GAO recently denied a protest filed by DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. in which DNC, the incumbent concessioner, asserted that the National Park Service had set out a deficient estimate of the value of DNC’s property under the existing contract which any new concessioner would have to pay to DNC. In denying the protest, GAO held that the ultimate value which DNC would be paid was a matter to be decided in the future pursuant to its contract terms, and it was not for GAO to make that valuation pursuant to a bid protest. GAO also held that DNC’s argument that the deficient estimate was fundamentally misleading, even if correct, would not harm DNC’s ability to submit a proposal for the new contract because DNC’s proposal would include “0” for this item given that DNC was the incumbent. Therefore, GAO held that DNC was not able to protest this issue. GAO also found that DNC’s arguments were self-serving and would result in a more restrictive competition which GAO did not want to promote.
Notably, in response to the protest, NPS asserted that it did not believe that GAO had any authority over its solicitation for a concession contract and refused to produce any documents related to its decision. This position and resulting lack of information hampers a protester’s ability to present its case. GAO disagreed with NPS’s position but lacked any authority to force the agency to provide relevant documents.