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Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Old 10-27-17, 09:46 AM
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Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

One thing I haven't seen get much attention around here is Whitefish Energy. For those who haven't seen the news, Whitefish is a small (literally 2 people) company based in Whitefish, Montana. Whitefish was awarded the contract to restore Puerto Rico's power lines after Hurricane Maria.

Why would Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority give a contract like that to a company that is not only clearly too small (they have since hired a bunch of linemen to work this project), but that comes from more than 3,000 miles away?

I'm sure it's just a coincidence, but Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke is from Whitefish, MT.

Congress is investigating, and presumably so will GAO

The latest news is that Whitefish's contract explicitly says the government isn't allowed to "audit or review the cost and profit elements" of Whitefish's work and the government can't make "any claim against Contractor related to delayed completion of work."

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, and whether and how the administration's defenders try to justify this.
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Old 10-27-17, 09:52 AM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Does the administration actually have defenders?
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Old 10-27-17, 10:04 AM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

I did read a couple articles on it.

Keep in mind those thousands they hired are on contract. Not permanent.

Also all the utility companies have an agreement to help each other out. Many were on standbye waiting to get the word to go.

The only “reason” I’ve read is this company did jobs in similar type territory (mountains and forest). But obviously on a much smaller scale.

It’s very weird.
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Old 10-27-17, 10:07 AM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

I've driven through Whitefish.
A lot of rich Canadians own property there and use it as a vacation spot.
This has nothing to do with this company, of course; they sound pretty shady, though.
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Old 10-27-17, 10:08 AM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

OCTOBER 24, 2017 / 8:59 PM / 3 DAYS AGO
Puerto Rico, Whitefish defend controversial power contract
Nick Brown

(Reuters) - Puerto Rico and Whitefish Energy Holdings on Tuesday defended their $300 million contract for the small Montana company to repair the U.S. territory’s hurricane-ravaged power grid after the deal was criticized by U.S. lawmakers.

Whitefish last month signed a deal with Puerto Rico’s quasi-public power utility, PREPA, to help fix a grid that was nearly destroyed by Maria, the strongest storm to hit Puerto Rico in 90 years.

In a statement on Tuesday, Governor Ricardo Rossello said his administration would review PREPA’s contracting practices and forward findings to the island’s comptroller.

Rossello defended the deal, saying it was necessary to ensure Puerto Rico would have workers in place quickly.

“Of those (contractors) who met the requirements and aggressive schedules to bring brigades, one was asking for a substantial amount of money - which PREPA had no liquidity for - and another did not require it,” Rossello said. “That other one is Whitefish.”
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-u...-idUSKBN1CU020

FEMA's statement:
The decision to award a contract to Whitefish Energy was made exclusively by Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA). FEMA was not involved in the selection. Questions regarding the awarding of the contract should be directed to PREPA.

Any language in any contract between PREPA and Whitefish that states FEMA approved that contract is inaccurate.

FEMA has not provided any reimbursement to Puerto Rico to date for the PREPA contract with Whitefish Energy. Regardless, FEMA will verify that the applicant (in this case PREPA) has, in fact, followed applicable regulations to ensure that federal money is properly spent.

Based on initial review and information from PREPA, FEMA has significant concerns with how PREPA procured this contract and has not confirmed whether the contract prices are reasonable. FEMA is presently engaged with PREPA and its legal counsel to obtain information about the contract and contracting process, including how the contract was procured and how PREPA determined the contract prices were reasonable.

It is important for all applicants for FEMA Public Assistance to understand and abide by federal requirements for grantee procurement. Applicants who fail to abide by these requirements risk not being reimbursed by FEMA for their disaster costs.

FEMA continues to focus on the expedited restoration of essential services in support of the Governor’s recovery goals.
https://www.fema.gov/news-release/20...ritys-contract
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Old 10-27-17, 10:41 AM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Originally Posted by Dan View Post
I've driven through Whitefish.
A lot of rich Canadians own property there and use it as a vacation spot.
This has nothing to do with this company, of course; they sound pretty shady, though.
I've actually spent some time in Whitefish. Bizarre that this little town would suddenly come under the spotlight. I've gotta laugh at Canadians, nothing like being a snowbird and heading south to the warmer climate of....Montana?
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Old 10-27-17, 10:57 AM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Originally Posted by Sdallnct View Post
Keep in mind those thousands they hired are on contract. Not permanent.
Thousands? It seems that as of yesterday, they had about 300 people there. I don't see how that could possibly be adequate to restore power in a timely manner.
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Old 10-27-17, 11:03 AM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Originally Posted by Pharoh View Post
Does the administration actually have defenders?
There are a lot of memes and comics posted in those threads which seem to defend the administration.
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Old 10-27-17, 11:12 AM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Well this has been on the news for the last few days in PR non-stop. Its fucking shady as hell. The Governor was photographed at a party with the wife of the head of Whitefish recently. Also the owner of Whitefish (Andy Techmanski) has had issues with an electricity company he owned in the UK (called ME Power i believe) and he was fired from his own company and banned from running a business in the UK. His ex-wife has been on social media calling him out saying he should come clean on his past corruptions.

