“The office of Zinke, chosen by President Donald Trump to run the Department of the Interior, told the Washington Post that the Secretary had nothing to do with the deal. The Post reports that Zinke’s son worked for a summer for Whitefish Energy as a flagger. The coincidence is being viewed as surprising in news reports.”
Whether or not Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was involved in securing the Puerto Rico infrastructure job to the tiny company of Whitefish from his hometown in Montana, it’s clear he had pushed a big job to them before. Whitefish Energy is run by Andy Techmanski. The Brazilian Company Comtrafo, in the persons of Rafael Minato and Irineu Minato, had bought a controlling interest in Whitefish. These three people are pictured above.
From this online work written by Richard Hanners, copyrighted June 15, 2017, comes the story: “From Superstar to Superfund, The history of a Northwest Montana aluminum smelter.” This is the story of a Montana Smelting company that eventually became a Superfund site and was subsequently targeted by Whitefish as a site for a new enterprise to hopefully be supported by local government.
“If the company gains the financial support from utilities, banks and investors, Techmanski plans to make a pitch to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development with an eye on millions of dollars in cash grants, tax credits and financing guarantees. He plans to pitch his business as a template for a program that could be used to attract other businesses to Montana.”
Ryan Zinke’s initial involvement with this site, quoting from Richard Hanners book:
The Environmental Protection Agency formally proposed placing the Columbia Falls aluminum plant on the Superfund’s National Priorities List in March 2015, kicking off a round of town hall meeting, letter writing and debate. Opponents to Superfund listing, including Rep. Ryan Zinke and the Flathead County Commissioners, were concerned that it was difficult to remove a site from the list, and having a Superfund site nearby could stigmatize a local community.
Ryan Zinke’s effort to push local government to work with Whitefish securing grants and tax breaks in their effort to acquire this site is quotable from two sources:
“TECHMANSKI AND the Minatos on Monday also met with Columbia Falls City Manager Susan Nicosia and Montana West Economic Development President Jerry Meerkatz; both will be essential to Techmanski succeeding in grant and loan programs.
“It went well,” Nicosia said. “Obviously it’s still a preliminary discussion.”
She said the aluminum plant is too far from the city to annex, but the property could be connected to city services. Nicosia also said the city would work with Montana’s congressional delegation, adding that U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke’s office has already reached out to her about the project.“
and from Richard Hanners Book, Chapter 62: