The headquarters of  Whitefish Energy in Montana. Photo: CBS News

27 October 2017 (CBS News) – The Trump administration denied Friday that political connections had anything to do with restoring electrical connections in Puerto Rico.

A contract worth $300 million was awarded to a tiny company called Whitefish Energy in Whitefish, Montana, hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Zinke said Friday he had nothing to do with the contract.

CBS News correspondent David Begnaud set out Friday to find the headquarters of the company -- somewhere in the middle of nowhere.   

Nestled down a long gravel driveway in Whitefish is a one-story wooden house that is the home of Whitefish Energy.

This tiny energy company has only two full-time employees, and surprised many when it received a $300 million no-bid contract to help rebuild Puerto Rico's electrical grid. Whitefish has never worked on a project of this size. 

Whitefish CEO Andy Techmanski says his company has 300 workers on the ground in Puerto Rico working to fix a crippled electrical system. A month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, 75 percent of the island is still without power.

The controversy over the no-bid contract set off a Twitter feud between the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, and the company.

Cruz believes the deal with Whitefish Energy should be voided. She described the company as "inadequate" and asked for transparency.

Whitefish hit back by threatening to leave, writing, "We've got 44 linemen rebuilding power lines in your city & 40 more men just arrived. Do you want us to send them back or keep working?" The company later apologized.

As CBS News was leaving headquarters for Whitefish Energy, a van showed up and blocked the street, and now the driver is speaking with the sheriff. Whitefish released a statement that said they were proud of work they are doing and will cooperate with Congress.

Lawmakers and federal officials are calling for investigations to determine how and why Puerto Rico's bankrupt government utility awarded Whitefish the lucrative deal, CBS News' Julianna Goldman reports from Washington. [more]

Visiting the remote headquarters of Whitefish Energy, recipient of controversial contract


  1. Anonymous said...

    There is rampant corruption in Montana (ask me how I know if you want to hear just how horrible it is in these small communities).

    Although I have never heard of this particular company, it's pretty obvious they are lying. If they actually had "300 people in Puerto Rico" it would require far, far more then 2 full-time employees to keep things running in Whitefish. They also claimed later that it was only 44 lineman and 40 more "just arrived" (84 people). This company is actively hiring what they don't actually have. This is a huge (and probably corrupt) windfall for them.

    No tiny company of such insignificance just "suddenly" gets a no-compete $300 million contract. Local officials are certain to be in on the grease, including the State Senator and Flathead County officials. Everything from nepotism to political favors, bribery, corruption and threats are used to practice "politics" in Montana.  

  2. Anonymous said...

    More nonsense?


  3. Jim said...

    Yes, pretty much anything from Tony Watts is nonsense.  


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