Whitefish apparently has 300 subcontracted workers here in PR at the moment. Whats pissed people off so much here is the fact that its come to light that workers are being paid between $250 - $450 an hour, plus they get daily hotel fees of around $300 and around $100 for food each day. The fact that there was no real bidding between companies and an assessment of the best deal to be had by PREPA just throws fuel on the fire. The guy thats been running PREPA sounds like a typical corrupt Puerto Rican thats trying to over his tracks and not end up in jail.

It also does not help the matter that Whitefish has been posting shit on social media saying that people in PR should not be complaining about all this, that they have new people arriving into PR to help and what should they do....send them home? Well i wrote on their FB page that yes i think thats a good idea as it seems the already bankrupt island is being extorted by corrupt higher ups who are not doing the right thing for the island. Also the fact that bitching and moaning when you are getting paid so much does not bring much love from the people of the island. In fact, most people here are pissed off that the devastation of this island is not being dealt with properly and people are trying to make money off the back of a country being wiped out.

There was a piece on Vanity Fair a few days ago about the Trump administration and its ties to Whitefish. I was not surprised when i read it.

Even though myself and most on this island still dont have power, i would rather corruption is weeded out and the right people brought in and a delay in power restoration, rather than people getting rich quick off peoples misery and being fucking ungrateful about it.

Oh, and shit is still moving at a snails pace here, no mater what Whitefish and the Trump administration claim. I think about 21% have power on the island at the moment. Within 24 hours of Irma hitting Florida 50% of the state had power back. Within a week it was 95%. Its now been 34 days since Maria hit and the power is at 21%. Thats pathetic.

Last edited by james2025a; 10-27-17 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 10-27-17, 11:19 AM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Originally Posted by spainlinx0 View Post
There are a lot of memes and comics posted in those threads which seem to defend the administration.
Yes. It's difficult to defend the current administration on the basis of evidence or facts, but I hear that some people attempt to do so by attacking Obama, or the Clintons, or BLM...
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Old 10-27-17, 11:22 AM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
I've actually spent some time in Whitefish. Bizarre that this little town would suddenly come under the spotlight. I've gotta laugh at Canadians, nothing like being a snowbird and heading south to the warmer climate of....Montana?
We like our dry air
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Old 10-27-17, 11:26 AM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Originally Posted by james2025a View Post
Well this has been on the news for the last few days in PR non-stop. Its fucking shady as hell. The Governor was photographed at a party with the wife of the head of Whitefish recently. Also the owner of Whitefish has had issues with an electricity company he owned in the UK (called ME Power i believe) and he was fired from his own company and banned from running a business in the UK. His ex-wife has been on social media calling him out saying he should come clean on his past corruptions.

Whitefish apparently has 300 subcontracted workers here in PR at the moment. Whats pissed people off so much here is the fact that its come to light that workers are being paid between $250 - $450 an hour, plus they get daily hotel fees of around $300 and around $100 for food each day. The fact that there was no real bidding between companies and an assessment of the best deal to be had by PREPA just throws fuel on the fire. The guy thats been running PREPA sounds like a typical corrupt Puerto Rican thats trying to over his tracks and not end up in jail.

It also does not help the matter that Whitefish has been posting shit on social media saying that people in PR should not be complaining about all this, that they have new people arriving into PR to help and what should they do....send them home? Well i wrote on their FB page that yes i think thats a good idea as it seems the already bankrupt island is being extorted by corrupt higher ups who are not doing the right thing for the island. Also the fact that bitching and moaning when you are getting paid so much does not bring much love from the people of the island. In fact, most people here are pissed off that the devastation of this island is not being dealt with properly and people are trying to make money off the back of a country being wiped out.

There was a piece on Vanity Fair a few days ago about the Trump administration and its ties to Whitefish. I was not surprised when i read it.

Even though myself and most on this island still dont have power, i would rather corruption is weeded out and the right people brought in and a delay in power restoration, rather than people getting rich quick off peoples misery and being fucking ungrateful about it.

