Whitefish Energy Holdings continues to create controversy

Of course Whitefish gets a substantial markup after that

The company will continue repairing power lines on the island until November 30, according to the Times.

Energy officials told the Times that, even accounting for the emergency work, billing Prepa over $300 per lineman didn't add up.

Whitefish spokesman Chris Chiames told the Times that the company had to make the jobs competitive to attract labor from around the region. The Whitefish contract, worth $300 million, was canceled by Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rosselló in late October after questions arose over costs in the two-year contract.

They show that Whitefish, which is also under investigation by the FBI, charged PREPA around two times what it paid subcontractors in hourly rates. "We have to pay a premium to entice the labor to come to Puerto Rico to work".

The New York Times reported that the tiny Montana-based company-which doesn't have many of its own employees-contracted electrical workers from Florida at rates that range from $42 to $100 per hour, with an average rate of $63.

After the contract was signed, PREPA asked Whitefish to change the rate structure of the contract to make it FEMA-compliant, meaning that there would be fixed rates for virtually everything (including lodging, food, fuel, etc.) rather than cost-plus. That's almost seven-and-a-half times what the Kissimmee contractors were making, and as the Times notes, 17 times the average salary of a Puerto Rican electric worker.

The records also show that PREPA is likely to continue paying Whitefish millions of dollars in the coming weeks despite saying recently that it would cut off the contract as soon as possible. Reasons for criticism were varied. Hurricane Maria left the 3.4 million people who live on the USA territory without power, and weeks later, thousands still don't have electricity.

That contract was cancelled after questions about how it received the contract when it emerged that it was based in the hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, whose son once worked for Whitefish. The Department of the Interior and the company's chief executive both denied that anything inappropriate in relation to the contract had occurred. The deal is now being investigated by at least four congressional committees, the Department of Homeland Security's inspector-general, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Army Corps of Engineers reportedly avoided hiring Whitefish because it charged twice as much as it should have.

In another email dated October 12, a lawyer working for FEMA in Puerto Rico, Graciela E. Zavala-Garcia, wrote, "We have elevated this contract issue to our Headquarters Office of Chief Counsel".

As of Sunday, about 48 percent of electricity has returned. According to CNN, repairs to the damaged line began later the same day.

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