Puerto Rico's governor: Cancel Whitefish contract

Puerto Rico's governor: Cancel Whitefish contract
Posted at 11:59 AM, Oct 29, 2017

The governor of Puerto Rico wants the island's power authority to "immediately" cancel its controversial contract with a small Montana-based utility company.

At issue is a $300 million contract that was awarded to Whitefish Energy to help restore power to parts of hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

Whitefish is only two years old and had few employees before Hurricane Maria hit. But it also is based in the small hometown of U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, which has raised questions. Zinke has said he had nothing to do with the contract.

A White House spokesman told CNN the decision to give the contract to Whitefish was made exclusively by PREPA.

"The White House is not aware of any federal involvement in the selection," White House spokesman Raj Shah said.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello on Sunday said questions raised around the contract are "interfering with everything" and the distractions are not helping Puerto Rico rebuild.

Rossello also said he has asked the Office of the Comptroller for a detailed and thorough investigation about the contracting process that the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority used to select Whitefish.

The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general has launched a review of the deal. The inspector general plans to look into whether the appropriate process was followed by state-owned Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or PREPA, when it awarded the contract.