School Security Guard Firm Hit with New Tax Lien

Hawk One Security Inc. pegged for delinquent taxes, but no effect on company's duties says police


The D.C.-based company that posts hundreds of guards in city schools and other government buildings is facing a new federal tax lien for unpaid balances totaling more than $1.4 million, according to recent government records.

The Internal Revenue Service filed the lien in November against Hawk One Security Inc. for delinquent taxes between 1998 to 2002. The filing became public record last week at the D.C. Office of the Recorder of the Deeds.

The tax troubles come months after Hawk One executives said the company was close to negotiating the settlement of federal liens that stemmed from financial difficulties experienced under previous management more than a decade ago.

The Metropolitan Police Department, which oversees Hawk One, said yesterday it had not seen any evidence that financial difficulties affected the company's performance in the schools.

"No matter how they've done it, they've gotten to where they need to be," D.C. Assistant Police Chief Gerald Wilson said. "We're working well with Hawk One to provide for the safety of the students, teachers and staff."

IRS officials yesterday declined to comment on the filing, saying disclosure regulations do not permit officials to comment on the status of any individual tax matters.

Hawk One officials did not return phone messages regarding the lien yesterday.

The company was awarded the two-year, roughly $30 million school security contract last summer. It also received a separate contract for about $14 million to guard city government buildings.

Hawk One officials have previously stated that their finances are solid and that any outstanding tax liens were incurred largely as a result of problems during the 1990s when the District was slow to pay its contractors.

However, some school officials last year expressed concern about Hawk One's financial stability after they heard about complaints from guards about not being paid on time and a background check by the city's contracting office showed prior tax problems.

The company blamed the guards' pay problems on an accounting mix-up.

Hawk One's finances also came under scrutiny from a competing contractor, Watkins Security Agency of D.C. Inc., which held the school security contract last year.

The company challenged the Hawk One contract, citing bidding improprieties and questions over Hawk One's finances. The D.C. Contract Appeals Board ordered the District to rebid the contract or re-evaluate offers submitted by the finalists.

Despite the tax problems, Chief Wilson said yesterday that school security is improving since oversight of the contract was transferred from the school system to the police department.

"Suffice to say, we've had some incidents in the schools, but we certainly have not had incidents that have risen to the level we had prior to making the Metropolitan Police Department responsible for school security," Chief Wilson said.