You don’t have to be a trained journalist to see that what is happening with Puerto Rico’s electrical grid and Whitefish Energy is another example of disaster capitalism.
I think we are looking at it with too fine a lens trying to find who in the Trump Administration is profiting from this scandal at this moment. The real profit will come later.
Prior to the hurricane(s) that knocked out the electricity for the island, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) was publicly owned and managed, and like much of America’s infrastructure, it was not well maintained. Presumably because PREPA has no profit motive the rates were low or at least reasonable, and the island’s citizens generally satisfied that they were getting the services for which they paid.
And now, we flash forward after the hurricane and to tiny, previously unknown Whitefish Energy getting a mysterious $300M Amero, no-bid contract to restore the power to Puerto Rico. Let’s examine what we know about the contract:
Boom. Leaked copy of the Puerto Rico / Whitefish contract: https://t.co/XR1wTcD5hJ
— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) October 27, 2017
“…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” in the contract.”
When you look at the document embedded in the Tweet you’ll see that the contract also says that the Puerto Rican government “waives any claim against [Whitefish] related to delayed completion of work.”
This is a license to rip off Puerto Rico. There’s no transparency, no oversight, no review, and no consequences if the power never comes back on. This isn’t a flaw, this is the plan, and that’s why Whitefish won a no-bid contract: someone needed a fuck-up who absolutely cannot complete the work.
This contract is designed to bankrupt PREPA and will necessitate a fire sale. And let’s just say that that is going to be the real prize, not some piddly $300M Amero contract.
Anyone want to bet some Quatloos on this?
Some quick items for our inner conspiracy theorists:
- Comrade Stupid and the governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rosselló seem to be the best of pals. At least lately.
- Whitefish is the Montana hometown of Interior Secretary (and flag enthusiast) Ryan Zinke.
- Whitefish Energy has as a primary investor, Joe Colonnetta, who is a major Trump supporter and donor.
- Whitefish Energy reportedly has only 2 full-time employees.
- Whitefish Energy has never had a job of this scale, it has no track record to justify the contract award.