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Rival Company Says Puerto Rico Deal to Rebuild Homes Was Unfairly Awarded


Two disaster recovery companies are battling over a $133 million contract to repair hurricane-battered homes in Puerto Rico ... awarded to Whitefish Energy Holdings LLC, a two-person Montana operation with seemingly little relevant experience.


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Photographer: Alex Wroblewski/Bloomberg Rival Company Says Puerto Rico Deal to Rebuild Homes Was Unfairly Awarded By Jonathan Levin @JonathanJLevin More stories by Jonathan Levin , Daniel Flatley @daniel_flatley More stories by Daniel Flatley , and Yalixa Rivera More stories by Yalixa Rivera {"year":"numeric","month":"long","day":"numeric","hour":"numeric","minute":"numeric","timeZoneName":"short"} January 12, 2018, 3:19 PM EST Award of $133 million job to Adjusters protested by AECOM The winner employs executive who withdrew as Trump nominee Two disaster recovery companies are battling over a $133 million contract to repair hurricane-battered homes in Puerto Rico, with the losing bidder formally challenging the result and suggesting the winner should have been disqualified.The commonwealth’s Housing Department on Dec15 gave the deal to oversee 75,000 potential home rehabs to Utica, New York-based Adjusters International Inc., which employs as an executive a former Trump administration nominee to the Federal Emergency Management AgencyAECOM, the world’s biggest engineering firm, said Adjusters failed to show adequate financial resources and good standing to do business in Puerto Rico, according to a copy of AECOM’s motion for reconsideration provided to Bloomberg.“Adjusters’ proposal did not even purport to meet mandatory terms,” AECOM said in its Dec28 filing. {"contentId":"P2GGV56VDKIO01","position":"box","dimensions":{"mobile":[[300,250],[1,1]]},"type":"Mobile Body Box Ad","positionIncrement":1,"targeting":{"position":"box1","positionIncrement":1,"url":"/news/articles/2018-01-12/puerto-rico-deal-to-rebuild-homes-unfairly-awarded-rival-says"},"containerId":"box-IN5cTwO"} The case is the latest to raise questions about the island government’s handling of contracts after Hurricane Maria made landfall Sept20Puerto Rico’s recovery has dragged on for months, with large areas still without power and thousands living in precarious housingThe slow recovery has been accompanied by accusations of mismanagement, from concerns about a vast understatement of the death count to a dubious electricity contract awarded to Whitefish Energy Holdings LLC, a two-person Montana operation with seemingly little relevant experience.Closely held Adjusters International has three decades of history, including work for Kuwait after the Gulf War and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey after the Sept11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to an email from spokesman Chad KoltonThe company is also working on a storm-damage job where Hurricane Irma hit the Florida Keys.FEMA VeteranThe 2016 acquisition of Tidal Basin Group, founded and run by recent Trump nominee Daniel Craig, gave it a presence in disaster preparedness, according to the company’s websiteCraig, a senior vice president, led FEMA’s Recovery Division under President George WBush during Hurricane KatrinaPresident Donald Trump nominated him last year as the agency’s deputy administrator, but he withdrew after an NBC News report uncovered accusations that he falsified travel and time-keeping records at FEMAEfforts to reach Craig, who wasn’t charged or punished, were unsuccessful.Now, his new company is ensnared in a high-stakes fight being waged before an independent review boardLeticia Jover, a spokeswoman for commonwealth Housing Secretary Fernando Gil, declined to comment on AECOM’s allegations, citing the possibility that the case could lead to legal action. Points of ContentionThe Puerto Rico case may ultimately turn not on Adjusters International’s qualifications and capacity to perform the job, but finer matters such as what documents were filed, and when, during the bidding process. {"contentId":"P2GGV56VDKIO01","position":"in-article","dimensions":{"mobile":[[5,19],[300,250],[1,1]],"tablet":[[5,19],[728,90],[1,1]]},"type":"In Article Flex Native Ad","positionIncrement":1,"targeting":{"position":"in-article","positionIncrement":1,"url":"/news/articles/2018-01-12/puerto-rico-deal-to-rebuild-homes-unfairly-awarded-rival-says"},"containerId":"in-article-eLYiwEo"} The