badlatitude

How Does a Two Person Company Win a $300 Million Contract?

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7 minutes ago, Mark K said:

You seem to have missed my disclaimer in the post I made...ah..I see posts aren't numbered anymore...the post I made 23 hours previous to this.  

I do remember what you wrote there. It's just that your defense seems a little vigorous.

Even if this contract was honest (even though it was noncompliant) every alarm bell in FEMA, The Corps and Homeland Security should have rung like a fucking four alarm fire when they saw that a two person company who is friends with the Secretary got the award. This isn't a penny-ante contract, they should have gone straight to the media when they noticed that "coincidence."

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7 minutes ago, mikewof said:

I do remember what you wrote there. It's just that your defense seems a little vigorous.

Even if this contract was honest (even though it was noncompliant) every alarm bell in FEMA, The Corps and Homeland Security should have rung like a fucking four alarm fire when they saw that a two person company who is friends with the Secretary got the award. This isn't a penny-ante contract, they should have gone straight to the media when they noticed that "coincidence."

  It seems vigorous because the way it was first reported made it look a heck of a lot worse than it probably is. There is something to this fake news stuff Trump keeps talking about. I think our national press is only good at one minor branch of what journalism used to be: Political gossip. They select people good at that and call it a day. Most don't seem to have much experience at anything else. 

 

The most likely scenario...after seeing this kid who runs this company...is our Sec of Interior committed the garden variety corruption of selecting a company from his home state. The guy didn't strike me as a guy who hobnobs with politicians a heck of a lot. His company is tiny so politicans are unlikely to hob his knob either.

 It's typical of politicians to do this. It is also sure as God made little green apples every competitor of that company was immediately on the phone to their own congresscritter demanding a piece of the action, hence the call for the FBI to dig into this was almost immediate. I suspect they will figure the typical solution out right quick...cut the first guys share of the work and pass this gravy boat around. That takes a bit of time. 

 

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1 hour ago, Mark K said:

  It seems vigorous because the way it was first reported made it look a heck of a lot worse than it probably is. There is something to this fake news stuff Trump keeps talking about. I think our national press is only good at one minor branch of what journalism used to be: Political gossip. They select people good at that and call it a day. Most don't seem to have much experience at anything else. 

 

The most likely scenario...after seeing this kid who runs this company...is our Sec of Interior committed the garden variety corruption of selecting a company from his home state. The guy didn't strike me as a guy who hobnobs with politicians a heck of a lot. His company is tiny so politicans are unlikely to hob his knob either.

 It's typical of politicians to do this. It is also sure as God made little green apples every competitor of that company was immediately on the phone to their own congresscritter demanding a piece of the action, hence the call for the FBI to dig into this was almost immediate. I suspect they will figure the typical solution out right quick...cut the first guys share of the work and pass this gravy boat around. That takes a bit of time. 

 

YES! And that's corruption! It's not "garden variety" corruption, it's CORRUPTION, all caps. They admitted knowing each prefer Mark. It's not just homerism with Montana, it's the same little town in Montana between people who knew each other before the contract was made.

Tax dollars have to be allocated in a way that returns the highest possible value to the taxpayer, and it has to be done with a minimum conflict of interest. If the Secretary had some friends who do that work and then "put in the word for them" as you suggest then that's a blatant conflict of interest and the people of PR were caught in that mess. The taxpayers received questionable value, and laws were violated if what you write is true.

Sole sourcing is allowed when it is sufficiently determined that only one source can supply the needed goods or service. And there is no way in bloody fucking shitstained hell that these guys from Whitefish are the only ones who can do that kind of work.

This has nothing to do with "fake news" or disinformation, in fact, I am surprised how little press this story had generated.

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12 hours ago, mikewof said:
13 hours ago, Mark K said:

I strongly suspect they have boiler-plate specs for emergency situations. Fact is the USG doesn't have near the capability of the combined private sector in infrastructure, they have set SOPs for catastrophes which gets shit moving in the least amount of time possible. 

