Shady details from Puerto Rico’s contract with Whitefish Energy


Whitefish chopper working on tower repairs

❝ Puerto Rico has now endured the longest power failure in U.S. history, after Category 4 Hurricane Maria tore a path of destruction across the island on Sept. 20. One of the contracts the island’s beleaguered government signed in order to get the lights turned back on is with a tiny Montana-based company named Whitefish Energy.

The contract, worth $300 million, calls for Whitefish — which employed just 2 employees as of late last month — to repair power lines to connect critical infrastructure. The no-bid contract with a tiny, inexperienced company that happens to be based in the hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has raised eyebrows in Congress and Puerto Rico, where multiple investigations are now underway to determine how the contract was awarded…

❝ Late Thursday, the signed contract was leaked and posted online. It shows that what at first appeared to be a shady deal is actually an unbelievably shady deal…

❝ First, there is language that prohibits the Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority, known as PREPA, as well as the Puerto Rican government, the head of FEMA, and even the Comptroller General of the U.S. to audit or review the prices that Whitefish is charging under the contract, or the profits it is earning…

❝ The wages and equipment charges in this contract are extremely high. According to the contract, site supervisors are earning $330 an hour for their work, while project accountants are earning $440 per hour. The lowest-paid workers, according to the contract, are making $140.26 an hour.

Wander through this article from NPR. Sleazy, profiteering, are the first couple of words that come to mind. FEMA and the Trump Bridge Club get away with an amazing amount of crooked and unethical behavior as it is. This deal is worse than some of the theft engineered into the Liberation of Iraq from non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction.

I have to wonder if Deutsche Bank is supplying our Fake President with an anonymous account just for the money he steals from American taxpayers.

10 thoughts on “Shady details from Puerto Rico’s contract with Whitefish Energy

  1. Update says:

    “The Lineman Got $63 an Hour. The Utility Was Billed $319 an Hour.” (NYT Nov. 12) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/12/us/whitefish-energy-holdings-prepa-hurricane-recovery-corruption-hurricane-recovery-in-puerto-rico.html
    “As Puerto Rico Officials Testify Before Congress, Documents Show PREPA Ignored Internal Advice About Whitefish Contract : Governor Ricardo Rosselló and PREPA chief Ricardo Ramos are testifying before Congress today.” https://www.buzzfeed.com/nidhiprakash/puerto-rico-officials-hill-hearings

  2. ¡Miércoles! says:

    “Whitefish halts power work in Puerto Rico, claims it’s owed $83 million” (Chicago Tribune) http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-whitefish-puerto-rico-power-20171122-story.html “More than 20 of Puerto Rico’s 78 municipalities remain in the dark, and overall power generation stands below 50 percent. Major blackouts also have hit the capital of San Juan and surrounding areas in recent weeks”
    “Puerto Rico just got hit with another big blackout : Another outage stemming from a line repaired by Whitefish plunged the island back into darkness.” (VOX 11/15/17) https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/11/9/16630686/massive-power-outage-puerto-rico-whitefish-blackout

  3. Shithole® says:

    Puerto Rico’s power outage keeps getting weirder and more infuriating. http://grist.org/briefly/puerto-ricos-power-outage-keeps-getting-weirder-and-more-infuriating/
    It turns out that the territory’s utility has been withholding supplies needed to restore power after Hurricane Maria. In a tense, armed standoff last weekend, FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers seized much-needed electrical equipment from a warehouse owned by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and according to Governor Ricardo Rosselló the Department of Justice is now investigating the power utility.
    The feds quickly distributed the seized materials to contractors — who were apparently spending their time watching movies in their trucks because they didn’t have the supplies they needed. Meanwhile “hundreds of thousands of families have been in the dark for more than 125 days, people keep dying, and businesses continue to close due to the lack of energy while the necessary spare parts were in the possession of PREPA.” (Eduardo Bhatia, minority leader of the Senate of Puerto Rico)

  4. 4 months later says:

    Puerto Rico will privatize its power utility. https://www.elnuevodia.com/english/english/nota/ricardorosselloannouncedaprivatizationmodelforprepa-2392103/
    Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced Monday that he will begin the process of selling the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, pending the approval of a federal judge and the island’s legislature. Before Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on the U.S. territory last September, PREPA was already saddled with $9 billion of debt and aging infrastructure. After the hurricane, the utility came under fire for a series of blunders — from hiring and then firing Whitefish Energy to allegedly hoarding necessary supplies. Today, 30 percent of the island is still without power.
    “What we know today is the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority does not work and cannot continue to operate like this,” Governor Rosselló said in a statement.
    Fun fact: Both Whitefish Energy and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke hail from the small Montana town of Whitefish, which has a population of just over 6,300. Zinke’s son worked for the company for a summer, and Zinke reportedly helped the company secure a contract in Montana last year. The company also counts the Dallas-based HBC Investments LLC among its investors; Joseph Colonnetta, founding and general partner of HBC, donated $5,400 to Trump’s presidential campaign. https://thinkprogress.org/secretary-zinke-blames-media-for-whitefish-energy-scandal-517a7036a864/
    Meanwhile: “Puerto Rican families staying in U.S. abruptly lose FEMA funding for housing” https://www.aol.com/article/news/2018/01/25/puerto-rican-families-staying-in-us-abruptly-lose-fema-funding-for-housing/23343378/

  5. Update says:

    “Puerto Rico’s blackout, the largest in American history, explained : Nearly a million Americans are still without power in part because of the botched hurricane recovery.” (Vox 3/1/18) https://www.vox.com/2018/2/8/16986408/puerto-rico-blackout-power-hurricane “Another blackout has hit Puerto Rico. A power line fault on Thursday led to the shutdowns of two power plants, knocking out electricity to regions that are home to more than 970,000 people. It’s yet another setback for Puerto Rico, still in the throes of the longest and largest blackout in US history following Hurricane Maria, the Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds and 36 inches of rainfall that toppled 80 percent of the island’s power lines and flooded its generators last September. SIX MONTHS AGO

  6. ¡Basta ya! says:

    “Inside Puerto Rico’s Plan to Influence the Midterm Elections : Frustrated by Congress’ response to Hurricane Maria, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is preparing to drop a ‘hammer’ in targeted states in 2018.” https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/04/10/inside-puerto-ricos-plan-to-influence-the-midterm-elections-217840
    “Just over six months before winning a $300 million contract to fix part of Puerto Rico’s electrical grid, Whitefish Energy Holdings’ finances were not strong, according to emails HuffPost received through an open records request. The emails raise more questions about how the once unknown, two-employee company from a small Montana town secured the contract to help restore power on the island after Hurricane Maria.” https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/whitefish-energy-financials_us_5aa30036e4b086698a9dd3eb

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