Bronze Star LLC was founded in 2015 by two brothers. Its business line includes apparel and textile products. After Hurricane Maria damaged tens of thousands of homes in Puerto Rico, Bronze Star, a very young company with an unproven track record won more than $30 million in contracts from FEMA(Federal Emergency Management Agency) to provide emergency tarps and plastic sheeting for repairs.
However, Bronze Start never delivered those supplies. After contract award, FEMA spent the next month trying to get Bronze Star to deliver, without avail. Finally, it terminated the contract for default and has now begun the process of re-soliciting bids for the still, urgently needed tarps.
It is not clear how FEMA determined that the company was capable of fulfilling the contract. Bronze Star had never won a Government contract previously or had otherwise delivered tarps or plastic sheeting. In fact, the company's principle place of business is a single-family home in a Florida subdivision. A FEMA spokesperson said the Agency's review process was somewhat expedited in order to respond as quickly as possible to the emergency. Nine bids were received and Bronze Star's was determined to be the best value. However, a responsibility determination had not been made. No past performance data, no review of infrastructure, inventory, production, or financial capability.
Bronze Star, in its defense, stated that the manufacturer who initially promised to supply the materials, bailed on them and the company could not find another supplier. Blue Star claims that FEMA denied its request to import tarps and plastic from China.
Fortunately, FEMA had not paid any money to Bronze Star under the contract at the time of termination and has now awarded the contract to another company with 20 years of federal contracting experience and has produced such supplies multiple times.
Now, seven Senators are urging FEMA's Inspector General's Office to investigate how a "tiny Florida company won ore than $30 million in contracts.
If the Government needs tarps, they should come to the Pacific Northwest, we've got plenty of them.
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