bid request -- a copy of which Bloomberg acquired through the housing agency -- stipulates that the qualifying bidder needed an unencumbered credit line of at least $35 millionAECOM said Adjusters submitted a letter showing a credit line of exactly that sum, but that some had been used“It is conclusive that Adjusters’ purported line of credit does not meet the threshold requisite,” AECOM said.In the email, Adjusters said the original bid request had been amended, and that $26 million in available credit and $10 million in cash met that criteria.AECOM also questioned its competitor’s registration to do business in Puerto RicoIts motion filed with the housing agency included a search of Puerto Rico’s Registry of Corporations and Entities that showed no results for “Adjusters International, Inc.” {"contentId":"P2GGV56VDKIO01","position":"outstream","dimensions":{"large_desktop":[[1,8]],"small_desktop":[[1,8]],"tablet":[[1,8]]},"strategy":"always","type":"Outstream Video Native Ad","targeting":{"position":"outstream","url":"/news/articles/2018-01-12/puerto-rico-deal-to-rebuild-homes-unfairly-awarded-rival-says"},"containerId":"outstream-video-1-P2GGV56VDKIO01"} {"contentId":"P2GGV56VDKIO01","position":"outstream","dimensions":{"mobile":[[1,8]]},"strategy":"always","type":"Outstream Video Native Ad","targeting":{"position":"outstream","url":"/news/articles/2018-01-12/puerto-rico-deal-to-rebuild-homes-unfairly-awarded-rival-says"},"containerId":"outstream-video-2-P2GGV56VDKIO01"} Adjusters said it is in good standing to do business in Puerto RicoThe database does include “Adjusters International Puerto Rico LLC,” an entity formed in Delaware on Nov1, with the documents available on the system effective Nov28.The company used the address of Fast Solutions LLC, a separate firm that helps businesses establish legal standing with Puerto Rico.The bid request described a point-based process that addressed experience; personnel qualifications; project approach; past performance; and costBonus points were awarded to bidders with a local partner, the bid documents saidPrice got the heaviest weighting, but accounted for just 25 points of a possible 110 points.AECOM said it scored 99.04, while Adjusters International had 95.06, which led AECOM to say the Housing Department “disregarded its own evaluation criteria” and focused on price primarilyAECOM said it turned in a proposal with a cost of a little more than $154 million, while Adjusters offered to do it for $133 million.But Adjusters said the bid request makes clear that the winner would be selected based on the “best value,” considering price and “technical score.”— With assistance by Paul Murphy Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE Have a confidential news tip?Get in touch with our reporters. {"url":"https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-12/puerto-rico-deal-to-rebuild-homes-unfairly-awarded-rival-says"} {"contentId":"P2GGV56VDKIO01","position":"box","dimensions":{"small_desktop":[[300,600],[300,250],[1,1]],"large_desktop":[[300,600],[300,250],[1,1]]},"positionIncrement":1,"targeting":{"position":"box1","positionIncrement":1,"url":"/news/articles/2018-01-12/puerto-rico-deal-to-rebuild-homes-unfairly-awarded-rival-says"},"containerId":"box-CK2C4Ol"} Most Read The Mysterious Twitter User Drawing a Swarm of Japan Traders One of the Biggest Crypto Exchanges Goes Dark and Users Are Getting Nervous Mark Zuckerberg’s Change of Heart Just Cost Him $3.3 Billion Passenger Jet Dangles Off Cliff After Skidding Off Runway Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day {"contentId":"P2GGV56VDKIO01","position":"trendingnow","dimensions":{"small_desktop":[[5,18],[1,1]],"large_desktop":[[5,18],[1,1]]},"positionIncrement":1,"targeting":{"position":"trendingnow1","positionIncrement":1,"url":"/news/articles/2018-01-12/puerto-rico-deal-to-rebuild-homes-unfairly-awarded-rival-says"},"containerId":"trendingnow-feqU2I5"} {"contentId":"P2GGV56VDKIO01","position":"native","dimensions":{"all":[[5,16],[5,5],[5,2],[1,1]],"mobile":[[300,250]]},"type":"Native Transporter Ad","positionIncrement":1,"targeting":{"position":"native1","positionIncrement":1,"url":"/news/articles/2018-01-12/puerto-rico-deal-to-rebuild-homes-unfairly-awarded-rival-says"},"containerId":"native-axE586M"} Terms of Service Trademarks Privacy Policy

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