One of the first lessons my emergency management professor taught our class was the importance of making connections in the field. She explained that it is impossible for cities to be completely prepared for every disaster. So it’s best that emergency management specialists build rapport with administrators of other agencies in many different districts, so when shit hits the fan after a disaster you can get what you need. But one FEMA director seems to have taken this advice a little too far.
Via Fox 25…
Oklahoma City, Okla — Billions of U.S. dollars have been spent restoring power in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island two years ago in September.
Now the former CEO of an Oklahoma company is facing serious allegations of fraud and conspiracy over the recovery process.
Prosecutors said FEMA may have been getting kickbacks from the CEO.
Mammoth Energy Services is the parent company of Cobra acquisitions. Federal court documents accuse the former CEO of Cobra of giving gifts to a director of FEMA in order to get the job in Puerto Rico.
Airfare, ground transportation, helicopter flights, hotel rooms, meals, entertainment expenses and even personal security services are the ‘items of value’ allegedly promised to Ahsha Tribble.
She’s said to be a deputy regional administrator and sector lead for power and infrastructure for FEMA in Puerto Rico.
Ahsha Tribble, who acquired her PhD from OU, is accused of accepting bribes from the CEO of an Oklahoma energy company. Talk about making a “connection in the field!” There hasn’t been this big of a scandal among Oklahoma emergency managers since former Edmond City Manager assistant and UCO grad Michael D Brown led the botched response to Hurricane Katrina when he was FEMA Director in 2005. What did Cobra Acquisitions allegedly get out of the deal, anyway?
The documents allege, she took the bribes which were offered by former CEO of Cobra Acquisitions, Donald Keith Ellison. The alleged bribes were in exchange of favorable treatment which eventually lead to a contract for Cobra worth $1.8 billion to work in Puerto Rico.
Mammoth said they are, “aware of and has been cooperating with the government’s investigation into Ms. Tribble and Mr. Ellison and will continue to do so…
Documents filed in June accuse Ellison of defrauding the United States by trying to recover millions that had been seized from him by the government.
Ellison has not worked for Cobra since June.
According to Cobra’s website, the company is currently working on restoring the power grid in Puerto Rico that was damaged in Hurricane Maria in 2017. The feds allege that some of these contracts may have been awarded through Dr. Tribble when she was promised expensive “gifts” from Ellison, the CEO of Cobra. After all of the fumbled attempts by Oklahomans to manage any job working with FEMA, you’d think that the federal government would stop hiring us to mitigate disasters. Because come on. With how many Okies spend tornado warnings sitting in lawn chairs on their front porch, it’s safe to say we can’t even manage ourselves in an emergency.