Oh, and shit is still moving at a snails pace here, no mater what Whitefish and the Trump administration claim. I think about 21% have power on the island at the moment. Within 24 hours of Irma hitting Florida 50% of the state had power back. Within a week it was 95%. Its now been 34 days since Maria hit and the power is at 21%. Thats pathetic.

When Florida was hit 16,000 workers were sent in to restore the grid. I think Whitefish sent 40 on the first say.

I got into it with some folks on Twitter and they were calling for "loudmouth" Mayor to shut up and let Whitefish work, etc. When I called them out on the amount of workers the idiots said that PR is an island and they can't very well send 16,000 workers to help.

The issue was also that Whitefish scolded the Mayor to the effect of "we have 40 employees there and another 40 on the way. Do you want us there or not?" They ended up apologizing later in the day, but sure looks to be a cluster fuck of even greater proportions.
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Old 10-27-17, 11:47 AM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Originally Posted by wendersfan View Post
Yes. It's difficult to defend the current administration on the basis of evidence or facts, but I hear that some people attempt to do so by attacking Obama, or the Clintons, or BLM...


Wikipedia - Whataboutism
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Old 10-27-17, 12:30 PM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Originally Posted by Why So Blu? View Post
When Florida was hit 16,000 workers were sent in to restore the grid. I think Whitefish sent 40 on the first say.

I got into it with some folks on Twitter and they were calling for "loudmouth" Mayor to shut up and let Whitefish work, etc. When I called them out on the amount of workers the idiots said that PR is an island and they can't very well send 16,000 workers to help.

The issue was also that Whitefish scolded the Mayor to the effect of "we have 40 employees there and another 40 on the way. Do you want us there or not?" They ended up apologizing later in the day, but sure looks to be a cluster fuck of even greater proportions.

Yeah well the Mayor of San Juan has been putting herself out there and calling people out (she was on TV showing a food parcel that FEMA was distributing to people. In it were beef jerky and cheese crackers. Nothing of any nutritional value and she was complaining that you can't give this to children to eat on a daily basis. I have never seen FEMA in action, but from my assessment of the way they have handled the situation in PR, i dont think they could organize an orgy in a whore house). She has had a loudmouth because there is an idiot for a President that trying to tell the American public that everything is going well here and people should start concentrating on other things. Things are still very bad here.

Whitefish will have learn't a lesson to keep their mouth shut, and it will be interesting to see how these investigations go. They are working, but trust me, when i drive through the island i see people working on power lines, but not many, and few and far between. And thats in the Metropolitan area. Forget the rural areas. They will be lucky to see power by summer 2018, and that is not an exaggeration.

In order for this island to get up and running again before Christmas that number of 300 needs to be well over 1000 soon. But that won't happen. I doubt the number of new people brought in will significantly increase. At this point i hope the investigation finds problems, the contract is yanked, the procedure to get a new team in place to continue the work and ensure its done right and done fast.
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Old 10-27-17, 12:40 PM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Thanks for the firsthand perspective, james2025a. Hope things get better for you soon.
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Old 10-27-17, 01:07 PM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Originally Posted by JasonX View Post
Thousands? It seems that as of yesterday, they had about 300 people there. I don't see how that could possibly be adequate to restore power in a timely manner.
Yea, I'm assuming they will need thousands. But are there thousands available?
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Old 10-27-17, 01:09 PM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Originally Posted by Sdallnct View Post
Yea, I'm assuming they will need thousands. But are there thousands available?
16,000 went to Florida. I think they could find at least 10-20% of that figure to go to PR.
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Old 10-27-17, 01:16 PM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Originally Posted by Why So Blu? View Post
When Florida was hit 16,000 workers were sent in to restore the grid. I think Whitefish sent 40 on the first say.

I got into it with some folks on Twitter and they were calling for "loudmouth" Mayor to shut up and let Whitefish work, etc. When I called them out on the amount of workers the idiots said that PR is an island and they can't very well send 16,000 workers to help.

The issue was also that Whitefish scolded the Mayor to the effect of "we have 40 employees there and another 40 on the way. Do you want us there or not?" They ended up apologizing later in the day, but sure looks to be a cluster fuck of even greater proportions.
Well that's the thing. That is why all utility companies have this agreement to help each other. There were not 16,000 electrical workers sitting at home with no job. To get that many people that know how to do the job, they have to come from other companies.

I do something similar. I work as part of a mobile workforce. And the issue is having enough skilled people to do the job. I'd bet a good beer that that this company is having to find people and train them. Which is all well and good except that times time. And who is doing the training? Some of the people that should be making repairs.

