Puerto Rico utility ignored advice on repair deal

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Newly released documents show that Puerto Rico’s bankrupt electric utility ignored advice from its own lawyers before signing a $300 million contract with a tiny Montana company to repair its damaged power grid.

The documents show the law firm recommended that the power authority be allowed to terminate the deal within 10 days for any breach by the company, Whitefish Energy Holdings. The firm also recommended that the utility be allowed to seek damages from Whitefish.

Those recommendations and others were ignored as the power authority signed a no-bid deal with Whitefish, which is based in Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s hometown and had just two employees when Hurricane Maria hit in September.

The documents were released by the House Natural Resources Committee ahead of a hearing Tuesday.