OVER THE LINE

Whitefish Energy Apologizes to Puerto Rico, San Juan Mayor for Twitter Comments

Whitefish Energy issued an apology to San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz and “everyone in Puerto Rico” for comments posted in a public Twitter spat on Wednesday. The Montana-based company is at the center of a controversial $300 million contract to restore electricity to the storm-battered U.S. island territory. After Cruz questioned the transparency of the “alarming” contract—the largest awarded for relief efforts after Hurricane Maria—and demanded it be voided, Whitefish Energy’s Twitter account called her comments “disappointing and demoralizing” and appeared to threaten to stop working altogether: “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?” Questions have arisen about how the company, which had only two full-time employees up until recently, managed to beat out other utility companies and secure the contract. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Whitefish CEO Andy Techmanski have admitted knowing each other but said that played no role in Whitefish getting the contract. The company’s investors also include HBC Investments, a Texas-based firm whose founder donated generously to President Trump. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello echoed Cruz’s concerns on Wednesday, announcing that he’s asked the Office of the Inspector General to review the contracting process.