So what do we make of it? That is, of the fact that tiny Whitefish Energy Holdings suddenly got a contract to basically rewire a major chunk of Puerto Rico in the wake of the devastating Hurricane Maria? Particularly given that Whitefish, which has absolutely no connections in the area, and precious little experience in tasks of such Herculean size, just happens to be based in Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s hometown?
Well, now, maybe…let’s be fair…maybe Whitefish got the job because it is such a spunky little company with a can-do! attitude and boatloads of know-how.
Or, maybe…maybe…not. That link to Zinke is kinda troubling, you know?
And then there is the little fact that once Whitefish got to Puerto Rico, the tiny little company started pushing people around. Like, for instance, when it threatened to pull its people out of the repair effort when the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, had the chutzpah to suggest that, just perhaps, a little more transparency about how the company got its $300 million contract might be a good thing.
(Really, how dare she? Just because she is an elected official who was out wading in floodwaters to find stranded residents of her city after Maria hit. Gosh. You’d think she thought that Puerto Rican people counted for something. The very idea…)
So, not saying it’s true or anything, but we are wondering if…perhaps, possibly, could-it-be?… there’s a bit more here than meets the eye. That, maybe, just maybe, Whitefish and how it got that contract shouldn’t be looked into a bit more closely.
But, you know, there’s the curious thing. On some level we don’t really care about the legality of the contract. Let’s face it. Sweetheart deals for people with friends in high places have always happened and always will. It isn’t even clear to us that such relationships necessarily lead to poor quality work or overcharges. Indeed, you can to get those…overcharges and shoddy craftsmanship…from even from the most reputable vendors. Just depends on circumstances.
No, what really disturbs us…well…the contempt. I mean, imagine for a moment. Suppose that in Texas or Florida, or any other place on the American mainland, there had been a disaster. And suppose that, mysteriously, a tiny company whose only sterling quality appeared to be its relationship with the Security of the Interior. And suppose that tiny company began basically telling elected officials where they could stuff it when they started asking questions.
Do you think anyone would stand for it?
Damn right they wouldn’t.
Even for a split San Juan minute.
Picture Credit: Wolf Fish skull by Matthieu Deuté – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0. Image design by Michael Jay Tucker.