Audit Whitefish Energy Holding's $300 Million Contract for Puerto Rico Recovery
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This week, a utility company called Whitefish Energy Holdings from the small town of Whitefish, Montana was awarded a $300 million contract to help with Puerto Rico's recovery efforts. Unfortunately, this reeks of corruption because:
- Whitefish Energy Holdings is only two years old and had just two full-time employees at the time Hurricane Maria touched down in Puerto Rico
- Whitefish’s previous largest contract was just $1.3 million for electrical upgrades in Arizona
- As part of the contract, Whitefish estimated an hourly rate of $230 - $460 per worker, as well as $330 in nightly accommodations and $80 for food daily, again per worker; almost 10x the average salary of a similarly skilled worker in the US
- Coincidentally, Ryan Zinke is also from the town of Whitefish, which in 2010 had a population of only just over 6,000
- The founder of the investment group which funded Whitefish and his wife have donated over $80,000 to Trump’s campaign and the RNC in 2016 alone
The actions of Secretary Zinke, who is also a former Navy Seal, moved his former commanding officer to write a letter condemning his integrity. Following are a few excerpts:
- "I have long considered myself a friend of Ryan Zinke... I remember him well and thought that he would have a stellar career. He did have such a career until he showed a defect in his moral make-up"
- "What did he do? Simple—he used Navy (taxpayer) travel funds to make multiple trips from Norfolk, VA, to his home in MT, ostensibly to scout out training sites for his squadron. The truth was that he went to work on some family property and, apparently, on one occasion, took two or three other Navy SEALs with him. These trips not only involved airfare, but they also involved per diem and personal use of Navy time."
- "a retired Navy SEAL Master Chief... told me personally that Ryan is PNG (persona non grata) at his old SEAL team, primarily for the misleading statements he has made about his rank and importance at that 'special' team... I am certain that Ryan would have acquitted himself well if he had led his men in actual combat instead of being a theater manager of the combat units assigned to him."
- "Ryan’s ambitions will not stop here. He has shown by his dissimulation of facts regarding his career that he is willing to do whatever it takes to reach the next level"
This collection of easily verified facts makes it painfully obvious that something is not right with this contract. Secretary Zinke has shown that he is not above using his position for personal gain. This petition is meant to bring this issue to light and move the government to explain its reasoning in awarding an small, inexperienced company such a large contract.
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