Hilary S. Cairnie, a partner in the Government Contracts Practice Group of Pepper Hamilton, was quoted in the October 28, 2017 The Hill article, "Whitefish Puerto Rico Contract Stirs Controversy."
Hilary Cairnie, a government contracts attorney at Pepper Hamilton, said the Whitefish contract set off some red flags, but some of the unusual aspects might be explainable.
“It was a bit unorthodox in terms of how it came about,” he said of the no-bid contract. “But the FEMA disaster rules and contracting requirements afford that FEMA will recognize exceptions to competition rules.”
Cairnie said that’s highly unusual and likely not enforceable. Laws like the Inspector General Act give officials wide-ranging investigative authority, and the federal government wasn’t even a party to the deal.
“From a public sector perspective, that is supremely unorthodox,” he said. “While I can understand why a company like Whitefish would want to be able to be immune from audits, if the underlying contract was awarded consistent with FEMA rules and regulations, most assuredly, there would be multiple layers of audit requirements,” he said.