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Fishy Deal in Puerto Rico Where Two Man Firm Wins $300 Million Contract

It appears corruption  and nepotism is still alive in Puerto Rico. A tiny firm with connections to a Chumph Cabinet member gets a massive contract…

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Small Montana firm lands Puerto Rico’s biggest contract to get the power back on

For the sprawling effort to restore Puerto Rico’s crippled electrical grid, the territory’s state-owned utility has turned to a two-year-old company from Montana that had just two full-time employees on the day Hurricane Maria made landfall.

The company, Whitefish Energy, said last week that it had signed a $300 million contract with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to repair and reconstruct large portions of the island’s electrical infrastructure. The contract is the biggest yet issued in the troubled relief effort.

Whitefish said Monday that it has 280 workers in the territory, using linemen from across the country, most of them as subcontractors, and that the number grows on average from 10 to 20 people a day. It said it was close to completing infrastructure work that will energize some of the key industrial facilities that are critical to restarting the local economy.

The power authority, also known as PREPA, opted to hire Whitefish rather than activate the “mutual aid” arrangements it has with other utilities. For many years, such agreements have helped U.S. utilities — including those in Florida and Texas recently — to recover quickly after natural disasters.

The unusual decision to instead hire a tiny for-profit company is drawing scrutiny from Congress and comes amid concerns about bankrupt Puerto Rico’s spending as it seeks to provide relief to its 3.4 million residents, the great majority of whom remain without power a month after the storm.

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“The fact that there are so many utilities with experience in this and a huge track record of helping each other out, it is at least odd why [the utility] would go to Whitefish,” said Susan F. Tierney, a former senior official at the Energy Department and state regulatory agencies. “I’m scratching my head wondering how it all adds up.”

PREPA’s executive director, Ricardo Ramos, and a spokesman did not respond to emails asking why the utility didn’t activate the mutual-aid network. On a tour of the idled Palo Seco power plant, Ramos told reporters that Whitefish was the first company “available to arrive and they were the ones that first accepted terms and conditions for PREPA.”

Ramos said that the utility is “completely content” with the work Whitefish is doing. “The doubts that have been raised about Whitefish, from my point of view, are completely unfounded,” he added, saying that concerns about Whitefish were probably spread by jealous competitors.

Whitefish officials have said that the company’s expertise in mountainous areas makes it well suited for the work and that it jumped at the chance when other firms were hesitating over concerns about payment. The company acknowledges it had only two full-time employees when Maria struck but says its business model calls for ramping up rapidly by hiring workers on short-term contracts.

Spokesman Chris Chiames dismissed criticism about the company’s qualifications. “We are taking personal risks and business risks working in perilous physical and financial conditions,” Chiames said. “So the carping by others is unfounded, and we stand by our work and our commitment to the people of Puerto Rico.”

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Posted by on October 24, 2017 in American Greed

 

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Chumph Airbnb host To Cough Up $5,000 for Trump Laced Tirade in Refusing to Rent to “Asians”

Ouch! This one is going to leave a mark…

You average Trumpazoid on Airbnb.

Trump-loving Airbnb host ordered to pay $5,000 for telling woman she wouldn’t rent to Asians

Tami Barker, an Airbnb host who invoked President Donald Trump’s name when she told a woman that she was cancelling her reservation because she was Asian, has been ordered to pay thousands of dollars in damages for racial discrimination.

The Guardian reports that the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) ordered Barker to pay out $5,000 to Dyne Suh, a 26-year-old Asian-American law student whose reservation at Barker’s cabin got cancelled earlier this year.

“In addition to paying monetary damages and taking a college-level course in Asian American studies, Barker must agree to comply with anti-discrimination laws, make a personal apology to Suh, participate in a community education panel and volunteer with a civil rights organization,” the Guardian reports.

In messages sent to Suh after cancelling her reservation, Barker wrote that “I wouldn’t rent it to u if u were the last person on earth” and “One word says it all. Asian.” She also explained that “it’s why we have Trump… and I will not allow this country to be told what to do by foreigners.”

Suh, who has lived in the United States for the past 23 years, posted an emotional video earlier this year shortly after her Airbnb reservation got cancelled in which she lamented that many people treated her like “trash” due to her race, despite the fact that she has lived in the United States most of her life.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2017 in The Clown Bus, The Definition of Racism

 

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Drugbo Becomes Irrelevant

Once the biggest name in conservative Talk, Rush Limbaugh, and the Radio Network which spawned and distributed him to all major markets are on the way out.  The former “Clear Channel”, which gobbled up stations across the country to promote and foster conservative talk radio principally on AM Stations is near Bankruptcy.

Going to have to pawn the Gold Mike…And get a plastic one!

Rush Limbaugh hit where it hurts: World’s greatest troll faces steep pay cut

The shock jock inked a whopping $400-million deal in 2008. It will go down as one of the worst contracts in history

One of the favorite pastimes for sports fans is commiserating over the worst contract their home team ever made; guffawing over management’s decision to waste tens of millions of dollars for a player who never justified the huge payday. (See: Gilbert Arenas.)

