By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org
Donald Trump’s unfinished dream to build a “big, beautiful wall” along the U.S. border with Mexico has proven to be a multi-million bonanza for AshBritt Inc., the politically-connected Deerfield Beach disaster contractor.
You’ll recall that AshBritt’s founder and chairman, Randal Perkins, paid a $125,000 penalty last year to settle federal charges that AshBritt made an illegal $500,000 contribution to a pro-Trump super PAC.
Arizona’s Republican then-Gov. Doug Ducey hired AshBritt last July to “implement the state’s border enhancement measure utilizing a combination of 40-foot containers and 20-foot shipping containers, and industrial grade fencing along specific segments of the Arizona-Mexico border.”
The goal: to stem “the influx of migrants illegally crossing the border.”
With that sweet no-bid “emergency” contract in hand, AshBritt began installing the double-stacked wall of multi-ton cargo containers in August. But Gov. Ducey apparently didn’t put much thought into the legality of installing those containers across miles of federal lands, specifically the Coronado National Forest.
On Dec. 14, the U.S. sued the term-limited Ducey and other top Arizona officials, alleging the state was “trespassing” on federal land and was refusing to halt its damaging trespass and remove the container barriers. The U.S. asked a judge to issue an injunction, plus damages.
ASHBRITT WINS 2ND NO-BID ARIZONA CONTRACT
Ducey caved quickly. Seven days later, he formally agreed to stop installing shipping containers along the international border and remove them all by Jan. 4 “to the extent feasible.”
Who got the contract to tear down the barriers? AshBritt. No-bid again, the Arizona Republic reported this week.
The newspaper quoted Arizona Department of Administration spokesperson Megan Rose as saying AshBritt got the removal contract because their solution was the “most expeditious due to the emergency nature of the work.”
The total takedown cost of the barriers will be about $133.2 million. The cost to install the containers was $95 million, the Republic reported.
Arizona began removing the 1,440 containers called for in the contract on Jan. 4. The removal is ongoing.
DESANTIS AND ASHBRITT
Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, is Arizona’s new governor. Her office did not respond to a Florida Bulldog request for comment.
Ducey, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis all snagged headlines last year by leading the controversial push to get rid of some illegal immigrants in their states by busing them north, often without any advance notice to the jurisdictions where they were sent.
The confluence of conservative agendas has led some to see more than coincidence in Arizona’s decision to award, without bidding, millions of dollars in business to AshBritt, a company with significant ties to DeSantis.
“What a coincidence, our AZ -ex-gov. wastes $162 million of taxpayer money on some asinine political ploy by having a pro-Trump company from DeSantis Florida place shipping containers on our border. What a bunch of money hungry hypocrites,” said Florida Bulldog reader R.A. Herrera.
AshBritt was a major donor to the Republican Governors Association, which was – by far – the top donor to DeSantis’s political committee last year, giving $17.35 million. AshBritt contributed $120,000, according to the Internal Revenue Service.