The National Guard helped FEMA deliver emergency food and water in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. (Yuisa Rios,FEMA)

Failed FEMA Puerto Rico Food Contractor Plagiarized Proposal, Senators Charge

Three U.S. senators charge that failed Puerto Rico emergency food contractor Tribute Contracting LLC plagiarized sections of the proposal it submitted to win a now-canceled $156 million contract to deliver meals after Hurricane Maria in September 2017. The Federal Emergency Management Agency terminated the contract on Oct. 9 after the company failed to deliver meals at the pace and quality required, Homeland Security Today reported Feb. 6.

“The overwhelming majority of Tribute’s 9-page proposal appears to be plagiarized from several sources readily available on the internet,” the senators wrote in a letter to FEMA seeking an explanation of how Tribute won the contract.

“The proposal submitted by Tribute in response to FEMA’s contract solicitation contains numerous contradictory or unintelligible assertions,” Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Gary Peters (Mich.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) wrote on Feb. 22.

FEMA appears to have failed to verify representations in Tribute’s proposal, including a claim of a partnership with C.H. Robinson, “one of the largest third-party logistics companies in the world,” according to the letter.

“We are concerned that without proper policies and procedures in place to evaluate prospective contractors’ capacity, we will continue to see disaster relief contracts fail unnecessarily, at the expense of both taxpayers and hurricane survivors,” the senators wrote. They gave FEMA a March 15 deadline to respond.

“FEMA received the letter from the HSGAC yesterday and is currently reviewing its contents,” FEMA spokesman Will Booher told Government Executive Feb. 23. “FEMA continues to work closely with Congress and will provide a response directly back to the committee.”

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee also is investigating the contract.

Read more at Government Executive.

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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