A small defense company in Virginia called Panthera Worldwide LLC promised the Federal Government 10 million medical masks for a $55 million contract. They didn't deliver, and the Fed canceled their contract Tuesday, the Washington Post reports.
- Panthera had no history of creating medical equipment, but despite this they agreed to deliver the masks by May 1st.
- One of their executives, James V. Punelli , wrote an email on April 15th that stated that they "are patriots and take pride in our products for the U.S. government, especially during this real medical crisis." He also stated that the masks would be ready on time and "for certain, in full and with a very high-quality product."
- Punelli and his partner Raymond C. Jones did not answer the Posts request for comment after the contract was terminated.
- FEMA stated that Panthera asked for an extension until May 15th, but the agency denied the request.
- Panthera is also no longer allowed to do business in Virginia (where the company is located) due to nonpayment of licensing fees. Instead, they state they are licensed as an LLC in Delaware now.
- The business partners have had several lawsuits leveled against them for accepting contracts that they had “no authority” to represent.
- Though it's not uncommon for federal contractors to ask for extensions, “it’s extremely rare for contracts to be terminated for default.”
- The failure of Panthera to fulfill this contract may impact their eligibility for future federal bids.