Notice of Congressional Hearing; Testimony Highlights Longrunning Discriminatiory Policies of SBA against Disadvantaged Businesses Examined

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C. Earl Peek, Partner in Diamond Ventures, LLC which sued SBA for discrimination in the SBIC program, will testify before a Subcommitte of the Governmental Oversight Committee, chaired by Congressman Clay. The testimony will highlight a 107 page report by Dr. Tim Bates on SBA and its discriminatory policies. The testimony will also highlight testimony of SBA personnel and their bias towards minorities and women.

unfair at best and biased in most aspects

Congressman Lacy Clay, Chairman of the Information Policy, Census, and National Archives Subcommittee, Oversight and Government Reform Committee will examine obstacles that negatively affect opportunities for small businesses to grow and succeed. C. Earl Peek, which founded Diamond Ventures, LLC, a firm that sued SBA for discrimination, will provide testimony regarding statistical evidence and individual accounts of discrimination.

Diamond Ventures, a majority black-owned investment group, based in Atlanta was formed to focus on investing in inner-city underserved areas, maintains that SBA has reserved SBIC funds for white managers and companies run by white men. Ron Cibolski, former Chief of Licensing testified that SBA had only approved one majority black team to run a licensed SBIC in ten years.

Peek's testimony is highlighted by sworn testimony of SBA officials in the lawsuit noting that "they did not think that a goal of making capital more broadly available to minorities and women was a goal of the program". "We found the testimony 'Interesting'," termed Bill Heyman, legal counsel to Diamond.

Diamond filed a $100 million discrimination lawsuit against SBA in 2003 (Diamond Ventures, LLC V SBA-Case #03-1449-District Court of DC) and is in the final stages of protracted litigation. When asked his opinion of SBA's evaluation of Diamond, Dr. Dileep Rao, a Partner in the firm, noted that it was "unfair at best and biased in most aspects". Dr. Rao teaches students entrepreneurship and is a national columnist with a major finance periodical on venture capital and small business finance.

SBA was challenged earlier this month by Senator Kerry, Chairman of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, when he examined disparity in venture capital and financing and contracting disparity at a hearing. Recently, 14 female Senators challenged SBA on its rule on contracting that have been a part of litigation for eight years.

"There is a strange irony to how SBA is treating minorities and women that despite the best and brightest minds have reported to Congress, yet SBA is stubbornly holding onto a white male only benefit to contracting and access to capital. We applaud Congress for insisting on SBA to address so many apparent disparities," said Peek.

The full text of the testimony is available at http://www.diamondventuresllc.com.

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