October 24, 2017

Via The Daily Beast: What are we to think when a two-person utility company gets a $300 million contract to help rebuild Puerto Rico's energy grid?

Luis Vega-Ramos, member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, told The Daily Beast, “Whitefish’s most important expertise or assets seems to have been… having the U.S. secretary of the interior, Ryan Zinke, as their former congressman and current ally and having the wisdom to retain the services of key people close to the governor [of Puerto Rico].”

“Whitefish seems to be nothing more than a glorified middleman to get the real providers of the services, with which PREPA [the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority] could have contracted directly,” Vega-Ramos said. “It is a cozy sweetheart deal in which Whitefish gets a gratuity for subcontracting the actual providers.

Federal agencies like FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which are ordinarily responsible for evaluating contracts for disaster responses, have attempted to distance themselves from the Whitefish contract. FEMA did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment on the contract. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, on the other hand, told The Daily Beast that it “does not comment on contracting decisions made by external organizations that do not involve USACE.”

[...] Vega-Ramos said, “It is reprehensible that shameless profiteering is going on literally on the back of the devastated people of Puerto Rico. It is beyond contempt and people should answer for it.”

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