Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

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Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

Post by Anaxagoras » Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:45 am

This stinks, frankly:

$300M Puerto Rico Recovery Contract Awarded to Tiny Utility Company Linked to Major Trump Donor
Puerto Rico has agreed to pay a reported $300 million for the restoration of its power grid to a tiny utility company that is primarily financed by a private-equity firm founded and run by a man who contributed large sums of money to President Trump, an investigation conducted by The Daily Beast has found.

Whitefish Energy Holdings, which had a reported staff of only two full-time employees when Hurricane Maria touched down, appears ill-equipped to handle the daunting task of restoring electricity to Puerto Rico’s more than 3 million residents.

Much larger utilities are more commonly used following natural disasters on the scale of Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island last month.

The private-equity firm that finances Whitefish, HBC Investments, was founded by Joe Colonnetta, who serves as its general partner.

Federal Elections Commission data compiled by The Daily Beast shows Colonnetta contributed $20,000 to the Trump Victory PAC during the general election, $2,700 to Trump’s primary election campaign (then the maximum amount permitted), $2,700 to Trump’s general election campaign (also the maximum), and a total of $30,700 to the Republican National Committee in 2016 alone.

Colonnetta’s wife, Kimberly, is no stranger to Republican politics either; shortly after Trump’s victory, she gave $33,400 to the Republican National Committee, the maximum contribution permitted for party committees in 2016.

Joe Colonnetta is not the only Republican connection to the controversial Whitefish contract. On Monday, The Washington Post reported that Whitefish Chief Executive Officer Andy Techmanski is friends with Trump administration Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Moreover, Whitefish is located in Zinke’s hometown of Whitefish, Montana.

. . .

“Whitefish seems to be nothing more than a glorified middleman to get the real providers of the services, with which PREPA [the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority] could have contracted directly,” Vega-Ramos said. “It is a cozy sweetheart deal in which Whitefish gets a gratuity for subcontracting the actual providers.”
But at least they're draining the swamp!!
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Re: Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

Post by Doctor X » Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:58 am

Unless they paid Trump $500,000-1,000,000 for a speech. . . .

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Re: Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

Post by Grammatron » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:04 am

There's nothing dubious about it. These guys are taking a risk and were contracted by Puerto Rico directly because they had experience with similar work before, the few numbers Puerto Rico government had available, and were willing to work for later pay.

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Re: Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

Post by Anaxagoras » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:25 am

Grammatron wrote:There's nothing dubious about it. These guys are taking a risk and were contracted by Puerto Rico directly because they had experience with similar work before, the few numbers Puerto Rico government had available, and were willing to work for later pay.
What risk are they taking exactly? The company might go bankrupt if they can't fulfill their end of the contract with the money given? Even if the company does eventually go bankrupt, they might personally make back their initial investment many times over before then.
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Re: Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

Post by Grammatron » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:29 am

Anaxagoras wrote:
Grammatron wrote:There's nothing dubious about it. These guys are taking a risk and were contracted by Puerto Rico directly because they had experience with similar work before, the few numbers Puerto Rico government had available, and were willing to work for later pay.
What risk are they taking exactly? The company might go bankrupt if they can't fulfill their end of the contract with the money given? Even if the company does eventually go bankrupt, they might personally make back their initial investment many times over before then.

No money upfront from a power company that is $9 billion dollar in debt. Seems like a risk to me.

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Re: Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

Post by Anaxagoras » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:39 am

Grammatron wrote: No money upfront from a power company that is $9 billion dollar in debt. Seems like a risk to me.
The federal government will pay for it one way or another. Not as risky as it might appear.

They have too. It's electricity, a basic necessity.

There's probably also clauses in the contract that make sure they get paid before other debt-holders.
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Re: Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

Post by Anaxagoras » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:43 am

A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
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Re: Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

Post by Grammatron » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:43 am

I guess that's why others have passed on the opportunity?

From a right-wing website
A profile of the company on a site that tracks federal contracts lists Whitefish as having just two employees and $1 million in annual revenue.

So why was it given such a big, expensive job?

PREPA's chief executive officer, Ricardo Ramos, describes the choice as a matter of timing and convenience.

"We knew there was going to be a direct hit, so we wanted as much resources as possible," Ramos told NPR. "Their name popped up on several fronts."

