• The Star Staff

Whitefish asks court to give administrative expense priority to payments owed by PREPA

By The Star Staff

Whitefish Energy Holdings (WEH) has asked the U.S. District Court to give administrative expense status to the payments the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) owes the Montana company.

The petition comes after the court approved giving administrative expense status to the payments that PREPA must pay the operator of its transmission and distribution system.

Whitefish told the court that in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, it was the first contractor to come to Puerto Rico to repair the energy system and that it performed its job.

The firm has not been paid for at least three years even though its contract was validated by the Office of the Commonwealth Comptroller. PREPA owes Whitefish some $130 million out of about $300 million, according to the petition.

The document says Whitefish should be entitled to administrative expense priority because its contract was executed after PREPA filed for bankruptcy, the services were performed post-petition and provided a benefit to PREPA.

“There is no doubt that WEH has a valid and enforceable priority administrative claim for the amount it is owed,” the document reads.

The contract was cancelled amid a scandal that alleged that HBC Investments, a private equity firm whose partner donated to President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign as well as to the National Republican Committee, helped the firm obtain the contract despite having little experience.