A company linked to Donald Trump‘s brother reportedly received a $33m (£25m) contract from the US Marshals Service, prompting a rival bidder to file an official complaint alleging favouritism in the bidding process.
The government contract was to provide security for federal courthouses and cellblocks and was awarded to CertiPath, which is owned in part by a firm linked to the president‘s younger brother, Robert Trump, The Washington Post reports.
But after the contract was awarded, a rival bidder filed a complaint with the Justice Department’s office of the inspector general.
The complaint alleges CertiPath failed to disclose “one of the president’s closest living relatives stood to benefit financially from the transaction,” according to a copy of the complaint obtained by The Washington Post.
The complaint adds: “The circumstances of this contract award, and what appear to be CertiPath’s efforts to obscure Mr Robert Trump’s financial interest in the company even as it trades on the Trump name, present the appearance of preferential treatment for those who are close to the president.”
Dismas N Locaria, a lawyer from the law firm Venable who signed the complaint letter, did not tell the paper the name of his client.
President and founder of CertiPath Jeff Nigriny said in a statement to The Post: “Robert Trump is one investor in an entity which holds a minority interest in CertiPath.
“He is exclusively a passive investor, has no management role whatsoever, is not an officer or director, and his name has never been used or mentioned by CertiPath in any solicitation for a government contract, whether state or federal.”
Mr Nigriny added that the company was unaware of the complaint filed with the Justice Department’s inspector general.
Another company called NMR Consulting also filed a protest against the bid, according to the newspaper.
Spokesman for the US Marshals Service Drew Wade told The Post the bid protest has caused a “stop work order” on the contract.
Mr Wade said the complaint was about a separate issue and “has nothing to do with the president or his relationships”.
He added that no money is being spent with CertiPath ”until this issue is resolved”.
The inspector general has not initiated a review of the matter, according to The Post.
CertiPath specialises in digital security and verifying online identities.
The Independent has contacted the White House, the inspector general and Robert Trump for comment.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies