What rights of appeal does a minority-owned business have in the event it is decertified as a minority business enterprise (“MBE”) in Baltimore City?

By:  James R. Benjamin Jr., Esquire                                     jbenjamin@pklaw.com

To be certified as an MBE in Baltimore City, the business must be independent; at least 51% minority owned; been minority-owned for at least 12 months and been in operation for at least 12 months.  The minority owner must also demonstrate sufficient control of the business.

Baltimore City’s Minority and Women’s Business Opportunity Office (“MWBOO”) may decertify an MBE if it determines that the business no longer meets certification criteria.  An MBE that is decertified has the right to protest the decision to decertify and seek administrative review from MWBOO.  Within seven (7) days of receiving written notice of decertification from MWBOO, the MBE must submit a written protest to the Chief of MWBOO specifying the reasons and factual grounds for its protest.  Documents in support of the MBE’s position should be included with the written protest.

Within twenty-five (25) days of receiving the written protest, the Chief of MWBOO must review the written protest along with any supporting documents and render a written decision stating the reasons for affirming or reversing the decision to decertify.  In the event the Chief of MWBOO affirms MWBOO’s decision, the MBE may submit, in writing, a request for hearing before MWBOO’s Certification Appeals Board.

A minority-owned business that has been decertified as an MBE and is seeking to exercise any rights of appeal may want to consider obtaining legal advice concerning the administrative appeal process.