Contractor Loses Deal After VA Discovers He's a Sex Offender
August 21, 2020
Ezekiel Lopez, a janitorial contractor, secured $700,000 in federal contracts to provide cleaning services at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital near Chicago under his company America’s Best at Work. He was able to do so even though he is a registered child sex offender in Illinois who spent more than three years in prison for sexually abusing two teen girls. Currently, there are no laws preventing predators like Lopez from working with the government.
Contractors are expected to indicate on their applications whether they’ve had any felony convictions within the past two years. However, Lopez did not need to disclose his past because he was convicted more than thirteen years ago, in 2007. The government can also prevent third parties from securing work if they are convicted of felony fraud or similar crimes. However, there are no laws prohibiting sex abusers from doing so.
VA spokesperson Christina Noel said, “The company met the criteria to become a vendor under federal law, which includes being deemed responsible through its registration with the System for Award Management.”