One of the biggest storms emerging from the hurricane season is centered on Whitefish Energy Holdings LLC’s $300 million contract to restore Puerto Rico’s power. This raised eyebrows, with news outlets all over the country commenting on:
- The capacity of a two-year-old company with two employees to handle a multimillion dollar project;
- The lack of bidding process to include companies with disaster relief experience;
- The indirect connection to the Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, through his hometown of Whitefish, Montana;
- The political connections of Whitefish Holdings’ financial backers;
- The breakdown of the proposed budget.
There is no evidence of misconduct; both Whitefish CEO Andy Techmanski and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke deny the politician had any involvement in orchestrating the contract. Nevertheless, the Whitefish deal smells a bit fishy, and the national news coverage boils down to these questions:
- Who are the key players?
- Who do they know?
- Why them?
- What’s the latest update?
Here’s what the RelSci team found.
1. Who are Whitefish Energy Holdings and the key players?
We’ll be honest. A week ago, neither Whitefish Energy nor Whitefish CEO Andy Techmanski were one of the 9 million people and organizations we had profiled in our database. Now both are in RelSci; Techmanski has 50 relationships with high-profile individuals and five companies in his employment history. Whitefish Energy has been tagged in 90 articles over the past five days. We’re all about keeping data up-to-date, and we regularly add information based on publicly available records.
2. Who do they know?
While Zinke and Techmanski are from the same small town, they also have connections through highly influential people. Through our Path Finder algorithm, we pulled the data for the top 5 strongest paths.
It looks like nothing on the public record indicates that Techmanski and Zinke have a professional relationship, but there may have been opportunities for warm introductions outside of Whitefish.
3. Why them?
Just kidding. We’ll leave that discussion to the opinion columnists, American public, and political leadership. We gather the facts to inform your opinions.
4. What’s the latest update?
On Monday the contract was cancelled, cited as a “distraction” by the Puerto Rican governor in what has been deemed an overall slow hurricane response.
Is Whitefish Energy a red herring in the hunt for government corruption, or will the reported FBI investigation turn up some interesting connections? Will a legal battle ensue for the breach of contract after the deal cancellation? Will other companies new to working in disaster response, like Tesla, have more success in Puerto Rico?
Be sure to follow Whitefish Energy Holdings LLC, Andy Techmanski, and Ryan Zinke to get up-to-date analysis from over 350 sources covering the political spectrum.