Appearing in Twitter mentions of president, incredibly, ultimately Yaron Oren-Pines, electrical engineer based in Silicon Valley, paid for someone: he signed a $ 69.1 million contract with the State of New York after tweeting to Trump, “We can provide critical, invasive and non-invasive ventilators. Ask someone to call me URGENT. ”
Per BuzzFeed NewsOren-Pines has only a handful of Twitter followers and apparently has no experience in medical technology or in government contracts. However, New York, struck by a coronavirus, paid him $ 69.1 million on March 30 to supply 1,450 ventilators to state medical centers, or the exorbitant price of $ 47,756 per unit. (Congress is currently reviewing a federal contract at the much lower price of $ 15,000 per unit for pricing possible.) Oren-Pines has not delivered a single one, the contract has been terminated and the state is still trying to recover at least some of its money. News of contract appears to have been unearthed for the first time by the Times Union.
Oren-Pines was paid on March 30, three days after send reply to a Trump tweet demanding that General Motors produce more fans, according to BuzzFeed. A state official said on the site that “the guy was recommended to us by the White House coronavirus task force because they also did business with him,” although federal databases do not show none of these contracts and the White House, the vice president’s office. and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have all declined to comment on BuzzFeed.
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The deal was the largest New York Department of Health contract in a emergency order by Governor Andrew Cuomo breaking down bureaucratic barriers in the state government procurement pipeline. This included competitive tendering and the suspension of normal guarantees which would take place before the state actually transferred money, which appears to have had a detrimental effect as it distributed approximately $ 735 million in contracts for secure desperately needed medical supplies and equipment.
Of the 77 million dollar or more contracts the department signed between March 19 and April 27, according to BuzzFeed, the “overwhelming majority” was concluded with unrelated companies, including an iron ore distributor Chinese, a cosmetics company, proponents of private equity and Foreign Aid Fund managed by the State of Qatar. The Times-Union reported that as of April 20, 22 of the 25 suppliers who received the largest payments had never worked with the state government.
Cuomo adviser Rich Azzopardi told The Times Union that 25 state officials were involved in the purchase verification process and received references from the White House, the Chinese ambassador to the United States, and departments Chinese regional trade that had pre-existing trade relationships with New York. . He also said that about 10% of the offers had been effectively implemented.
Other fan agreements include a $ 116 million contract with a fan rental company in Brooklyn BuzzFeed wrote for 5,700 failed units, as well as a $ 32.3 million contract with a Tampa-based orthopedic supply company. However, nothing in History of Oren-Pines seems to indicate that he would be a go-to guy for ventilators or other medical equipment, with his CV on LinkedIn including unrelated working at Google and the magnetic computer memory company Crocus Technology. BuzzFeed wrote that he also co-founded Legasus Networks (which may now be inactive) and a mobile consulting company called InCommon that has no public record.
The only clues include a Twitter profile he’s used to tweet to president and mutual follow-up with Israeli entrepreneur Segev Binyamin, whom BuzzFeed found at around the same time tweeted to an Israeli government official: “I own a Chinese business and have the capacity to ship 1,400 machines. He declined to comment on BuzzFeed.
“We had no choice but to knock over each stone to find fans and other necessary equipment,” Azzopardi told BuzzFeed. “… States have been forced to fend for themselves to buy vital supplies to fight a global pandemic and with all the models showing a more serious spread of this virus with more hospitalizations and deaths. “
The New York general service office told BuzzFeed in a statement that “the bulk” of Oren-Pines’ payments have already been “returned to the state.”