The Whitefish Puerto Rico Electrical Grid Scam

This morning I came across a story regarding a tiny power company that was awarded a 300 million dollar contract to restore power in Puerto Rico, and to say this smells fishy would be an understatement.

A small Montana company located in Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's hometown has signed a $300 million contract to help get the power back on in Puerto Rico, The Washington Post reported.

Whitefish Energy had only two full-time employees on the day Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, according to the Post. The company signed the contract — the largest yet issued to help restore Puerto Rico — with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) to fix the island's electrical infrastructure.

The company now has 280 workers on the island, the Post reported, a majority of whom are subcontractors.

A former senior official at the Energy Department and state regulatory agencies said it was "odd" that Whitefish Energy would be chosen.

“The fact that there are so many utilities with experience in this and a huge track record of helping each other out, it is at least odd why [the utility] would go to Whitefish,” Susan Tierney said.

“I’m scratching my head wondering how it all adds up.”

Let's call this what it really is: Money Laundering. I wouldn't doubt for a second that the two assholes at Whitefish pocketed the money that should have simply gone to Puerto Rico in the first place. From WaPo

Rosselló said Wednesday that the island would spend $490 million on the initial phase of repairing the commonwealth’s grid, adding that “a large portion of that would probably go to Whitefish” and another contractor. The utility gave Whitefish a $3.7 million initial payment for “mobilization of personnel and equipment,” the contract says. Whitefish could be paid as much as $300 million for up to two years of work.

Under the contract, the hourly rate was set at $330 for a site supervisor, and at $227.88 for a “journeyman lineman.” The cost for subcontractors, which make up the bulk of Whitefish’s workforce, is $462 per hour for a supervisor and $319.04 for a lineman. Whitefish also charges nightly accommodation fees of $332 per worker and almost $80 per day for food.

Only eight contracts larger than $20 million have been approved for Puerto Rico by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, with half of those for shipments of food and bottled water. Whitefish’s contract surpasses the $240 million contract the Army Corps awarded to engineering giant Fluor to “augment ongoing efforts” to repair the power grid.

I'll say it one more time: Money Laundering. Doubtless the the actual workers on the ground are being paid pennies on the dollar compared to the supposed 'costs'.

This is the plain and simple ravaging of the carcass that is Puerto Rico by the vulture capitalists. Just like Halliburton/KBR in Iraq.

If this isn't the definition of the word brazen, I don't know what is.

See ya around,

Aspie

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$320/hour for a lineman? WTF?
and you know damn well that this is exactly the kind of criminal bs that we paid for with all those contractors hired to rebuild and/or pacify iraq

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The Aspie Corner's picture

@UntimelyRippd I highly doubt the linemen themselves are being paid that much.

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@The Aspie Corner
there are places where certain skilled contractors can earn improbable rates, but those places are typically in war zones or failed nations or otherwise very dangerous places, usually an ocean removed from the US.

this is puerto rico, not nigeria.

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Hillbilly Dem's picture

more bang for their buck than we do here in the good ol' U. S. of A. What a fucking scam. The video in Aspie Corner's story [watch it, please] reveals that this two-man firm called Whitefish (which company is only 2 years old) is named for their town, Whitefish, Montana. Which is also the hometown of.....wait for it .....

Ryan-Fucking-Zinke

Trump's Secretary of The Interior.

Another day, another grifting monstrosity.

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"Just call me Hillbilly Dem(exit)."
-H/T to Wavey Davey

Steven D's picture

at its finest, so to speak.

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"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

The BBC has a good article on this, I tried to link but unsuccessful. Maybe someone could try--bbc.co.uk. Search: puerto rico whitefish

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An ideologue is someone who has stopped thinking.

Here's the link from The BBC

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-cana

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An ideologue is someone who has stopped thinking.

TheOtherMaven's picture

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.