FEMA Contractor Given $156 Million For 30 Million Meals In Wake Of Hurricane Maria Delivered Only 50,000

Although Hurricane Maria touched down in late September of 2017, Puerto Ricans are still devastated from a lack of proper aid and food assistance. FEMA appointed Atlanta entrepreneur and self-described "government contractor" Tiffany Brown to deliver thirty million meals to Puerto Rico by Oct. 23, 2017. They gave her $156 million for the job. And according to TKTK, out of the 18.5 million meals she was supposed to deliver to the island, her company had only distributed 50,000.

Brown, who has no experience with large-scale disaster relief and as the New York Times as reported, also has at least five cancelled government contracts in her past (four of which involve failure to deliver meals to the Federal Prison System), was appointed to send thirty million self-heating meals to the island, where at the time around 1 million people lacked running water and around 3 million people were without power.

As the owner and only employee of her company Tribute Contracting LLC, Brown hired a wedding caterer to freeze-dry wild mushrooms, rice, chicken and rice, and vegetable soup; as well as a nonprofit in Texas to ship food aid overseas.

And to add insult to injury, the food Tribute did send had also been packaged separately from its heating pouches, despite FEMA's requirements that the meals be self-heating. Carolyn Ward, the FEMA contracting officer who had handled Brown's agreement, which was reportedly one of its largest food contracts, called the un-met goal a "logistical nightmare."

FEMA terminated their contract with Tribute over the late delivery. On Dec. 22, Brown filed an appeal claiming that she was not dismissed over late delivery, but instead of her separate packaging of heaters and meals. Brown alleges that FEMA never said the meals and heaters needed to be packaged together. Brown has also claimed that her subcontractors are threatening to sue for breach of contract, and is seeking a settlement of at least $70 million.

The Daily Meal has reached out to FEMA and Tribute Contracting LLC for comment.

Luckily, Puerto Rico received a ton of help from chef José Andrés, who stayed on the island to feed more than 3 million meals to displaced Puerto Ricans. That's just one of the 18 reasons why José Andrés is the hero we need.