San Juan mayor, lawmakers call for investigation into Whitefish Energy contract
PUERTO RICO — More than a month after Hurricane Maria struck, three-quarters of Puerto Rico is still without power. Now, questions are being raised about the two-person energy company that’s been awarded a $300 million, no-bid contract to help restore electricity.
The contract is the biggest contract for the ongoing recovery effort and Whitefish Energy, a two-year-old company that has only two full-time employees. It relies on subcontractors to get jobs done, CBS News reported.
“This appears to be a pretty small company,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski. “Are they capable of doing the job that they’re being asked?”
It appears some don’t think so.
In an interview with Yahoo News Tuesday evening, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz said the deal with the energy company to help rebuild the island’s power grid should be voided. Cruz described the company as “inadequate” and said the contract lacks “due diligence”.
Whitefish shot back on Twitter with a threat to leave, writing “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 apologized.
Lawmakers, though, are eager to know how Whitefish got the job in the first place.
“My biggest concern is we don’t have enough information as to the process that went into that,” said Utah Rep. Rob Bishop.
Politicians on Capitol Hill from both sides of the aisle are now calling for an investigation into the Whitefish contract and reported ties to the Trump administration.
Whitefish responded by saying it won the deal is because it was willing to accept much less money up front than the other company under consideration.