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Ask MShore Your Own Question
MShore, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 25285
Experience:  Negotiate, Draft, and Review many complex commercial agreements each year.
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Customer Question

A consultant is requesting payment for services rendered as they say "from the goodness of their hearts," while never securing a contract beforehand. I work for a federally funded agency, and NOW the consultant is trying to push a contract through our procurement system and are demanding payment. I am being told by my lead that I should just process the paperwork to pay this consultant. As an honest citizen, I don't see my agency would need to foot the bill when the consultant never saw the importance of following the proper channels to guarantee payment. Is there a law or letter that can me from having to submit to this consultant and my lead?--Especially when funds are tied to the feds.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  MShore replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for the post, I am happy to assist you by answering your questions. Regrettably you are bound by the directive of your lead, whom may be acquiescing to the consultant's payment request for fear of a lawsuit. The consultant can claim that the work performed was rendered in light of the parties prior course of dealing or implied contract. Further, if your agency was aware of the services being performed in expectation of payment and failed to stop the consultant, the consultant can argue unjust enrichment. Please let me know if you need additional guidance.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
So does this mean that even an implication of a contract can justify payment, although a scope of work was never submitted, or contract approved? And to boot, these are federal funds--or does this have no relevance? If there were ever to be an audit, couldn't I get in trouble for using federal funds to pay for consultant services after-the-fact?
Expert:  MShore replied 5 years ago.
Yes, from your description your lead is trying to avoid a lawsuit which ultimately can be more costly than just paying the consultant. You are not using federal funds, you are considered to be a subordinate and following the direction of your lead whom can make the determination that the contract can be retroactively executed to pay the consultant.
Expert:  MShore replied 5 years ago.
Are you able to elaborate on your rating? I know that you want an accurate and truthful answer, but your rating implies that you want me to tell you want to hear and short of that, you will rate the answer negatively. Is this the case?