 

 If you have days to mess around...it ain't an emergency. Especially considering it will take days to get shit on site. 

 

The no-bid, noncompliant contract took them about a month, Mark. They could have done a compliant contract faster if they were motivated. This smelled like corruption when I first heard about it, and the more I learned about it, the less it seemed possible to be honest.

the prepa / whitefish contract was executed 6 days after the storm hit, and whitefish started repairing lines 7 days later

the coe / fluor task order was executed 35 days after the storm hit, and they expect to get started by the end of this week

and the fluor contract needs to be modified to include the high voltage transmission lines that whitefish is currently repairing / replacing

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One additional note to the contract:

"Of the five companies that responded to PREPA’s call for bids after Hurricane Irma, Whitefish’s bid was lowest, Ramos said. And the Montana company only sought a $3 million downpayment, compared to a $25 million downpayment demanded by the only other company in the running, he said."

 

Relative to influence peddling and such, the question would be did Whitefish know what the other 4 bids were going to entail or did they just infer what would be desirable based upon their knowledge of PREPA / Puerto Rico.

BTW:  I've been involved in a couple of collateral Puerto Rico renewable-energy infrastructure meetings and I can tell you, the base assumption is that Puerto Rico has no upfront money and that any development is 100% financed.  

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5 hours ago, hermetic said:

the prepa / whitefish contract was executed 6 days after the storm hit, and whitefish started repairing lines 7 days later

the coe / fluor task order was executed 35 days after the storm hit, and they expect to get started by the end of this week

and the fluor contract needs to be modified to include the high voltage transmission lines that whitefish is currently repairing / replacing

The need to do things quickly doesn't remove obligation to be law-abiding. The life-threatening problems in PR is clean water, sanitation and health services. Power is needed as a support for those.

The Corps does what they do, and they do it on their timeline. They are on their own schedule, but they aren't the only recovery tool available to PR. PREPA chose not to work with their mutual aid partners, partners with all kinds of heavy lift capabilities, experienced linemen and equipment that they would need, just a day's shipment with Florida Power and Light's equipment. They didn't even acknowledge the offer and instead chose to do a no-bid with Whitefish.

Why?

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3 hours ago, cmilliken said:

One additional note to the contract:

"Of the five companies that responded to PREPA’s call for bids after Hurricane Irma, Whitefish’s bid was lowest, Ramos said. And the Montana company only sought a $3 million downpayment, compared to a $25 million downpayment demanded by the only other company in the running, he said."

 

Relative to influence peddling and such, the question would be did Whitefish know what the other 4 bids were going to entail or did they just infer what would be desirable based upon their knowledge of PREPA / Puerto Rico.

BTW:  I've been involved in a couple of collateral Puerto Rico renewable-energy infrastructure meetings and I can tell you, the base assumption is that Puerto Rico has no upfront money and that any development is 100% financed.  

"Responded to PREPA's call for bids?" So PREPA issued an RFP for this? And if they wanted a low downpayment, then why not just specify that in the specifications for the RFP? What other companies bid for the contract and how did they know about the bid request?

I'm curious about this bidding process, because the CEO of Whitefish himself said that there was no bidding process.

They're using Federal funds, they have to compete the jobs with Federal guidelines. They didn't. Those guidelines are designed to avoid exactly the kind of thing that happened here ... taxpayers getting caught in the middle of backroom dealings using public funds.

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you continue to make statements that are either unfounded or untrue

I'm done educating you on government contracting

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47 minutes ago, hermetic said:

you continue to make statements that are either unfounded or untrue

I'm done educating you on government contracting

I do it for my day job. If I made a mistake in something I wrote, please be specific.

The long and short of it is that a recipient of Federal funds obligated and spent those funds in a way that isn't compliant and really isn't all that honest either. You have already written several incorrect things about the process, like the need for the CFR regulations to be written into the contract, and your implication that others couldn't have done the exact same work but in a compliant way. PREPA had actual experts with actual equipment from Florida Power and Light, and they instead chose to award Federal funds in a noncompliant way to a company with barely a shadow of FPL's capabilities.

