This just in: two FEMA officials – Ahsha Tribble and Jovana Patterson – along with former CEO of Cobra Acquisitions Donald Keith Ellison have been arrested on charges of defrauding the government and bribery!
The members of FEMA were in charge of getting power restored to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria but apparently used their positions to develop a relationship with Ellison and take advantage of the situation for their own profit!
Here’s the breaking news on this that hit Twitter:
Fox News has more details on the arrests:
Federal authorities announced Tuesday that two former officials from the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA), as well as the former president of the main relief contracting agency in Puerto Rico, have been arrested and indicted on charges of taking bribes during restoration efforts after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017.
Former president of Cobra Acquisitions LLC, Donald Ellison, whose company, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), was contracted to help restore electricity on the island, allegedly exchanged favors and bribes with FEMA's deputy regional director Ahsha Tribble in an attempt to bolster each other's benefits from recovery efforts, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Puerto Rico.
U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez alleges in the indictment that Ellison provided Tribble with personal helicopter use, hotel accommodations, airfare, personal security services and a credit card. In return, Tribble used her authority to pressure PREPA and FEMA officials to secure further contracts for recovery efforts for COBRA and accelerate payments to Ellison's company.
Cobra was awarded two contracts worth about $1.8 billion combined, according to court documents filed on Sept. 3.
In addition, prosecutors allege Ellison used his clout to hire Tribble's friend, Jovanda Patterson, at one of Cobra's affiliated companies. Patterson became FEMA's deputy chief of staff in Puerto Rico before she resigned in July 2018 to work for Cobra Energy LLC, according to the indictment. Cobra Acquisitions and Cobra Energy are subsidiaries of Oklahoma City-based Mammoth Energy Services Inc. Patterson is the third person charged in the indictment.
Prosecutors allege Patterson defrauded Cobra by telling them her salary with FEMA was far larger than it was, enabling her to secure a $160,000 a year salary at Cobra.
Reuters also said:
The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday announced corruption charges against a senior government official and a contractor who oversaw the rebuilding of Puerto Rico’s electrical grid after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017.
In a 15-count indictment, U.S. prosecutors allege that Ahsha Tribble, who oversaw the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s efforts to restore electrical power after the hurricane, accepted helicopter rides, hotel rooms and other bribes from Donald Ellison, who was then president of Cobra Acquisitions LLC, which was contracted to do the work.
In return, Tribble pressured FEMA and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) to steer work to Ellison’s firm, prosecutors said. PREPA said that Cobra was paid $1.1 billion of a contracted $1.9 billion. The contracts were canceled by the utility in March when it “became aware of possible irregularities,” PREPA said in a statement on Tuesday.
Tribble was not immediately reachable for comment.
Ellison, who left Cobra in June, denies wrongdoing and will plead not guilty, his attorney William Leone said in a telephone interview. “This indictment is filled with allegations of innocuous events that somehow the government has cobbled into a theory of bribery,” he said. “It’s not a crime to be friends with people you work with.”
Prosecutors also charged Jovanda Patterson, a former FEMA deputy chief of staff, who they say evaluated Cobra’s work even as she was trying to get a job with the company.
Patterson was not immediately reachable for comment.
All three defendants have been arrested, officials said.