait would become its senior director for migrant services & federal affairs, meaning that he'd be the nonprofit’s liaison to the federal government. Within 2 months, Lorenzen-Strait secured the contract.
Federal contracts are to be awarded through an open competitive process, outlined in the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

ICE confirmed to @dcexaminer that it never accepted bids but went with an internal candidate who had significant insider connections.
“Unless certain exceptions apply, an agency must compete the contract,” said Carol Thompson, a partner with the Washington-based Federal Practice Group law firm. @FedPracticeLaw

ICE published its reason for not competing the contract after being contacted by @dcexaminer Wednesday AM. It cited "unusual and compelling urgency" but did not comment on why it chose to spend $87 million on hotels when its family centers are 80% vacant
“I am gravely concerned given that ICE did not compete this contract award, that this is Endeavors' first contract with ICE, and that the contract award amount far exceeds any previous award amounts with this organization,” @Rep_Clyde wrote.
Endeavors took in $43M in 2018, according to tax documents, just half of the new $87M contract from ICE to house migrant families in hotels.

Progressive Democrats want ICE to shift away from for-profit company-operated immigrant detention centers.

But 7 top execs at nonprofit Endeavors, who received the no-bid $87M contract for hotels, reported 6-figure salaries in 2018, as much as $312,000.
Lorenzen-Strait left ICE in May 2019 as head of the 45,000-person capacity detention operations. His last boss was Tae Johnson, who is now the acting director of ICE and would have the final say on the $87 million contract that Lorenzen-Strait received.
ICE official Claire Trickler-McNulty used to work for Lorenzen-Strait before he left ICE in 2019. Trickler-McNulty was given full authority over acquisitions and contracts despite working outside that office, a move one source said was “extremely unusual.” washex.am/3dL6YEP

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