It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
In no event shall PREPA, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the FEMA Administrator, the Comptroller General of the United States, or any of their authorized representatives have the right to audit or review the cost and profit elements of the labor rates specified herein.
Contractor will use commercially reasonable efforts to perform the work in such a manner to meet scheduling expectations, but PREPA waives any claim against Contractor related to delayed completion of the work.
Whitefish Energy is based in Whitefish, Montona, the home town of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Its chief executive, Andy Techmanski, and Zinke acknowledge knowing one another — but only, Zinke's office said in an email, because Whitefish is a small town where "everybody knows everybody." One of Zinke's sons "joined a friend who worked a summer job" at one of Techmanski's construction sites, the email said. Whitefish said he worked as a "flagger."
“Texas-based company HBC Investments invested in Whitefish Energy this past August, a month before Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico and left the U.S. territory in the dark,” Montana Public Radio reported.
HBC Investments’ founder and partner, Joe Colonnetta, has donated more than $40,000 to Rick Perry’s previous campaigns. “As governor, Perry appointed Colonnetta as a trustee to the Teacher’s Retirement System of Texas,” MPR said Thursday.
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.
Zinke isn’t the only member of the Trump administration with a connection to the Whitefish contract. In addition to the Colonnettas’ contributions to Trump’s presidential campaign, Kimberly Colonnetta’s Facebook page contains a photo of her with Ben Carson, Trump’s secretary of housing and urban development. Another photo appears to show Kimberly Colonnetta with Trump Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Both photos were posted the week of Trump’s inauguration.
The Federal Emergency Management Administration said in a statement that it was looking into whether the contract between Whitefish Energy and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or PREPA, “followed applicable regulations to ensure that federal money is properly spent.”
The statement said an initial review said FEMA “has significant concerns over how PREPA procured this contract and has not confirmed whether the contract prices are reasonable.”
FEMA also noted it did not give any preliminary approval for the deal, which was reached without competitive bidding.
The White House, meanwhile, sought to distance itself from the issue. White House spokesman Raj Shah said the deal with Whitefish was “made exclusively” by PREPA.
“The White House is not aware of any federal involvement in the selection,” Shah said in a statement.
Puerto Rico’s financial oversight board is moving to install an emergency manager at the island’s state-owned utility amid criticism of a $300 million contract it awarded to a small Montana energy firm for work on the territory’s crippled electrical grid.
The board said Wednesday that it intends to appoint Noel Zamot, a retired Air Force colonel and member of the oversight panel, to oversee daily operations of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.
United States flag inactive branch WHITEFISH ENERGY CORP. (Tennessee (US), 31 Oct 1980-31 Dec 1987, # 604 10655 N E 4TH BELLEVUE, WA 98004 USA)
United States flag branch WHITEFISH ENERGY HOLDINGS, LLC (Idaho (US), 26 Sep 2016- , 144 ASPEN RIDGE WAY WHITEFISH, MT 59937)
United States flag branch WHITEFISH ENERGY HOLDINGS, LLC (Texas (US), 11 Oct 2016- )
United States flag branch WHITEFISH ENERGY HOLDINGS, LLC (Washington (US), 11 Oct 2016- )
United States flag WHITEFISH ENERGY HOLDINGS, LLC (Montana (US), 28 May 2015- )
United States flag inactive WHITEFISH ENERGY, INC. (Montana (US), 8 Feb 1993- 2 Dec 1994)
United States flag Whitefish Energy Constructors, LLC (Montana (US), 13 Sep 2016- )
United States flag Whitefish Energy, LLC (Montana (US), 1 Aug 2017- )
TECHMANSKI AND two representatives from a Brazilian transformer company met Dec. 12 with local and economic development leaders about the project. Whitefish Energy Holdings is a servicing company that was established 18 months ago to work on power-line construction, substation construction and environmental mitigation projects. According to a company prospectus, Comtrafo, a Brazilian transformer manufacturing company, recently purchased 51 percent of Whitefish Energy, shifting the company’s focus toward production of large-scale transformers for the U.S. market.
The American Public Power Association, based in Washington, confirmed today that the troubled Puerto Rico public utility that serves more than 3 million people on the island has decided not to request assistance from the group of 1,100 U.S. electricity companies standing ready to help.
The association coordinates mutual aid disaster assistance for U.S. public power companies, which include the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA). "The request for help was not activated," said group spokeswoman Meena Dayak. "We do have people who are ready to help."
