One-Person Firm Got $156M FEMA Deal. It Didn't End Well

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But, when 18.5 million meals were due, only 50,000 had been delivered.

FEMA awarded the contract to deliver 30 million meals to Puerto Rico to help with recovery from Hurricane Maria Oct. 3 to Tribute Contracting, LLC, an Atlanta, Ga., company with one employee.

19 its contract for 30 million emergency meals with Tribute Contracting LLC, whose owner and only employee is Tiffany Brown, The New York Times reported February 6.

Brown, the sole employee of her company, hired an 11-person wedding catering company and a Texas nonprofit that had shipped food to a Houston food bank during Hurricane Harvey to provide the meals.

Carolyn Ward, a FEMA official who handled the contract with Brown's company, wrote in an email to Brown, seen by the Times, that the operation was "a logistical nightmare". They seek to know how and why FEMA "inexplicably" awarded the meals contract to "a tiny, one-person company with a history of struggling with much smaller contracts", according to their February 6 letter. Brown's company has been awarded dozens of contracts, but has failed to deliver on several, including four that required her to deliver food products to correctional facilities in the Federal Prison System. Yet only 50,000 meals, less than two-tenths of one percent of the agency's original goal, made it to struggling Puerto Ricans, according to reporting from The New York Times.

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Brown has appealed the contract termination. GPO ruled Tribute ineligible for contracts larger than $30,000 from 2016 through 2019.

FEMA maintains that the canceled contract did not hamper the government's relief efforts.

Brown is now fighting the FEMA contract termination and seeking a $70 million settlement. It is unclear whether FEMA was aware of Tribute's previous problems or disregarded them, the lawmakers wrote.

Neil Galloway piles up debris from his and his neighbors' houses in the back yard of his badly damaged property, 13 days after Hurricane Maria raked Whim Estate in the hard-hit Frederiksted area of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands October 1, 2017. A spokesman for the agency said FEMA relied on services from other food companies and claimed that the distribution process wasn't hindered.

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