Small company from Trump Interior chief's hometown wins massive contract to restore Puerto Rico's po

pauldun170

Diamond Member
Sep 26, 2011
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One guy to hold the ladder. The other guy to screw in the bulb

A small Montana company located in Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's hometown has signed a $300 million contract to help get the power back on in Puerto Rico, The Washington Post reported.

Whitefish Energy had only two full-time employees on the day Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, according to the Post. The company signed the contract — the largest yet issued to help restore Puerto Rico — with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to fix the island's electrical infrastructure.

The company now has 280 workers on the island, the Post reported, a majority of whom are subcontractors.

A former senior official at the Energy Department and state regulatory agencies said it was "odd" that Whitefish would be chosen.

“The fact that there are so many utilities with experience in this and a huge track record of helping each other out, it is at least odd why [the utility] would go to Whitefish,” Susan F. Tierney said.

“I’m scratching my head wondering how it all adds up.”

Whitefish happened to be the first firm "available to arrive and they were the ones that first accepted terms and conditions for PREPA," Ricardo Ramos, the executive director of PREPA, the island's power authority, told reporters.

“The doubts that have been raised about Whitefish, from my point of view, are completely unfounded,” he added.

Whitefish spokesman Chris Chiames told the newspaper that the company is taking "personal risks and business risks working in perilous physical and financial conditions.”

“So the carping by others is unfounded, and we stand by our work and our commitment to the people of Puerto Rico," he said.

Zinke's office said in an email to the Post that Zinke and Whitefish's chief executive know each other.

"Everybody knows everybody" in the town, Zinke's office said, adding that Zinke wasn't involved in the contract.
also at
Whitefish Energy is based in Whitefish, Mont., 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.”
...
The scale of the disaster in Puerto Rico is far larger than anything Whitefish has handled. The company has won two contracts from the Energy Department, including $172,000 to replace a metal pole structure and splice in three miles of new conductor and overhead ground wire in Arizona.

Shortly before Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, Whitefish landed its largest federal contract, a $1.3 million deal to replace and upgrade parts of a 4.8-mile transmission line in Arizona. The company — which was listed in procurement documents as having annual revenue of $1 million — was given 11 months to complete the work, records show.

Puerto Rico has 2,400 miles of transmission lines across the island, and 30,000 miles of distribution lines with 300 substations. Jeff Hawk, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ power restoration task force, estimated that 80 percent of the grid has been damaged. A month after the storm, about 80 percent of customers remain without power.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/small-montana-firm-lands-puerto-ricos-biggest-contract-to-get-the-power-back-on/2017/10/23/31cccc3e-b4d6-11e7-9e58-e6288544af98_story.html?utm_term=.ef10c3a00a65
 
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fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
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The fact that a company with 2 full time employees whose largest previous experience is repairing 5 miles of cabling could get a no bid contract for $300 million to rebuild a whole island’s grid seems ludicrous to me.

Here’s hoping congress has at least a little integrity and will look into this thoroughly because at least on the surface this reeks of corruption.
 

IronWing

No Lifer
Jul 20, 2001
55,971
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I've been to Whitefish, where's my contract?

Anyway, time for a bit of education on federal contracting. Say you are a large corporation and you want a govmint contract but you don't want to compete with other companies your size if you can avoid it. So what you do is go out and find a small, disadvantaged company and partner with them. The small company qualifies for preferred treatment under the federal contracting regs and by putting that company at the top of the proposal, your mega-corp gets the work and the small, disadvantaged company gets a tidy profit. The small company doesn't have to have any experience or expertise in the work to be done as mega-corp will write the bid proposal. That the Whitefish company had experience in this type of work is a bonus, but not essential. Example: one of the largest Dept of Energy cleanup contracts in history, for radioactive wastes at Oakridge, went to a shrimp boat operator in Louisiana. The shrimpers were partnered with a multi-national nuclear services company. This is legal.
 
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[DHT]Osiris

Diamond Member
Dec 15, 2015
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I've been to Whitefish, where's my contract?

Anyway, time for a bit of education on federal contracting. Say you are a large corporation and you want a govmint contract but you don't want to compete with other companies your size if you can avoid it. So what you do is go out and find a small, disadvantaged company and partner with them. The small company qualifies for preferred treatment under the federal contracting regs and by putting that company at the top of the proposal, your mega-corp gets the work and the small, disadvantaged company gets a tidy profit. The small company doesn't have to have any experience or expertise in the work to be done as mega-corp will write the bid proposal. That the Whitefish company had experience in this type of work is a bonus, but not essential. Example: one of the largest Dept of Energy cleanup contracts in history, for radioactive wastes at Oakridge, went to a shrimp boat operator in Louisiana. The shrimpers were partnered with a multi-national nuclear services company. This is legal.
Yep, this kind of garbage happens all the time, too. One mil org I worked for had a civvy company that did contracting for them (I forget what for), basically it was a shell company that other orgs used for $stuff, org was run by like, a Vietnamese prior mil2mil widow of a fallen soldier, or something. Basically top of the list for *everything*.
 

zinfamous

No Lifer
Jul 12, 2006
96,892
11,681
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The fact that a company with 2 full time employees whose largest previous experience is repairing 5 miles of cabling could get a no bid contract for $300 million to rebuild a whole island’s grid seems ludicrous to me.

