Alvin Baez / Reuters
In defense of the contract with Whitefish, Puerto Rico officials have said the company was willing to work without a down payment, which made it more attractive to the debt-ridden island. Whitefish has said the company has expertise in mountainous areas, and arrived in Puerto Rico before other companies.
A report in The Washington Post, noting that the company is based in Whitefish, Montana, the hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, set off a storm of criticism this week and triggered calls for inquiries by Congress.
Zinke’s office told the Post that he had had no role in the contract.
During a news conference Thursday, Rosselló said he was expecting an audit into Whitefish’s $300 million contract.
This first audit is being conducted by the Puerto Rico Office of Management and Budget. There will be a separate audit by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General’s Office.
“If there is no wrongdoing, if it has been done correctly, then we will push forward,” Rosselló said. “If there is wrongdoing, in this process or in any process, there will be hell to pay.”