For talk radio, there’s probably only one contract that enters that realm of notoriety: Rush Limbaugh’s eight-year, $400-million deal, signed in the summer of 2008 with his longtime radio employer Premiere Radio Networks.

Owned by Clear Channel Communications, which has since changed its name to iHeartRadio, Premiere’s Limbaugh deal instantly dwarfed any payout in AM/FM history. (Only Howard Stern’s contract with Sirius was larger.) The contract, which included a staggering $100 million signing bonus, never panned out as the wheels began to come off Limbaugh’s radio empire.

This year, his contract is up and the timing couldn’t be worse. The talker is facing ratings hurdles, aging demographics, and an advertising community that increasingly views him as toxic, thanks in part to his days-long sexist meltdown over Sandra Fluke in 2012. (He’s also stumbling through the GOP primary season.)

Concurrently, iHeartRadio’s parent company, iHeartMedia, is heading to court, teetering on bankruptcy. The once-dominant radio behemoth is saddled with $20 billion in debt, thanks to a misguided leveraged takeover engineered by Bain Capital in 2008, the same year the radio giant inked its disastrous Limbaugh deal.

Today those two defining missteps from the past are crossing paths, which means Limbaugh’s radio future has never looked less bright. This, as Limbaugh passes his 65th birthday, which seems to mirror his audience’s age.

“Who would even want someone whose audience is aging and is considered toxic to many advertisers,” asked RadioInsight last year.

Some industry insiders are wondering if his AM days are over and if Limbaugh’s futures rest with satellite radio, where advertiser indifference wouldn’t penalize him. The problem? His audience is so old. “With the aging and decline of Limbaugh’s audience, Sirius may not be as viable an option as it once was,” Darryl Parks tells Media Matters. A former talk radio host, programmer, and self-identified Republican, Parks writes about the industry at DarrylParksBlog.

Indeed, the conservative talk radio format has morphed into the Classic Rock of talk; super-serving the same aging demo for the last twenty-plus years.

“Everything needs to evolve, but stations, conservative talk hosts and programmers have decided to double down and focus on the aging Baby Boomers,” says Parks. “When a group is no longer appealing to advertisers, that spells the end of any radio format.”

The former Clear Channel network owns 850 radio stations across the country and the syndication rights to right-wing stars such as Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity.

During the late 1990s and early 2000s the company, feasting on the fruits of media deregulation, gorged itself with profits. (It also bullied the music business for years.)

Since then, not so much. And what a brutal ride it’s been for investors:

Clear Channel stock price, January 2000: $90.

Clear Channel stock value, April 2007: $39.

iHeartMedia stock price, July 2011: $8.30.

iHeartMedia stock price at close of yesterday: $1.15.

The company hasn’t reported a profit since 2007. Today, iHeartMedia is busy selling off assets in an effort to shore up its bottom line. “It’s a case of burning your sofa to heat up the house,” Philip Brendel, a credit analyst recently told Bloomberg. “It’s not necessarily a good idea but you’re running out of options.”…More Good News Here

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2016 in Faux News

 

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Couple Gets $2.2 Million Cell Phone Bill From Verizon

Sometime in the late 90’s, telecommunications providers went the way of the Mafia. They went from being honest purveyors of a product into being Scam Artists. Whatever the advertised price was bore no relationship to what you would be charged after they locked you into a contract. This was true not only for cell phone providers but cable TV an internet providers.

It would indeed be funny…If it wasn’t a standard business practice for much of the industry. And after the hit you with that $300-400-500 “surprise”, or that $60 a month contract that escalates to $120..00 in a few months with multiple dubious add-ons —  their collection methods would make a Mafia leg breaker blanch. They typically want $450 even to cancel the contract, They farm the bill out to multiple “Collection Agencies”, with little or no coordination, which frequently “forget” to inform the Credit Bureaus – and other collection agencies that you have indeed paid the bill.So it is not infrequent that folks are still getting “kneecapped” by the second and third nebulous “collection agency”, over a year after paying off the bill.

Cell phone bill tops $2 million: Verizon blames ‘programming error’

Your phone bill may seem high, but Ken Slusher’s bill must top them all.

When he checked his Verizon account balance last week, the Damascus man tells KPTV-TV the total topped $2.2 million. Slusher tells the TV station he’s received a series of erroneous bills since he and his girlfriend opened a Verizon account in November.

They initially expected a bill for $120 but were instead billed for $698, then received another bill for $9. He’s in the process of buying a house and is worried the bizarre bill may interfere with the deal.

They did their best to argue it down, got a second bill for $9, and canceled the service altogether in December. They returned the phones to a local Verizon store in January. But while customer service reps have said they agree there’s been a mistake, collection agencies have come calling. Slusher says his bank now won’t sign off on a mortgage he and his girlfriend need to buy their dream house for their kids. Verizon issued a statement Wednesday noting that a “programming error in an automated voice response system” caused the ridiculous figure, but said it was being resolved, reports the Oregonian

“We have apologized to an Oregon customer for a programming error in an automated voice response system that caused him to receive an incorrect message that he owed $2 million on his bill,” Verizon said in a written statement Wednesday. “We are correcting the error now and have resolved the issue to the customer’s satisfaction.”

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2015 in Domestic terrorism

 

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