'Prep-school' Vet Still Boasts Army Service


Two days after a Virginia businessman was chastised before a congressional hearing for turning a decades-old football injury into a veteran's disability with federal contract set-asides, he continues to tout service as an Army veteran in his official company biography.   In a broadcast takedown on Wednesday that has received wide play across the internet, Iraq War veteran Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., blasted Braulio Castillo for implying a prep-school injury was connected to active military service. A look at Castillo's executive biography on his Strong Castle website Friday found the businessman still promoting that image.   "Braulio was honorably discharged from the United States Army," the company bio states, "and received a service connected disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs for his active duty service as an enlisted soldier in the U.S. Army."  

Castillo never served in the military but learned that an injury received playing football for West Point Preparatory School in 1984 could make him eligible for veteran's status. He filed a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs and was awarded a disability rating in 2012, a few months before buying his company the Leesburg, Va.-based company.   His veteran status gave Strong Castle, an information technology consulting firm, an edge in bidding on federal contracts.   On Wednesday Duckworth tore into Castillo for strongly implying in a letter to the Small Business Administration when seeking special contract set-asides for disabled veterans that his injury was the result of service "protecting this great country."   "You, who never picked up a weapon to defend this great nation, very cynically took advantage of the system," she said.   After attending the West Point Preparatory School for a single year Castillo went on to the University of San Diego, where he continued to play football.   Castillo's disabled veteran's status came to light as part of an investigation by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee into IT contracting and the Internal Revenue Service. Committee investigators claimed in its 157-page report that an IRS contracting "played an often hands-on role in tilting the table in Strong Castle's favor in numerous contract competitions."   Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said when releasing the report that the IRS "cannot look taxpayers in the eye and truthfully say they are protecting their contributions to government.   "By inappropriately using a personal relationship and abusing a provision designed to help disadvantaged businesses, the IRS and Strong Castle have made a mockery of fair and open competition for government contracts.  Taxpayers deserve accountability and the Committee is troubled by this unacceptable behavior."

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