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US reps request subpoena of FEMA documents on contract to deliver meals to Puerto Rico

By on February 6, 2018

SAN JUAN – U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings and U.S. Virgin Islands delegate Stacey Plaskett wrote to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, urging Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) documents related to a contract to deliver 30 million meals to Puerto Rico be subpoenaed.

Despite the number of meals stipulated in FEMA’s $156 million contract with Tribute Contracting LLC, which they called a “one-person company,” only 50,000 of these meals were delivered.

The New York Times first reported that FEMA realized the food had been improperly packaged and cancelled Tiffany Brown’s contract 20 days after it was signed, reportedly paying $255,000 for 50,000 meals, which were improperly delivered, as they were supposed to be “self-heating.”

The letter’s authors said FEMA has not produced the requested documents three months after they were requested. The lawmakers said that in a phone call with Brown, she claimed FEMA was aware she couldn’t “independently finance the production and delivery” of that number of meals in such a short a period.

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“It is difficult to fathom how FEMA could have believed that this tiny company had the capacity to perform this $156 million contract,” the letter reads. The representatives then list five other botched Tribute contracts, adding that the Government Publishing Office had already declared the company ineligible for contracts of more than $30,000 over a year ago.

“It appears that the Trump administration’s response to the hurricanes in Puerto Rico in 2017 suffered from the same flaws as the Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005,” they wrote.

Plaskett recently introduced the Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Equitable Rebuild Act of 2018, what she called a “Marshall Plan type of response” to address “immediate humanitarian needs.”

Read Cummings and Plaskett’s letter here.

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