Puerto Rico cancels $133M post-hurricane housing contract

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico's Housing Department said today it will cancel a $133 million deal with a U.S. company hired to repair homes damaged by Hurricane Maria because a review board found the contract was improperly awarded.

The department's contractor review board published a ruling on Tuesday that New York-based Adjusters International received the contract, which was subsidized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, though it did not meet several requirements.

A company vice president, Daniel Craig, had been nominated by U.S. President Donald Trump to the No. 2 position at FEMA. Craig, an ex-FEMA official under former President George W. Bush, later withdrew from consideration.

Chad Kolton, a spokesman for Adjusters International, told The Associated Press that the company had no immediate comment.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico Housing Secretary Fernando Gil said in a statement his agency is evaluating other options to avoid interrupting home repairs more than five months after the Category 4 storm hit. He noted his agency had requested Puerto Rico justice officials submit the contract to the review board even though they are not legally required to do so.

"Ensuring transparency in contract awards is of paramount importance," Gil said. "Our focus continues to be to help all families that require our assistance and ensure the reconstruction of Puerto Rico."

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