Puerto Rico gov seeks to cancel $300M Whitefish contract

Jose Martinez

Puerto Rico's governor called for the island's utility to cancel a $300 million power restoration contract with a small Montana-based company on Sunday.

First reported by Daily Beast contributor Ken Klippenstein, the contract awarded to Whitefish Energy seems to heavily favor the company.

And that the Puerto Rican government "waives any claim against contractor related to delayed completion of work". The ranking Democrats on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources and Finance committees on Wednesday asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate the contract.

Mr. Trump asked Mr. Zinke in the Oval Office meeting that he had nothing to do with the contract awarded to Whitefish Energy Holdings, a firm that had two employees before the deal.

"I obviously want to find out more about it because this is quite a substantial contract and one that is really important for the people of Puerto Rico right now", Murkowski told reporters.

The House is also looking into the ordeal.

At the same time, the island's governor, Ricardo Rosselló, who now controls PREPA, may file suit to block Zamot from taking over, arguing that the control board is making a power grab and exceeding its authority.

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"The governor also did not say how the utility would disentangle itself from the contract with Whitefish Energy". "I was surprised that such a small company from Montana got the contract".

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.

Mrs. Sanders also noted that the deal is being audited, and the White House will wait for the audit to be completed before commenting further.

News reports have revealed that Zinke's son worked a summer construction job for Whitefish CEO Andy Techmanski.

Bipartisan concern in Congress escalated for a second day Thursday over the slow pace of power restoration in Puerto Rico and the contract to help fix the electrical grid.

"There is nothing there", they added.

Rep. Nydia Velázquez, a New York Democrat born on the island, who has been active in pushing for resources for Puerto Rico's recovery, said Zamot's appointment is "completely appropriate" because PREPA chose to forgo mutual aid agreements with other power authorities - a type of voluntary partnership that allows for companies to easily share resources to get power up and running as quickly as possible after a disaster - and hire Whitefish.

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