Head of Puerto Rico Electrical Workers’ Union Demands Corruption Probe of Whitefish Energy Contract

Democracy Now! has just returned from Puerto Rico, where we interviewed Ángel Figueroa Jaramillo, head of the Puerto Rico electrical workers’ union, just as the island’s governor announced he was instructing the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, known as PREPA, to cancel its controversial $300 million contract with the tiny Montana-based company Whitefish Energy. The move came after enormous pressure and scrutiny of the contract to reconstruct Puerto Rico’s electrical power grid devastated by Hurricane Maria. Whitefish Energy is based in the tiny hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The head of the private equity company that backs Whitefish, Joe Colonnetta, was a Trump campaign donor. All of this comes as a leaked copy of the contract sparked even further outrage last week, when it revealed that the terms barred penalties for work delays and prohibited the project from being audited.

TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: We turn now to Puerto Rico, where Governor Ricardo Roselló announced on Sunday that he was instructing Puerto Rico’s Electrical Power Authority, known as PREPA, to cancel its controversial $300 million contract with the tiny Montana-based company Whitefish Energy. The governor’s move came after enormous pressure and scrutiny of the contract to reconstruct Puerto Rico’s electrical power grid devastated by Hurricane Maria. Whitefish Energy is based in the tiny hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The head of the private equity company that backs Whitefish, Joe Colonnetta, was a Trump campaign donor. Meanwhile, Whitefish CEO Andrew Techmanski argues his company’s ability to mobilize quickly was vital to winning the contract.

AMY GOODMAN: All of this comes as a leaked copy of the no-bid contract sparked even further outrage last week, when it was revealed that the terms barred penalties for work delays and prohibited the…

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