Ramos says PREPA received bids from a few companies in the lull between Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. The utility, which filed for bankruptcy in July, shortlisted two, including Whitefish.

"Just before Hurricane Maria came, one of those two requested a payment guarantee that we thought was a bit onerous, so we decided to mobilize Whitefish," Ramos says.

Whitefish did not ask for a payment guarantee, and it got the contract with PREPA.

The company was picked because it was "the only one who was willing to take on the job of restoring power for the people of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria," Margaret Jones of LDWW Group, a public relations firm representing Whitefish, wrote in an email. "When they called and needed help – Whitefish went right to work."

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Re: Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

Post by Tommy D » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:57 am

Anaxagoras wrote:The private-equity firm that finances Whitefish, HBC Investments, was founded by Joe Colonnetta, who serves as its general partner.

The Washington Post reported that Whitefish Chief Executive Officer Andy Techmanski
He's prejudiced.

Prejudiced against Italians!

And Polacks!

Can you fucking believe that?! In this day and age?! I can't believe this . . . a J.A.P. Dude prejudiced against Italians!
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Re: Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

Post by Anaxagoras » Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:40 pm

Puerto Rico utility cancels controversial energy contract
Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority canceled its $300 million contract with Whitefish Energy, a Montana-based company, after additional scrutiny surrounding the repair contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The move comes after Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló called for the cancellation of the contract Sunday morning. Rosselló’s public call to the federal oversight board of Puerto Rico happened after days of resisting any change to the contract, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
Earlier this month, The Washington Post reported that Whitefish had previously employed the son of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and that the company was selected despite having no experience in large-scale electrical repairs and with only two full-time employees. The company has subcontracted out its work on the island.

Since then the contract, initiated by PREPA using federal emergency funds, has come under congressional scrutiny and put Zinke on the defensive.

Zinke on Friday said he had “absolutely nothing to do” with the awarding of the contract to Whitefish, which is from his hometown. "Any attempts by the dishonest media or political operatives to tie me to awarding or influencing any contract involving Whitefish are completely baseless. Only in elitist Washington, D.C., would being from a small town be considered a crime," Zinke wrote in a statement.
Gotta love Zinke's high dudgeon there: the only reason they're questioning me is because they are "elitists" and because I come from a small town.
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Re: Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

Post by Mentat » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:57 pm

The deal is now under investigation.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/fbi-is-pro ... 1509379394
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating a $300 million contract awarded by Puerto Rico’s government power company to a tiny Montana energy firm to rebuild electrical infrastructure damaged in Hurricane Maria, according to people familiar with the matter.
It's "pea-can", man.

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Re: Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

Post by Grammatron » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:10 pm

The only people who will suffer are the residents of Puerto Rico.

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Re: Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

Post by Mentat » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:16 pm

For investigating corruption?
It's "pea-can", man.

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Re: Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

Post by Grammatron » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:24 pm

Mentat wrote:For investigating corruption?
Not sure there was corruption here.

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Re: Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

Post by Mentat » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:26 pm

So the FBI is investigating just for funzies.
It's "pea-can", man.

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Re: Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

Post by WildCat » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:33 pm

Grammatron wrote:
Mentat wrote:For investigating corruption?
Not sure there was corruption here.
PR is crazy corrupt, the main reason it's such an economic basket case. It would shock me if there wasn't corruption in this deal.
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Re: Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

Post by Grammatron » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:33 pm

Mentat wrote:So the FBI is investigating just for funzies.
I doubt it. I just don't think only guilty people get investigated.

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Re: Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

Post by Mentat » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:37 pm

Grammatron wrote:
Mentat wrote:So the FBI is investigating just for funzies.
I doubt it. I just don't think only guilty people get investigated.
And how do you know if they are not guilty before an investigation?
It's "pea-can", man.

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Re: Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

Post by Grammatron » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:41 pm

Mentat wrote:
Grammatron wrote:
Mentat wrote:So the FBI is investigating just for funzies.
I doubt it. I just don't think only guilty people get investigated.
And how do you know if they are not guilty before an investigation?
I don't nor suggested such.

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Re: Highly dubious contract awarded to small firm with links to Trump Admin

Post by Mentat » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:43 pm

Then why would the only ones who suffered be PR if they were guilty? Sounds like they'd be spared.
It's "pea-can", man.

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