Puerto Rico Governor Calls For Termination Of Whitefish Contract

Puerto Rico's Frantic Search for Someone to Turn on the Lights

In a statement, FEMA said it was not involved in the decision, and warned that it might not reimburse the authority, known as PREPA, if the contract does not abide by federal requirements.

The company has come under additional scrutiny due to its ties to a donor of President Donald Trump and the fact that it is located in Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's hometown of Whitefish.

Rossello also said he has asked the Office of the Comptroller for a detailed and thorough investigation about the contracting process that the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority used to select Whitefish.

The current work by Whitefish teams will not be affected by the cancellation and that work will be completed in November, Ramos said.

The Trump administration denied Friday (Oct. 27) that political connections had anything to do with restoring electrical connections in Puerto Rico, and Zinke said Friday he had nothing to do with the contract.

Rossello said that at least $8 million has been paid to Whitefish so far, but "there can not be any kind of distraction that alters the commitment to restore electrical power as soon as possible in Puerto Rico".

More than a month after Hurricane Maria ravaged the Caribbean, over 70 percent of the USA island territory still has no electricity.

This story is developing and will be updated. He also flew to Puerto Rico in a "leap of faith" in hopes of getting the contract.


Whitefish and PREPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"We can't be responsible for what the others might do", the spokesperson said when asked about the line in the contract that said government agencies may not audit or review cost and profit elements. But questions arose soon after news broke on October 19 that the Montana-based company was chosen over bigger and better known companies vying for the job.

Ramos, in a press conference Sunday, noted that the initial enthusiasm from residents over Whitefish employees coming to the island had shifted in the last several days after media reported the details of the contract.

Earlier in the week, the department also released a statement denying Zinke played a role and saying he only knows Whitefish CEO Andy Techmanskis "because they both live in a small town where everyone knows everyone".

"The White House is not aware of any federal involvement in the selection", White House spokesman Raj Shah said.

Two days ago, officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency expressed "significant concerns" about how Techmanski's company won the contract and are investigating.

The US House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Caribbean island, is also scrutinising the contract.

Governor Ricardo Rossello said the board of the island's power company should rescind the $300 million pact with Whitefish Energy Holdings, an upstart fix company in Montana, a western US state, even though just days ago he defended the contract.

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