Dismas Locaria

Partner
Locaria Dismas

Diz Locaria assists government contractors and grant recipients in all aspects of doing business with the federal government. Diz has extensive knowledge of government contract and grant regulations, enabling him to assist organizations qualify to become federal contractors or grantees. He represents clients in compliance with various federal procurement and grant requirements, including ethics and integrity; mandatory disclosures; False Claims Act; responsibility matters, such as suspension, debarment; small business matters; and General Services Administration (GSA) Federal Supply Schedule contracting. Diz also represents and counsels clients regarding the Homeland Security Act, including obtaining and maintaining SAFETY Act protections. 

Diz has extensive experience with Federal Acquisition Regulation and the Uniform Guidance, including their application to prime contractors/grant recipients and subcontractors/subgrantees, enabling him to help both for-profit and nonprofit organizations meet the requirements to become federal contractors or grantees. He interprets regulations, contract, and grant terms as they relate to clients’ work and operations, evaluating and advising them on intellectual property issues and contract modifications, among other issues.

His services include training on relevant regulations and contract and grant terms, federal ethics laws and practices, conducting internal audits and investigations, making and implementing improvements and/or remedial recommendations, making appropriate disclosures to federal and state agencies, and defending clients during federal and state audits and investigations, including but not limited to False Claims Act and Procurement Integrity Act allegations.

Diz has represented clients in suspension and debarment matters, and regarding other agency eligibility and responsibility issues, before each of the U.S. defense agencies and civilian agencies, including the General Services Administration (GSA); Health and Human Services (HHS); the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its sub-agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); and several others.

He advises clients on the potential impact of business formation, mergers and acquisitions, and related business activity on a client’s existing and future contracts/grants. He has extensive experience working with small businesses to determine their size, 8(a) status, and other socioeconomic factors, including analyzing affiliation issues. He also represents clients in the prosecution and defense of small business size protests before the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA).

Diz is well versed in GSA Federal Supply Schedule matters; in particular, he advises clients on how to structure proposals to avoid price reduction clause and False Claims Act issues, labor qualification matters, Trade Agreements Act (TAA), and other compliance matters post-award.

He represents a number of clients in homeland security–related matters, including drafting guidelines for information handling, such as Sensitive Security Information (SSI), and advises clients on obtaining and maintaining the benefits of the SAFETY Act. He has helped several clients receive SAFETY Act Certification and is a frequent speaker and author on the topic.

Experience

Representative Matters

Investigations and Disclosures

  • Represented an international technology company in an internal investigation of the finance unit within the U.S. government-focused subsidiary. Reported findings to management, recommended corrective actions, but concluded that, while improvements were necessary, disclosure to the federal government was not necessary
  • Represented small-ESOP in GSA Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigation for fraud. During the course of the investigation, several noncompliance disclosures were made, but ultimately the investigation concluded favorably and noncompliances were resolved for single damages, avoiding any fraud penalties
  • Conducted internal pricing audit and disclosed noncompliances with GSA OIG. Resolved the matter with the GSA OIG for a fraction of potential liability. Avoided referrals for further inquiry by DOJ or a suspension/debarment official
  • Represented national nonprofit in investigation by Department of Interior (DOI). After performing internal investigation, able to convince DOI investigators that matter was baseless. Shortly thereafter, DOI investigators closed the matter without action

Audit Defense Work

  • Represented a nationally recognized university before DHS auditors seeking to recover more than $200 million in federal funds. Resolved matter with funding agency by refunding only duplicative payments
  • Represented government contractor in GSA OIG audit, notwithstanding numerous findings regarding pricing irregularities, inflated pricing, and other noncompliances. Resolved matter with contracting officer with nominal payment and immaterial contract modifications
  • Represented state agency in audits by Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regarding the use of federal funds.  Successfully disputed and defended against all cost unallowability claims and resolved audit with relatively minor programmatic changes

False Claims Act Resolutions

  • Represented a subsidiary of a Fortune 50 company before the DOJ stemming from a GSA OIG audit alleging False Claims Act pricing violations. Notwithstanding several million dollars in potential liability, resolved the matter for less than $1 million and avoided a DOJ press release and a referral for suspension/debarment consideration
  • Represented a Fortune 100 company in a Procurement Integrity Act investigation by DOJ. Favorably resolved the matter without any legal action
  • Represented a multinational company in a DOJ FCA investigation over labor charges at an overseas U.S. government facility. Resolved the matter for a fraction of potential liability and avoided referral for suspension/debarment consideration

Suspension and Debarment Matters

  • Represented a Fortune 50 company before a joint responsibility review by the USAF and GSA stemming from a criminal indictment. Resolved the matter amicably with both agencies, avoiding adverse action, as well as an administrative agreement
  • Represented a national manufacturing company with Clean Air Act (CAA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and civil and criminal violations to avoid discretionary suspension or debarment; secured voluntary exclusions for certain segments of the company while the matter was under review, and ultimately obtained reinstatement of those facilities subject to a statutory ineligibility
  • Assisted a nonprofit, quasi-governmental mass-transit entity in resolution of a statutory ineligibility with the EPA and restoring the entity to full grant eligibility within a matter of days after its conviction
  • Represented an international company convicted on several counts of fraud and false statements before DLA, regarding its responsibility and contracting future with the Department of Defense (DoD); secured a compliance agreement for the company that allowed it to continue to contract with the DoD and other federal agencies; also served as liaison with other agencies, such as GSA, which issued a show cause letter to the company on the same grounds for debarment as DLA
  • Represented a multinational company before the Maritime Administration to demonstrate that despite various criminal violations implicating the company’s integrity and ethical business practices, the company was, in fact, conscientious; secured a compliance agreement for the company to allow it to contract with, and receive subsidies and other assistance from, the federal government; case also involved a statutory ineligibility issue related to a CWA violation that was handled before the EPA
  • Represented several entities, individuals, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations before ICE for immigration-related convictions; in each instance, was able to convince ICE that no action was necessary to protect the public interest

Insights

Credentials
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Education

  • J.D. with honors University of Maryland School of Law 2003
    • Articles Editor, Maryland Law Review
  • B.A. magna cum laude San Francisco State University 1999

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Hiring partner, Venable DC office
  • Member, American Bar Association (ABA); chair, Section of Public Contract Law Committee on Debarment and Suspension; vice chair, Section of Public Contract Law Committee on Grant Law
  • Co-author and contributor, Venable Homeland Security Desk Book
  • Co-author and contributor, The Practitioner’s Guide to Suspension and Debarment, ABA
  • Member, board of editors, and regular columnist, Government Contracting Law Report

Recognition
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  • Included in Washington, DC Super Lawyers, 2017 - 2019
  • Listed in Legal 500, Government – Government Contracts, 2018 - 2019

Community
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Pro Bono

  • Provides pro bono services for various nonprofit organizations

Volunteerism

  • Mentor for law students participating in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
  • Mentor to law students from his alma mater, the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law