On Monday, The Washington Post reported that Whitefish Energy, a tiny Montana-based company with clear connections to the Trump administration, had secured a $300 million contract to restore Puerto Rico’s electricity.
Astounded by the contract’s overt sketchiness, San Juan’s outspoken mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz, appropriately demanded it be “voided right away” and replaced with a more transparent deal. Whitefish Energy, however, seized on her criticism as an opportunity to flex its newly emboldened political clout and threatened to pull out of the deal in a Twitter spat with Cruz.
“We’ve got 44 linemen rebuilding power lines in your city and 40 more men just arrived,” the company’s corporate account tweeted on Wednesday. “Do you want us to send them back or keep working?”
By Wednesday night, Whitefish Energy appeared to retreat, offering a lame apology. “On behalf of our employees, we would like to apologize for our comments earlier today, which did not represent who we are and how important this work is to help Puerto Rico’s recover,” a representative told CBS News’ David Begnaud. “We have a strong team on the ground, we are working hard and making good progress.”
I, for one, am shocked Whitefish’s executives didn’t blame a social media intern for the offending tweet—but considering the company only had two full-time employees just a few weeks before it secured the contract, that might not have been an option.
While federal investigators have yet to open a probe into how, exactly, Whitefish managed to sign the contract with scant experience, they anticipate doing so. “Some Members of Congress have said they will request GAO to formally examine the award of the contract,” a spokesperson for the Office of Government Accountability told NBC Montana. “Consequently, we could not make any comment at this point while we determine if we will be doing work on the issue.”