A company that was only founded this past August was given a $30 million contract from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help supply Puerto Rico with emergency tarps and plastic sheeting -- but it never delivered on its promises.
An investigation by the Associated Press reveals that Bronze Star LLC, a company that had no proven record of delivering supplies as part of a large-scale disaster relief operation, was entrusted with securing and delivering desperately needed supplies for Puerto Rico after it was hammered by Hurricane Maria earlier this fall.
The supplies were never delivered, however, and FEMA terminated the firm's contract without paying it any money.
However, FEMA now must once again search for another firm that can provide the plastic sheeting supplies, after waiting four weeks for Bronze Star to make good on its promises.
"It is not clear how thoroughly FEMA investigated Bronze Star or its ability to fulfill the contracts," writes the AP. "Formed by two brothers in August, Bronze Star had never before won a government contract or delivered tarps or plastic sheeting."
In total, the AP found that the amount of money awarded to Bronze Star represented 35 percent of the federal money that so far as been awarded to companies that supply tents and tarps.
This is the second time in the past month that questions have been raised about the awarding of disaster relief contracts to help Puerto Rico. Last month, a $300 million contract awarded to Montana-based firm WhiteFish Energy drew scrutiny because it was tasked with restoring all power across the island despite having only two full-time employees.