ATLANTA — Congressional leaders have launched an investigation after an Atlanta contractor was granted a multi-million dollar contract to make 30 million meals for storm-ravaged Puerto Rico. Officials said she only delivered 50,000 meals.
On her website, Atlanta caterer Tiffany Brown calls herself a diva, a mogul and a clothing designer. It boasts she is "no stranger to putting forth a strong effort to create a success." But a recent contract awarded to the Atlanta woman by the Federal Emergency Management indicates anything but.
Channel 6's Atlanta sister-station, 11Alive, learned FEMA granted Brown's company Tribute Consulting LLC a nearly $156 million contract in October 2017 to deliver 30 millions meals to people desperate for food in wind-whipped Puerto Rico.
11Alive's Faith Abubey researched the one-woman company and found that Tribute Consulting LLC has an address listed at 1100 Peachtree Street NW. She found the company rents an office from another company that rents a floor in the building.
Abubey also researched one of the subcontractors Brown hired to help fill the orders, called Cooking With A Star. But a Google search for that company reveals the address is actually a P.O. box for a UPS store in East Point, Georgia.
11Alive reached out to Brown to try to get her side of the story, but knocks on her door went unanswered. FEMA ultimately terminated the Atlanta company's contract in November before the entire $156 million budget was spent, citing "The contract is being terminated due to late delivery of the approved heater meals."
"The total meals schedule in accordance with the contract at termination is 18.5 Million short of the schedule delivery," it concludes.
Browns neighbors are just as surprised as lawmakers that a one-woman company would be trusted with such a big government job.
"I wouldn't think that someone in a neighborhood like this would get a contract that would be that large," Randy Daly said. "I would think they'd do their background checks and find out."
11Alive did ask FEMA about what the agency did to vet Brown's company. They said they thorough researched Brown's company before giving her the contract, but 11Alive found out that it's not her first canceled contract with the government. She was also flagged by one government agency as "ineligible" for contracts.
So, why did FEMA go ahead and award her the contract anyway? FEMA said she was only flagged within that specific government agency that listed her as ineligible, so legally, they couldn't deny her a contract because of that. 11Alive also learned Tribute Consulting LLC has another contract with FEMA for hygiene kits, but that hasn't been activated, yet.