Puerto Rico Facing Steep Charges from FEMA Contractors

Puerto Rico Facing Steep Charges from FEMA Contractors


The Federal Emergency Management Agency will spend $1.2 billion to repair as many as 120,000 homes damaged by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, but more than 60 percent of that money will be claimed by “overhead, profit and steep markups,” according to a report in The New York Times Monday.

The Times says that high operating costs are not unusual when it comes to disaster relief, and the fact that Puerto Rico is an island only makes matters worse. But FEMA’s relief effort has been hampered by layers of middlemen and “extravagant markups” for basic materials, in which $50 doors get billed at $700, generators that cost contractors $800 have a final price tag of $3,700, and smoke detectors that were purchased on the island for $6.99 each are billed to FEMA at $82 apiece.

María Elena Villalobos, who worked as an inspector in the repair program, told the Times, “A lot of the money went down the drain.”

Read more at The New York Times.