San Juan Mayor Calls For ‘Canceling’ $300M Contract Given To Tiny Montana Firm Tied To Trump Official
Whitefish Energy, a small Montana company that only two years old and had just two employees, was awarded a $300 million contract last week to help restore Puerto Rico’s power grid following Hurricane Maria.
The Washington Post broke the story, reporting that the small company is based in the Montana hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who happens to be a close friend of the tiny firm’s CEO. The report raised eyebrows across social media and sparked an avalanche of comments with Americans calling for an investigation.
Now, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz is calling for the “alarming” contract to be “canceled.”
“The contract should be voided right away and a proper process which is clear, transparent, legal, moral and ethical should take place,” she continued, Cruz told Yahoo News in an interview published Wednesday.
“It seems like what the Puerto Rican people are going to be paying for, or the American people are going to be paying for, is an intermediary that doesn’t know what is at stake here and that really has to subcontract everything. … What we need is somebody that can get the job done and that has the expertise to get the job done.”
Whitefish and the Puerto Rican government have defended the contract.
The company said in a statement Wednesday that Cruz’s comments are “misplaced,” noting a workforce of 300 people on the island.
“We are making progress and doing work when others are not even here,” the company said.
In a statement, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said the contract went to Whitefish because it didn’t need money upfront, something the island’s struggling utility couldn’t provide.
“Of all those who met the requirements and aggressive schedules to bring brigades, one was asking for a substantial amount of money — which PREPA had no liquidity for — and another did not require it,” he said. “That other one is Whitefish.”