Whitefish, a subsidiary of COMTRAFO Brazil, an engineering services firm that specializes in electric power transformers, said on social media that it had won a general contract to rebuild power lines in Puerto Rico. Whitefish has said it has committed an initial 200 power line employees to restoring the grid with a possibility of adding 200 or 300 more.
“The fact is that safety and reliability must be PREPA’s first priorities, above all other considerations,” a searing report commissioned by the Puerto Rican government concluded last year. “Energy efficiency and renewable energy take time to implement; PREPA’s system is in a desperate state today.”
The report described the utility’s budget as “opaque and distortionary,” made worse by “poor record keeping.” The generous $134 million allocated for discretionary spending ― nearly one-third of the annual budget ― suggested a slush fund. Alleged corruption only made operating costs higher. A class-action lawsuit filed in 2015 accused PREPA of more than $1 billion in fraud, claiming it had taken kickbacks from oil suppliers including Brazil’s Petrobras and Royal Dutch Shell.
COMTRAFO is currently the only supplier in Brazil for Desalination Transformers for PETROBRAS. Very Special Transformers with imbued reactor, to pump the first filtering process of the brute petroleum.
originally posted by: dashen
Whitefish is a red herring.
the Puerto Rican electric company made this decision.
And we all know how electric companies are inscrutable pinnacles of ethics and honesty
The contract was reportedly awarded through a phone call placed in the days immediately after Maria hit. A PREPA employee who happened to have a satellite phone and phone number for Whitefish made the call, according to a story published by E&E News, an independent news organization that focuses on energy and environmental issues.
PREPA is the only entity authorized to conduct such business in Puerto Rico, making it a government monopoly
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The chief executive of Puerto Rico's bankrupt electricity company says he did not ask for help from mainland U.S. utilities before and immediately after Hurricane Maria destroyed the island's grid because the utility couldn't afford to pay anybody back for equipment and manpower.
Ramos was on several calls among APPA members prior to and just after Hurricane Irma, which struck right before Hurricane Maria, Hyland said. The question of the utility's financial resources "was never brought up in any of the calls."
Whitefish got the go-ahead to head to Puerto Rico, not from Ramos but from PREPA's procurement employees, who had a satellite phone and Whitefish's phone number, Ramos said. He did not explain why that communication source was unavailable to him.
The company is getting paid $309 an hour for each journeyman line worker, almost 10 times the average rate of such worker in the United States.
It's also getting a daily reimbursement of $332 for housing and $79 for food for each worker.
"I had absolutely nothing to do with Whitefish Energy receiving a contract in Puerto Rico," said Zinke in a statement linked to a tweet. "Any attempts by the dishonest media or political operatives to tie me to awarding or influencing any contract involving Whitefish are completely baseless."
Zinke acknowledged that after the company's initial contract was awarded, he was contacted by the company, though he did not give the name of the individual who reached out to him. Zinke said he took no action and that all relevant documents would be disclosed to "appropriate officials."
"I welcome any and all investigations into these allegations," Zinke said.
The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general, an agency watchdog, confirmed Friday that federal auditors will review the Whitefish contract.
"As part of their standard procedure, they will conduct vetting to look for the presence of any inappropriate relationships," said Arlen Morales, a spokeswoman for the inspector general's office.
A Whitefish spokesman called Colonnetta's political donations "irrelevant." ''If one of the investors supported President Trump, that has nothing to do with anything," spokesman Chris Chiames said.
Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority director Ricardo Ramos has praised the work performed by Whitefish so far, saying the company's was the only offer the utility received that did not require a down payment. The power company is $9 billion in debt and was already struggling to provide service amid ongoing power outages before hurricanes Irma and Maria hit last month.
"There is nothing illegal going on here," Ramos said Thursday.
originally posted by: Vector99
a reply to: theantediluvian
I'm not fully up to speed on this whole thing, but from what I understand is that whitefish was the only bid that required $0 up front, which is why they won the bid.
As far as the company only having 2 employees, that's not uncommon for a general contractor to be a single employee or in a small partnership. They will have partner companies they work with to secure the parts and labor needed for the specific job they will be doing.
originally posted by: jadedANDcynical
a reply to: Flatfish
a reply to: Vector99
If, perhaps, you'd read through the thread, you might learn that it was a PREPA procurement employee who made the call to COMTRAFO/Whitefish and that not even the CEO was involved in that exchange.
FP&L is part of APPA.
APPA had had some initial dialogue with PREPA, between Irma & Maria, but supposedly the devastation caused by Maria all of the groundwork between PREPA and APPA was scrapped in favor of going with COMTRAFO/Whitefish due to one of the procurement employees being the only person with access to a satellite phone.