Published: Tue, November 21, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Whitefish Halts Puerto Rico Work Early Over Unpaid $83 Million

Whitefish Halts Puerto Rico Work Early Over Unpaid $83 Million

"Despite Whitefish Energy's diligence and that of its subcontractors, Whitefish Energy's payments under the contract have been delayed".

"We stopped because of the financial situation, lack of payment with PREPA has gotten beyond its maximum threshold and what we can sustain as a business", Techmankski said.

Aletter dated November 19 and signed by Whitefish CEO Andy Techmanski said that Puerto Rico's government owes Whitefish more than $83million and that the company would suspend work on Monday if it wasn't paid. Like typical general contractor agreements, most of Whitefish Energy's subcontracts provide for payment to subcontractors once Whitefish Energy receives payment from PREPA. Whitefish Energy and its subcontractors, including the APPA utilities, are now standing down on performing additional work until PREPA pays for approved work already completed.

Prepa and Fluor were not immediately available for comment.

PREPA, $9 billion in debt before Hurricane Maria, came under fire and derision after it emerged the agency signed a $300 million contract with Whitefish, a young company with just two full-time employees when the storm smashed the island's power grid.

"The Whitefish contract is under investigation by the state and federal authorities", spokeswoman Odalys de Jesus told CNN. "The reason is to prevent the process from being affected". FEMA said it would never have supported the contract.

"Today we had to stand down our crews", Techmanski said in a phone interview Monday from Puerto Rico.

Federal committees have been trying to investigate how the contract was awarded to Whitefish, which is based in the home town of Donald Trump's interior secretary, former congressman Ryan Zinke.

Ricardo Ramos, PREPA's executive director, resigned Friday after documents revealed PREPA disregarded its own lawyers' advice when it agreed to sign the contract.

Last week, Rosselló celebrated getting the power grid back to 50% generation, but that does not mean half of customers have power.

"I would probably get paid a lot more up front to cover the risks".

In a statement, Whitefish said: 'While we can not speak for these utilities, we have been assured by their representatives that this is about their go-forward concerns once Whitefish Energy completes its work with PREPA and the ability of PREPA or any successor organizations to provide their crews with the necessary resources and management'.

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