Washington, DC – United States Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) led a group of senators in calling for an investigation of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) decision, following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, to award over $30 million in contracts to Bronze Star LLC for temporary roofing materials in Puerto Rico that were never delivered.
The hurricane caused billions of dollars in property damage, and left many Puerto Ricans without adequate shelter. As part of recovery efforts, FEMA has been responsible for providing tarps and plastic sheeting to thousands of affected homeowners, including awarding $88 million in federal contracts for the provision of tarps that can be installed by homeowners. In early October, Bronze Star received two contracts from FEMA totaling over $30 million to provide 60,000 rolls of plastic sheeting and 500,000 tarps. But according to recent reports, Bronze Star never delivered.
FEMA ultimately terminated its contract with Bronze Star, a new company with no proven track record in federal procurement, in early November. But Bronze Star’s failures resulted in a month-long delay in the delivery of these crucial supplies to the island, and has left thousands of Puerto Ricans living without roofs.
“More than two months after the hurricane devastated Puerto Rico, rain continues to fall regularly and thousands of people have not been able to return to their roofless homes,” wrote the senators. “Faulty contracting procedures have only delayed relief to the people of Puerto Rico, and we find this unacceptable.”
Senators Menendez and Warren, along with Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Bernie Sander (I-Vt.) wrote to the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees FEMA, to request an investigation into how Bronze Star received the contract, as well as what steps the agency has taken since the contract was ended to improve its contracting processes.
April 22, 2021