(AP) – A year after losing a $300 million no-bid contract to restore Puerto Rico’s hurricane-shattered electric grid, Whitefish Energy Holdings has quietly been seeking and winning U.S. government contracts.
Founded in 2015 in Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s tiny Montana hometown, Whitefish had just two employees when Hurricane Maria hit in September 2017. The company was ousted weeks later by Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority amid concerns about the slow pace of recovery and eyebrow-raising charges.
Records show Whitefish won a $225,000 job in June from the Interior Department to perform electrical work at three fish hatcheries. The Energy Department awarded Whitefish a more than $1 million contract in September to build power transmission lines.
The Interior Department denied that Zinke, a former Montana congressman, played any role in the contract award.