Here’s hoping congress has at least a little integrity and will look into this thoroughly because at least on the surface this reeks of corruption.
What shadiness? What corruption? The swamp was drained, remember?
 

local

Golden Member
Jun 28, 2011
1,372
262
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I've been to Whitefish, where's my contract?

Anyway, time for a bit of education on federal contracting. Say you are a large corporation and you want a govmint contract but you don't want to compete with other companies your size if you can avoid it. So what you do is go out and find a small, disadvantaged company and partner with them. The small company qualifies for preferred treatment under the federal contracting regs and by putting that company at the top of the proposal, your mega-corp gets the work and the small, disadvantaged company gets a tidy profit. The small company doesn't have to have any experience or expertise in the work to be done as mega-corp will write the bid proposal. That the Whitefish company had experience in this type of work is a bonus, but not essential. Example: one of the largest Dept of Energy cleanup contracts in history, for radioactive wastes at Oakridge, went to a shrimp boat operator in Louisiana. The shrimpers were partnered with a multi-national nuclear services company. This is legal.
Yep all the way down to local level as well. We have had several contracts that we would have won with local government get passed over in favor of a small one or two person company with a higher price that qualified for some kind of minority status. They never do the work it is just some larger company using them as a pass through. Dealing with these issues is one of the reasons I dislike the minority requirements from government entities. It does nothing to help minorities like you would think the law was intended. It is just some checkbox so that the gov can say they are helping disadvantaged people by giving them projects.
 

rudder

Lifer
Nov 9, 2000
19,428
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corruption in it's most blatant and obvious form.
Well lets go reference the thread where contracts for the rebuilding of Haiti went to democratic donors. Oh... wait I can't find it. Stop being so dramatic. The bidding of contracts should be fair plain and simple. But people only whine when its the other guy so it keeps happening.
 

alien42

Lifer
Nov 28, 2004
11,072
998
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Well lets go reference the thread where contracts for the rebuilding of Haiti went to democratic donors. Oh... wait I can't find it. Stop being so dramatic. The bidding of contracts should be fair plain and simple. But people only whine when its the other guy so it keeps happening.
i said nothing about party, you did.
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
63,798
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Well lets go reference the thread where contracts for the rebuilding of Haiti went to democratic donors. Oh... wait I can't find it. Stop being so dramatic. The bidding of contracts should be fair plain and simple. But people only whine when its the other guy so it keeps happening.
Can you provide an example of a similar situation where a 2 person company got a $300 million no bid contract from the USG for Haiti or anything even close?

Genuine question. It might be there, but I haven't heard of it.
 

ivwshane

Lifer
May 15, 2000
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momeNt

Diamond Member
Jan 26, 2011
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2 person company wins 300 million contract.

They are mostly handling the logistics of routing and managing subcontractor contracts for repairing individual areas. Depending on their fee, it could be a really good deal, or really bad. The fact it was not competitively bid is definitely a problem, it at least needed to be very aggressively negotiated by Gov. of PR for it to not be super corrupt.
 

zinfamous

No Lifer
Jul 12, 2006
96,892
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Well lets go reference the thread where contracts for the rebuilding of Haiti went to democratic donors. Oh... wait I can't find it. Stop being so dramatic. The bidding of contracts should be fair plain and simple. But people only whine when its the other guy so it keeps happening.
they should be fair, sure. Let's consider your strawman though, and see if we should be equally outraged:

1: were those Dem contracts no-bid contracts awarded to a single entity?
2: were the winning entities companies that, at the time of contract, had exactly 2 employees and no actual capability of servicing the contract of that magnitude?

I actually don't know, which is why I ask. These points must be addressed before we can assess the relevance of your strawman card.
 

JTsyo

Lifer
Nov 18, 2007
10,682
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I don't see how this links back to the administration. Going to need more info on how the deal was brokered. Did the administration tell PREPA they had to use Whitefish Energy Holdings to get the relief funds?
 

werepossum

Elite Member
Jul 10, 2006
29,876
460
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Gonna need a moment to compose my shocked face.

The fact that a company with 2 full time employees whose largest previous experience is repairing 5 miles of cabling could get a no bid contract for $300 million to rebuild a whole island’s grid seems ludicrous to me.

Here’s hoping congress has at least a little integrity and will look into this thoroughly because at least on the surface this reeks of corruption.
With only two full time employees, it's not like there is much here that isn't on the surface. Then again, this is the same administration that thinks Equifax is a great partner to safeguard the IRS' sensitive taxpayer identity information.

Well . . . perhaps "thinks" is not the correct term . . .
 
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werepossum

Elite Member
Jul 10, 2006
29,876
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The way I see it is that they were just mistaking "draining" for "dredging." Dredging! We meant to say dredging! That swamp needs to be deeper to get our bigass new boats through!
lol +1 Or just dredging to fit in bigger alligators. Although maybe those alligators need boats to carry all their new gubmit cash . . .
 

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