Puerto Rico suspends $133M post-hurricane housing contract
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico’s Housing Department said Wednesday it will suspend a $133 million deal with a U.S. company hired to repair homes damaged by Hurricane Maria because a review board found the contract was improperly awarded.
The department’s contractor review board published a ruling on Tuesday that New Yorkbased Adjusters International received the contract, which was subsidized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, though it did not meet several requirements.
Eric Perez-Ochoa, an attorney for Adjusters International, said in a statement that the company complied with all requirements and is studying the board’s decision, adding that it was “deeply disappointed.” He said thousands of Puerto Ricans were enrolled in the home repairs program and that crews were conducting nearly 1,500 home inspections a day, with 700 Puerto Ricans helping out. He said the company offered a savings of more than $20 million compared with the other proposal.
“This decision puts that progress at risk and may cost Puerto Rico more money,” he said.
A company vice president, Daniel Craig, had been nominated by U.S. President Donald Trump to the No. 2 position at FEMA but later withdrew from consideration. Craig, an ex-FEMA official under former President George W. Bush, had faced a 2011 federal investigation that concluded he falsified government travel and timekeeping records — findings he has rejected as being the result of a poor investigation.