The Federal Emergency Management Agency last year gave a big contract to an Atlanta-based entrepreneur who had no experience in large-scale disaster relief — and she completely failed to meet the goals set for her by the agency.
The New York Times reports that Tiffany C. Brown, who was awarded a $156 million contract to deliver meals to Puerto Ricans suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria last year, delivered only around 50,000 meals by the time she was supposed to have delivered 18.5 million.
The issue, reports the Times, is that “the food had been packaged separately from the pouches used to heat them,” whereas “FEMA’s solicitation required ‘self-heating meals.'”
Because of this, FEMA canceled Brown’s contract, which had originally called on her to deliver 30 million meals to the hurricane-stricken U.S. territory.
Although FEMA says that it relied on other contractors to deliver meals to Puerto Rico after the contract with Brown fell through, the Times writes that “there is little doubt that in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans struggled with access to food” since “the storm shut down ports on an island that imports about 85 percent of its food supply.”
Brown is now seeking a settlement of $70 million in exchange for the terminated contract, as she claims to the Times that FEMA never told her that meals had to be shipped together with their heating pouches.