F.B.I. Mentioned to Be Investigating Puerto Rico Energy Contract

1000’s left homeless by the storm had no reduction in sight, about 30 % of regular energy was being generated, few of the island’s hospitals have been functioning, and there have been stories that obtainable water provides have been contaminated, the consultants mentioned in an announcement.

“We will’t fail to notice the dissimilar urgency and precedence given to the emergency response in Puerto Rico, in comparison with the U.S. states affected by hurricanes in current months,” mentioned Leilani Farha, the United Nations particular rapporteur on housing.

Quickly after the cope with Whitefish was introduced, questions have been raised as to how a two-man firm from Montana managed to safe such a profitable contract. The corporate has ties to the secretary of the inside, Ryan Zinke, however each side say there was no wrongdoing.

Photograph

Residents waited in line for meals and water in Canóvanas, P.R., earlier this month.

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Erika P. Rodriguez for The New York Occasions

A Home committee is investigating, and the governor has requested the island’s comptroller and the inspector basic of the Division of Homeland Safety to additionally evaluate the deal.

The F.B.I. nationwide workplace referred questions in regards to the report back to the Puerto Rico subject workplace. A spokesman there, Carlos Osorio, mentioned the company couldn’t affirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

“Whereas Whitefish will not be conscious of any such investigation, Whitefish is dedicated to full cooperation with any inquiry or investigation,” the corporate mentioned in an announcement. “The procurement of the Prepa contract was always absolutely acceptable. Our focus continues to be on our work in Puerto Rico finishing the work Prepa has tasked Whitefish to finish together with the restore of the second main transmission line.”

A spokeswoman for the facility authority mentioned the company had no details about an investigation, and due to this fact had no remark.

The governor’s workplace mentioned it welcomed an inquiry.

“We now have not obtained any details about the F.B.I. trying into the contract, however Governor Rosselló welcomes any investigation by the federal authorities and he has been clear: there must be an investigation on this matter, and if there may be any wrongdoing, the individuals accountable must be prosecuted to the complete extent of the legislation,” mentioned Yennifer Álvarez, the governor’s spokeswoman. “That’s why the Governor has requested for investigations by the Comptroller of Puerto Rico and the Inspector Basic of the Division of Homeland Safety, John Roth.”

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In a cellphone interview, Ms. Farha, an unbiased knowledgeable reporting to the United Nations, mentioned it was “very worrying” that she had not been capable of acquire readability on the quantity of people that have been nonetheless homeless after the storm. She famous that estimates of the variety of homes destroyed ranged from 30,000 to 90,000.

1000’s of engineers had been deployed in Texas and Florida to reconnect houses to the electrical energy grid after hurricanes hit these states, a quantity far in extra of the crews deployed to Puerto Rico.

“FEMA is general accountable,” Ms. Farha mentioned, referring to the Federal Emergency Administration Company. “I don’t perceive why FEMA can reply so shortly and affirmatively in Texas and why they weren’t deployed equally in Puerto Rico.”

Officers have mentioned that deploying utility crews to an island posed far better challenges than getting them to communities on the mainland.

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