Puerto Rico’s governor Ricardo Rosselló requested that Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) immediately cancel their $300 million deal with Whitefish, and his request was granted.
PREPA has announced that will cancel the no-bid contract it signed with Whitefish last month, after multiple congressional committees stated that they will be launching an investigation into how the small Montana-based energy firm, with only two employees, was able to land the massive contract to rebuild Puerto Rico’s demolished energy grid.
Whitefish signed the deal with PREPA on Sept. 26, just days after Hurricane Maria had passed over Puerto Rico. The arrangement drew massive scrutiny from both sides of the aisle after independent journalist Ken Klippenstein obtained and released the details of the contract.
Whitefish contract states, "In no event shall [government bodies] have the right to audit or review the cost and profit elements." Wow. pic.twitter.com/dIyQXb6AK0
— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) October 27, 2017
Critics argue that the tiny firm has no experience working on a project as trying to rebuild the power grid for an entire island. Many have also found the deal suspect because Whitefish is located in the hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who has a prior relationship with their CEO, Andy Techmanski. Additionally, it has been reported that one of Zinke’s sons had a summer job working for Techmanski.
The contract between Whitefish and PREPA signed the deal with no competitive bidding process, and the final contract stated that FEMA “has reviewed and approved.” But FEMA, much like the White House, has quickly and quietly distanced themselves from the Whitefish deal, saying in a statement that they had no input on the deal that PREPA supposedly approved by itself.
Even Zinke has denied having any knowledge of the deal until after PREPA had awarded the contract to Whitefish.
“I had absolutely nothing to do with Whitefish Energy receiving a contract in Puerto Rico. Neither myself not anyone in my office has advocated for this company in anyway.”
As the list of people who know nothing continues to grow, the Department of Homeland Security inspector general has called for a general audit, in addition to the multiple congressional committees lining up to ask questions.