San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on September 30, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Joe Raedle—Getty Images
By Jamie Ducharme
October 25, 2017

In the midst of backlash over its $300 million contract to restore Puerto Rico’s power grid, Whitefish Energy Holdings is openly sparring with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz.

Whitefish has been under scrutiny ever since it signed a contract with Puerto Rico’s semi-public power utility PREPA without a competitive bidding process. The company, based in Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s home state of Montana, was also only founded two years ago, and had just two full-time employees.

Cruz has voiced her own criticism of the company, saying the contract should be “voided right away” and calling the deal “alarming” in an interview with Yahoo News published Wednesday. She also called its efforts to restore power to Puerto Rico, where millions are still without electricity more than a month after Hurricane Maria battered the island, “inadequate,” Yahoo reports.

On Wednesday, Whitefish fired back with a statement on Twitter. “We share the mayor’s frustration with the situation on Puerto Rico,” the company wrote, “but her comments are misplaced. … We find her comments to be very disappointing and demoralizing to the hundreds of people on our team that have left their homes and families and have come here to help the people of Puerto Rico.”

Cruz responded to the statement on Twitter, calling for transparency from Whitefish. From there, things got ugly, with Whitefish tweeting what many, including Cruz, interpreted as a threat to pull employees from the battered island.

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