The governor of Puerto Rico called for the cancellation of a controversial $300 million contract the island's utility signed with a small Montana-based company tasked with a central role in repairing the territory's hurricane-ravaged electric power grid. The contract went to a tiny Montana company from the hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
"There can be no distraction that alters the commitment to lift the electrical system as quickly as possible", Rossello said.
On Sunday, Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo Rossello, asked the governing board of Puerto Rico's power authority to immediately cancel its contract.
The governor of Puerto Rico, the US territory that was devastated by a hurricane a month ago, called Sunday for the immediate cancellation of a contract to restore electrical power to the Caribbean island as questions grow about the small company that was awarded the work.
The contract with Puerto Rico's power utility has come under increased criticism after it was revealed that the terms were obtained without a competitive public bidding process.
First reported by Daily Beast contributor Ken Klippenstein, the contract awarded to Whitefish Energy seems to heavily favor the company.
The governor also did not say how the utility would disentangle itself from the contract with Whitefish Energy.
In response to the appointment of Zamot, Whitefish said it looked forward to briefing him on its work and discussing what still needed to be done.
A bartender greets patrons in a bar in the Old San Juan neighborhood.
Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva of Arizona said, "Congress needs to understand why the Whitefish contract was awarded and whether other, more cost-effective options were available". He said in a statement Friday, "I had absolutely nothing to do with Whitefish Energy receiving a contract in Puerto Rico". Whitefish has said the company has expertise in mountainous areas, and arrived in Puerto Rico before other companies.
Whitefish has said that its expertise working in mountainous terrain qualifies it for the job and that its business model calls for rapidly expanding using subcontractors.
Ramos also said the Federal Emergency Management Agency had approved of the deal, something the agency has denied.
Rossello had previously requested the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security inspect the deal.
"If there is no wrongdoing, if it has been done correctly, then we will push forward", Rosselló said.