The U.S. has since restarted the process to supply the badly-needed emergency coverings to Puerto Rico where thousands continue to live in dire conditions, two months after Hurricane Maria
A Florida company was awarded $30 million in federal contracts to provide emergency supplies to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, but failed to deliver a single item, a new report says.
Bronze Star LLC landed the pricey contract to provide emergency tarps and plastic sheeting despite it being in existence for less than three months, according to AP.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency canceled the contracts earlier this month.
The AP report states that although no money was paid out, millions in disaster funds were tied up during the nearly four weeks between the day FEMA awarded the contracts and the day it terminated them.
Whitefish Energy workers [photo], working on power lines damaged by Hurricane Maria in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico. Feds launched an investigation into a $300 million government contract awarded to the tiny Montana company to help rebuild Puerto Rico’s completely destroyed
Formed by two brothers in August, Bronze Star was based out of a home in the town of St. Cloud and had never successfully bid for a government contract prior, or delivered tarps or sheeting.
FEMA still awarded the company two contracts to ship 500,000 tarps and 60,000 rolls of plastic sheeting.
More than a half-dozen other firms also bid, but FEMA said it could not provide further details.
“We were trying to help; it wasn’t about making money or anything like that,” co-owner Kayon Jones told the AP. Jones who claimed the non-execution arose because the supplies were held up seeing as the bulk of the raw materials came from Houston, which was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey.
Bronze Star reached out to FEMA for more time and permission to order tarps from a Chinese supplier but the government denied the request, Jones said.
Away from the raging media wars the Island still to recover more than 20 percent of it’s operational capacity
While the turf war rages the relief effort is largely stalled [Photo], the neighbourhood of Juana Matos is completely flooded after Hurricane Maria. Relief is not in sight
The U.S. government has since restarted the process to supply the badly-needed emergency coverings to Puerto Rico where thousands continue to live under dire conditions, most homeless, two months after the devastation wrecked by Hurricane Maria on the island.
FEMA spokesman Ron Roth said: “Submissions from potential contractors are objectively evaluated, and a contract is awarded based on the highest-rated submission”.
The agency’s review process was “somewhat expedited” after Hurricane Maria to respond as quickly as possible to the emergency. But he stood by the decision to select Bronze Star, Roth said.
Ryan Zinke, Interior Secretarythe has denied complicity in the award of the $300 million government contract awarded to a tiny company from his home state Montana to help rebuild Puerto Rico’s decimated power grid. His son worked for the company one summer
Ricardo Rossello, Gov of Puerto Rico, asked the fed govt to revoke the contract awarded Whitefish
The revelation comes a month after the FBI launched an investigation into a $300 million government contract awarded to a similarly inexperienced company out of Montana tasked with rebuilding Puerto Rico’s power grid. A major undertaking since the island’s infrastructure was totally destroyed.
News of the contract sparked widespread criticism over the no-bid contract awarded to Whitefish Energy Holdings, which is based in the hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Whitefish had only two employees when Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico on Sept. 20.
Puerto Rico’s Gov. Ricardo Rossello also called the DHS inspector general to launch a review in a letter on Oct 25, same day San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz found herself in a Twitter feud with Whitefish.
The handling of the post Hurricane Maria relief efforts has pitched San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, into head on confrontation with FEMA and the Trump administration
Cruz, who said the contract should be “voided right away,” went back and forth with Whitefish, which tweeted, “We’ve got 44 linemen rebuilding power lines in your city & 40 more men just arrived. Do you want us to send them back or keep working?”
The company later issued an apology for threatening to withdraw its services, saying its comments “did not represent who we are and how important this work is to help Puerto Rico’s recovery.”
One of the revelations of the Whitefish Energy contract saga is that the company did not undergo a formal bidding process to land the largest contract awarded to any company for the island’s relief efforts, according to the Washington Post .
The company is also based in the same Montana hometown as Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, whose son reportedly spent a summer working for Whitefish.
While Secretary Zinke’s office said he was not involved in securing the contract, CNN reported that the DHS inspector general has launched a review with plans to look into the process by which the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority chose Whitefish.