2004 Florida Statutes
Minority business enterprise programs; penalty for discrimination and false representation.
(1) It is unlawful for any individual to falsely claim to be a minority business enterprise for purposes of qualifying for certification with any governmental certifying organization as a minority business enterprise in order to participate under a program of a state agency which is designed to assist certified minority business enterprises in the receipt of contracts with the agency for the provision of goods or services. The certification of any contractor, firm, or individual obtained by such false representation shall be permanently revoked, and the entity shall be barred from doing business with state government for a period of 36 months. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084
(2) Any contractor, firm, or individual which falsely represents to an agency or to a contractor, pursuant to a state contract, that it is a certified minority business enterprise or which represents that it will use the services or commodities of a certified minority business enterprise and subsequently does not do so shall be in breach of contract. Upon determination that a breach has occurred, all payments under the contract may be immediately suspended. The contractor or firm may show that it attempted through reasonable and objective means and in good faith to comply with the terms of the contract relating to minority business enterprises but was unable to comply. If the agency determines that the contractor or firm did not act in good faith, all amounts paid to the contractor or firm under the state contract intended for expenditure with the certified minority business enterprises shall be forfeited and recoverable by the Department of Legal Affairs. In addition, the contract may be rescinded and the agency may return all goods received and recover all amounts paid under the contract.
(3) Any contractor, firm, or individual shall be barred from doing business with state government for a period of 36 months, and shall be permanently disqualified from doing business with state government as a certified minority business enterprise, if the office has determined that the contractor, firm, or individual has not acted in good faith to fulfill the terms of a contract calling for it to use the services or commodities of a certified minority business enterprise. If the Department of Legal Affairs, agency final order, or a court of law determines that a person was involved in a violation of this section, knew about such violation, or collaborated with a contractor or firm in such violation, the person, or any contractor or firm the person is employed by or affiliated with, shall be barred from doing business with state government for a period of at least 36 months.
(4) No agency shall deny any contractor, firm, or individual a fair opportunity to compete in the public procurement of commodities and services based on race, national origin, gender, religion, or physical disability, which for purposes of this subsection constitutes prohibited discrimination. Complaints alleging prohibited discrimination by an agency in its public procurement may be filed with the Office of Supplier Diversity within 60 days after the facts giving rise to the complaint are known or reasonably should have been discovered. Any complaint shall be filed in writing and must set forth the specific facts giving rise to the claim of prohibited discrimination. The Office of Supplier Diversity shall, within 10 days, refer the complaint to the Inspector General for the agency that is the subject of the complaint, who shall coordinate a prompt investigation and issue written findings of fact. These findings shall be reviewed by the Chief Inspector General or his or her designee, who is authorized to conduct any further investigation deemed necessary or appropriate. Upon a final determination that an agency has abused its discretion by engaging in prohibited discrimination, the Chief Inspector General shall refer any state employee determined to have participated in the prohibited discrimination for disciplinary action in accordance with chapter 60K(9), Florida Administrative Code, and subsequently enacted rules, up to and including termination.
(5) The owner of a minority business enterprise that has been found guilty under subsection (1) or subsection (3) shall not attempt to circumvent this section by creating a new business entity for the purposes of attempting to transact business in this state.
History.--s. 2, ch. 82-196; s. 25, ch. 85-104; s. 2, ch. 88-327; s. 13, ch. 94-322; s. 1, ch. 2000-286.