- Carlos Barria/Reuters
- San Juan mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz went back and forth on Twitter with Whitefish Energy, a firm awarded a $300 million contract to help restore Puerto Rico’s power grid. The vast majority of Puerto Rico’s citizens are still without power. Cruz has called the no-bid contract “alarming” and said it raised ethical concerns.
Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, engaged in a Twitter feud with a small Montana energy firm on Wednesday, after she and others questioned the firm’s controversial $300 million contract to assist the hurricane-ravaged US territory.
Whitefish Energy Holdings was awarded the contract last month to restore Puerto Rico’s power grid, but it raised eyebrows recently as the island has struggled to provide power to more than 75% of residents weeks after Hurricane Maria hit on September 20.
Cruz called the no-bid contract “alarming” and demanded it be voided in light of ethical discrepancies, Yahoo News reported Wednesday.
“The contract should be voided right away, and a proper process which is clear, transparent, legal, moral and ethical should take place,” Cruz told Yahoo News. “What we need is somebody that can get the job done and that has the expertise to get the job done.”
Whitefish, which reportedly employed two full-time employees when the contract was awarded, said it shared Cruz’s frustrations but noted that “her comments are misplaced.”
Cruz then criticized the company for suggesting that she was the only person to raise concerns about the contract.
“You would think I am the only one in the world that has commented on this,” Cruz replied with a screenshot of Whitefish’s tweet. “What is it about women having an opinion that irritates some?”
“If @WhitefishEnergy feels that asking for transparency is ‘misplaced,’ what are they afraid we will find,’ Cruz continued.
The spat between the two escalated Wednesday evening after a tweet on the company’s official Twitter asked if Cruz still wanted the firm’s assistance.
“We’ve got 44 linemen rebuilding power lines in your city & 40 more men just arrived. Do you want us to send them back or keep working,” the company tweeted from its official account.
“@WhitefishEnergy implies that you will not treat the City of San Juan with the diligence it deserves. Thus admitting political motivations,” Cruz replied.
“Mayor, you called for our work to end. We do not want to leave the island without help. We’re committed to restoring power to Puerto Rico,” the company tweeted.
Despite the back-and-forth with Cruz, Whitefish appeared to backtrack Wednesday evening, saying it was apologizing for its earlier comments: “Mayor Cruz and everyone in Puerto Rico – on behalf of our employees, we would like to apologize for our comments earlier today, which did not represent who we are and how important this work is to help Puerto Rico’s recovery.”
“Our goal is to continue to do all we can to help everyone in Puerto Rico in this time of need,” the company’s statement continued.
Cruz, who represents the largest city in Puerto Rico, has been consistently vocal about the situation in the US territory. Cruz has railed against President Donald Trump’s response that many agree was insufficient and inappropriate, and previously said that the island was “inching close to a genocide.”
“We are dying here,” Cruz said in an emotional press conference last month. “And I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out logistics for a small island of 100 miles by 35 miles long.”