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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Trump Administration finds another way to screw Puerto Rico

Related imagePeople were going hungry in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and this is who got a $156 million Federal Emergency Management Agency contract to deliver 30 million meals in a matter of weeks:

[Tiffany] Brown, who is adept at navigating the federal contracting system, hired a wedding caterer in Atlanta with a staff of 11 to freeze-dry wild mushrooms and rice, chicken and rice, and vegetable soup. She found a nonprofit in Texas that had shipped food aid overseas and domestically, including to a Houston food bank after Hurricane Harvey.

By the time 18.5 million meals were due, Tribute had delivered only 50,000. And FEMA inspectors discovered a problem: The food had been packaged separately from the pouches used to heat them. FEMA’s solicitation required “self-heating meals.”

“Do not ship another meal. Your contract is terminated,” Carolyn Ward, the FEMA contracting officer who handled Tribute’s agreement, wrote to Ms. Brown in an email dated Oct. 19 that Ms. Brown provided to The New York Times. “This is a logistical nightmare.”

She hired a wedding caterer! Brown’s suppliers, by the way, have threatened to sue her over this episode.

Tiffany Brown
"Dr." Tiffany Brown, from her company's website. 

FEMA can’t claim to be an innocent victim here—Brown had a history of canceled government contracts for failing to deliver food to the prison system and for getting an order with the Government Publishing Office wrong.

She also had no experience in this kind of disaster relief work. FEMA hired her despite having absolutely no reason to believe she could deliver what she was promising.

EDITOR'S NOTE: According to her LinkedIn profile, Ms. Brown does have a degree from Walden University. On her company website, she claims it is a "Doctorate in Public Policy." Walden was one of America's first for-profit on-line diploma mills.   - W. Collette

Just as a two-person operation got a $300 million contract to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electrical grid that was quickly canceled.

Incompetence, corruption, or career employees strained to the breaking point by mismanagement and lack of resources?

It could be some of each, but what’s clear is that Donald Trump is failing American disaster survivors.