Two Democrats are pushing to have the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) subpoenaed for documents alleging that the agency failed to deliver nearly 30 million meals that were promised after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island. Rep. Elijah Cummings and Congressional Delegate Stacy Plaskett are requesting information on a $156 million contract, awarded to Tribute Contracting LLC, associated with the meals.
Cummings and Plaskett signed a letter address to the House Oversight Committee Chairman, Trey Gowdy, on Tuesday morning, questioning the contract and the number of meals that were ultimately provided.
According to a report by CNN, only 50,000, or less than 0.25 percent, of the promised 30 million meals have been delivered, based on information from Tiffany Brown, the owner of Tribute Contracting LLC.
Amanda Gonzalez, Gowdy’s communications director, asserted that the Republican chairman wasn’t aware of the issue prior to the letter being received.
“The minority had numerous opportunities to bring this to the attention of both our staff and [the Department of Homeland Security]/FEMA during our discussions and briefings on the hurricane recovery efforts,” said Gonzales, “but they failed to do so until a public letter demanding a subpoena.”
Brown provided documents showing that FEMA terminated the agreement “due to late delivery of the approved heater meals” just 20 days after the contract was signed.
“One of the primary reasons FEMA failed to deliver these meals is because it inexplicably awarded a contract worth approximately $156 million to deliver 30 million emergency meals to a tiny, one-person company with a history of struggling with much smaller contracts,” claimed Cummings and Plaskett in the letter.
On Tuesday, Brown stated that she was overwhelmed and intends to sue the government for the amount of $70 million.
“Here is what I can say, I’ve had challenges with government contracts in the past,” said Brown. “The primary reason is financial resources, and lack of support.”
Tribute Contracting LLC only shows an annual revenue of $1,000 in the Federal Procurement Data System and is registered as a one-employee company, though Brown says the data is out of date.
Brown claims that FEMA paid her company $255,000 for the 50,000 meals that were delivered, but asserts that the payment was not prompt, limiting her ability to continue with on-time deliveries.