And it's the people of PR that are suffering from it...
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Old 10-27-17, 01:21 PM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Originally Posted by wendersfan View Post
Yes. It's difficult to defend the current administration on the basis of evidence or facts, but I hear that some people attempt to do so by attacking Obama, or the Clintons, or BLM...
or those sons of bitches who take a knee.
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Old 10-27-17, 01:31 PM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Originally Posted by Sdallnct View Post
Well that's the thing. That is why all utility companies have this agreement to help each other. There were not 16,000 electrical workers sitting at home with no job. To get that many people that know how to do the job, they have to come from other companies.

I do something similar. I work as part of a mobile workforce. And the issue is having enough skilled people to do the job. I'd bet a good beer that that this company is having to find people and train them. Which is all well and good except that times time. And who is doing the training? Some of the people that should be making repairs.

And it's the people of PR that are suffering from it...
If Con Ed workers from NYC could be roaming around my neighborhood in Tampa getting the lights back on, some of them can go to PR to fix some shit. This isn't complex. It's a little more expensive, but FFS, these folks are American citizens.
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Old 10-27-17, 01:38 PM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Good thing they are not called Blackfish Energy, they would never have gotten the contract.
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Old 10-27-17, 02:08 PM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Originally Posted by spainlinx0 View Post
There are a lot of memes and comics posted in those threads which seem to defend the administration.
Originally Posted by wendersfan View Post
Yes. It's difficult to defend the current administration on the basis of evidence or facts, but I hear that some people attempt to do so by attacking Obama, or the Clintons, or BLM...
The point was that those ardent supporters don't support the administration, they support trump. Sure, they might half-heartedly defend some of their actions, but the moment they are seen as a negative to trump, (read: when the jackass thinks that), the trump supporters turn on them without a thought.
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Old 10-27-17, 02:21 PM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Originally Posted by VinVega View Post
If Con Ed workers from NYC could be roaming around my neighborhood in Tampa getting the lights back on, some of them can go to PR to fix some shit. This isn't complex. It's a little more expensive, but FFS, these folks are American citizens.
There have been offers made. My cousin works for ConEd, and they offered him around 40k for a month of work in PR. He declined since it would force him to be down there during Christmas, and he didn't want to not be with his kids during the holidays.
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Old 10-27-17, 03:44 PM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
One thing I haven't seen get much attention around here is Whitefish Energy. For those who haven't seen the news, Whitefish is a small (literally 2 people) company based in Whitefish, Montana. Whitefish was awarded the contract to restore Puerto Rico's power lines after Hurricane Maria.

Why would Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority give a contract like that to a company that is not only clearly too small (they have since hired a bunch of linemen to work this project), but that comes from more than 3,000 miles away?

I'm sure it's just a coincidence, but Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke is from Whitefish, MT.

Congress is investigating, and presumably so will GAO

The latest news is that Whitefish's contract explicitly says the government isn't allowed to "audit or review the cost and profit elements" of Whitefish's work and the government can't make "any claim against Contractor related to delayed completion of work."

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, and whether and how the administration's defenders try to justify this.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, a Republican, is corrupt.

Trump is corrupt.

And the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, which is owned by the Puerto Rican government, is corrupt.

This is what happens when corrupt people are allowed to be put in high positions of government power.
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Old 10-27-17, 03:50 PM
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Re: Whitefish Energy: A Case Study in Corruption

Originally Posted by james2025a View Post
Yeah well the Mayor of San Juan has been putting herself out there and calling people out (she was on TV showing a food parcel that FEMA was distributing to people. In it were beef jerky and cheese crackers. Nothing of any nutritional value and she was complaining that you can't give this to children to eat on a daily basis. I have never seen FEMA in action, but from my assessment of the way they have handled the situation in PR, i dont think they could organize an orgy in a whore house). She has had a loudmouth because there is an idiot for a President that trying to tell the American public that everything is going well here and people should start concentrating on other things. Things are still very bad here.

Whitefish will have learn't a lesson to keep their mouth shut, and it will be interesting to see how these investigations go. They are working, but trust me, when i drive through the island i see people working on power lines, but not many, and few and far between. And thats in the Metropolitan area. Forget the rural areas. They will be lucky to see power by summer 2018, and that is not an exaggeration.

In order for this island to get up and running again before Christmas that number of 300 needs to be well over 1000 soon. But that won't happen. I doubt the number of new people brought in will significantly increase. At this point i hope the investigation finds problems, the contract is yanked, the procedure to get a new team in place to continue the work and ensure its done right and done fast.

The food given out in emergency situations should high in calories and low in volume. Given the circumstances, I think these are pretty decent food choices.

See this for more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plumpy%27nut
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