Fashionista and self-described “Diva” Tiffany Brown touts her company Tribute Contracting LLC’s status as a “minority owned government consulting firm” with “three FEMA Contracts” worth millions along with her “women’s clothing line” and beverage delivery app “Luxe Fuel” on her website.
According to a report in The New York Times, Brown was given a massive $156 million contract from FEMA in October to provide 30 million meals to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
She delivered only 50,000.
The mission for the Federal Emergency Management Agency was clear: Hurricane Maria had torn through Puerto Rico, and hungry people needed food. Thirty million meals needed to be delivered as soon as possible.
For this huge task, FEMA tapped Tiffany Brown, an Atlanta entrepreneur with no experience in large-scale disaster relief and at least five canceled government contracts in her past. FEMA awarded her $156 million for the job, and Ms. Brown, who is the sole owner and employee of her company, Tribute Contracting LLC, set out to find some help.
Ms. Brown, who is adept at navigating the federal contracting system, hired a wedding caterer in Atlanta with a staff of 11 to freeze-dry wild mushrooms and rice, chicken and rice, and vegetable soup. She found a nonprofit in Texas that had shipped food aid overseas and domestically, including to a Houston food bank after Hurricane Harvey.
By the time 18.5 million meals were due, Tribute had delivered only 50,000. And FEMA inspectors discovered a problem: The food had been packaged separately from the pouches used to heat them. FEMA’s solicitation required “self-heating meals.”
“Do not ship another meal. Your contract is terminated,” Carolyn Ward, the FEMA contracting officer who handled Tribute’s agreement, wrote to Ms. Brown in an email dated Oct. 19 that Ms. Brown provided to The New York Times. “This is a logistical nightmare.”
FEMA canceled her contract after she failed to deliver, so she filed a lawsuit against them demanding $70 million.
After Tribute’s failure to provide the meals became clear, FEMA formally terminated the contract for cause, citing Tribute’s late delivery of approved meals. Ms. Brown is disputing the termination. On Dec. 22, she filed an appeal, arguing that the real reason FEMA canceled her contract was because the meals were packed separately from the heating pouches, not because of their late delivery. Ms. Brown claims the agency did not specify that the meals and heaters had to be together.
She is seeking a settlement of at least $70 million. Her subcontractors, Cooking With A Star LLC, and Breedlove Foods Inc., have threatened to sue her for breach of contract, Ms. Brown said. Kendra Robinson, the caterer who runs Cooking With A Star, said she has about 75,000 meals her company prepared for FEMA sitting in an Atlanta warehouse.
The Times found such behavior was par for the course:
The government has also canceled Tribute contracts on at least five occasions.
Four cancellations involved the Federal Prison System, which found that Tribute failed to deliver meat, bakery, cereal and other food products to various correctional institutions. A fifth termination involved the Government Publishing Office, which terminated a contract for 3,000 tote bags after Tribute failed to print the Marine Corps logo on both sides of the bags.
An investigation by the office’s inspector general found that Tribute “altered and submitted a false shipping document and subcontracted the predominant production function on two contracts without proper authorization,” according to a 2015 report submitted to Congress.
The report did not name Tribute, but a Government Publishing Office spokesman confirmed that it was the Georgia company mentioned in the document. The office awarded Tribute 14 contracts totaling more than $80,000 from 2014-15, and the company “routinely delivered late,” the report said.
Her website is currently offline but here’s a screenshot of her “About” page:
Here’s her fashion website:
Here’s her touting her fashion line:
And here’s her runway show (she appears at the end):
It looks like she’s enjoying living the high life on taxpayers’ dime.
Courtesy of Information Liberation