If you can look past the opinions in this editorial, his facts in the matter are straight, as far as I can tell ...

 

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20 hours ago, mikewof said:

YES! And that's corruption! It's not "garden variety" corruption, it's CORRUPTION, all caps. They admitted knowing each prefer Mark. It's not just homerism with Montana, it's the same little town in Montana between people who knew each other before the contract was made.

Tax dollars have to be allocated in a way that returns the highest possible value to the taxpayer, and it has to be done with a minimum conflict of interest. If the Secretary had some friends who do that work and then "put in the word for them" as you suggest then that's a blatant conflict of interest and the people of PR were caught in that mess. The taxpayers received questionable value, and laws were violated if what you write is true.

Sole sourcing is allowed when it is sufficiently determined that only one source can supply the needed goods or service. And there is no way in bloody fucking shitstained hell that these guys from Whitefish are the only ones who can do that kind of work.

This has nothing to do with "fake news" or disinformation, in fact, I am surprised how little press this story had generated.

Probably because they have been seeing hints they didn't do a good job initially...and making a big deal out of it now would highlight that. They need time to do some long-form journalism anyway. 

 There may be some shady things going down, but there is something which leaps to my mind right off the bat...the previous storms in Houston and Floridah, hell, even the fires in CA, OR, and WA, may have had a lot of the heavy lift high-line chopper guys occupied, and it could be what was left for PR was nothing but pudknockers like this little outfit in bum-fuck Whitefish, who was probably ramping-down for winter anyway.

    

   

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2 hours ago, Mark K said:

Probably because they have been seeing hints they didn't do a good job initially...and making a big deal out of it now would highlight that. They need time to do some long-form journalism anyway. 

 There may be some shady things going down, but there is something which leaps to my mind right off the bat...the previous storms in Houston and Floridah, hell, even the fires in CA, OR, and WA, may have had a lot of the heavy lift high-line chopper guys occupied, and it could be what was left for PR was nothing but pudknockers like this little outfit in bum-fuck Whitefish, who was probably ramping-down for winter anyway.

How would they have known who was available if they didn't issue a quick RFP? Florida Power and Light volunteered to help, and they almost definitely would have pulled from the same pool of equipment and talent from which Whitefish pulled, and it's a utility with decades of experience bringing power back after hurricanes.  The pudknockers in Whitefish don't have their own equipment, they had to hire out in the open market.

And yes, PR is an island, but those southern utilities are know how to restore power. Florida Power and Light had put together about 20,000 line workers the very first day after Hurricane Irma, they know the work, and the Governor of Florida committed barges, fuel, transport and generators to get them going: http://www.flgov.com/2017/10/04/gov-scott-issues-updates-on-state-action-to-assist-puerto-rico-2/

Here's the been under my bonnet with this thing Mark ... on the contracts that I assist, if we're discussing an award, anyone who happens to personally know one of the bidders, or even having worked at the same institution of the bidder, they leave the room until the discussion is over. It's without question that the COI can't influence the bid, but even the appearance of a possible COI is avoided, even with a little $100k contract, let alone a $300 million contract. Why are us plebeians so concerned with ethics that doesn't even enter the though-stream of the higher-ups?

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47 minutes ago, mikewof said:

Why are us plebeians so concerned with ethics that doesn't even enter the though-stream of the higher-ups?

Cause we go to jail and lose our meager assets.. They become consultants :)

 

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3 hours ago, BigUnot said:

Please be specific. What do you do for your "day job"?

"It" doesn't do it. 

We've discussed this enough in the past Papa Smurf, and then you get all stalkery ... and then a little grumpy.

It's sufficient for me to say that a large portion of my working day is spent on contracting. Escalating a conversation with you is a recipe for opening a huge can of time-suck.

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It's behind a paywall, but the news from The Bond Buyer this morning is that PREPA is now going to accept the help originally offered to them by EEI and APPA, now that they cancelled the Whitefish contract.

If they had done that a month ago, their grid might be back up by now.

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