Ethics

“Significant Concerns”

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

How did a two-person company from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's home town land a $300 million contract to rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid?

That's a good question. Members of Congress and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are investigating the circumstances of the contract.

“Based on initial review and information from PREPA, FEMA has significant concerns with how PREPA procured this contract and has not confirmed whether the contract prices are reasonable,” FEMA said in its statement.

“FEMA is presently engaged with PREPA and its legal counsel to obtain information about the contract and contracting process, including how the contract was procured and how PREPA determined the contract prices were reasonable.”

The contract between the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and Whitefish Energy reportedly says it was reviewed and approved by FEMA, but FEMA says the agency did not sign off on it.

Claiming the Trump regime signed off on something when they didn't is probably the only way you could get them to investigate this. Making that claim could be a self-own on the part of Whitefish Energy.

Of course the Trumps could review the contract and claim everything is in order just to avoid further embarrassment, but that could be difficult to justify now that everyone knows Whitefish Energy is paying contracts over $400 per hour, over $300 per night for lodging, and $80 per day for food.

Reporters digging through the Whitefish contract found something else last night that raised alarm bells.

There's also a provision in the contract that says no claims can be filed against Whitefish for failing to meet the deadline for completing their work.

  • muselet

    The cynic in me notes with some amusement that both the White House and Ryan Zinke are running away from the Whitefish/PREPA deal as fast as their legs will carry them.

    Contract shenanigans are as old as the Republic—hell, the Roman aqueducts were probably built under shady contracts—but seldom is the stink of a rotten contract as obvious as this.

    I give FEMA three months before it suddenly and without explanation drops its investigation, followed by a radical reshuffle of the management team there. Purely coincidentally, of course.

    –alopecia

  • Aynwrong

    We’re back in the middle of the Bush administration. This exactly the kind of shit they pulled in Iraq. No bid contracts to companies that sprang up the night before. Unreal.
    Imperial Life in The Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone by Rajiv Chandrasekaran is filled with examples.
    https://www.amazon.com/Imperial-Life-Emerald-City-Inside/dp/0307278832
    Unreal.

  • Wow, that is the best contract I’ve ever seen–for the vendor, of course. For the taxpayers it is utter shite. Who the Eff signed off on this? How is that not illegal? The Trump tennis ball machine of lies, corruption and debasement is so exhausting.

    • JMAshby

      Pure speculation on my part: PREPA contracted Whitefish because of their connections to Ryan Zinke. Whitefish is literally Zinke’s neighbor and his son worked for them.

  • Username1016

    What gets to me is that I’m CONSTANTLY hearing that something’s being investigated, and I never hear that it’s been put a stop to, that heads have rolled, or even that someone’s concluded “yup, that was improper.” What is up with all these inconclusive investigations???