“The documents show how a well-connected and controversial Chinese firm was able to get a leg up on a billion-dollar mask contract with California politicians,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
Judicial Watch obtained 848 pages of documents that show how the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services made the deal with BYD or Build Your Dreams, a Chinese manufacturer, according to a press release.
Newsom’s administration concluded the deal without the State Assembly’s authorization or oversight, Fox News reported.
Ryan Gronsky, an attorney with the Governor’s OES, told the Los Angeles Times last May that he could not disclose details about the contract.
“Publishing the agreement now – before performance under the contract is complete – would introduce substantial and unnecessary risk to the State’s ability to secure necessary supplies,” he said.
Democratic state Assemblyman Richard Bloom, who sits on the budget committee, called the administration’s deal “very murky.”
“It would surprise Americans to see how a major Chinese company can so easily access government officials,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton told Fox News. “I would think the California legislature would be interested in how this happened.”
The documents dismantle Gronsky’s excuse.
Emails show that lobbyists crafted the contract behind closed doors to secure their own profit and that the Governor’s OES ignored administrative procedures in arranging and granting the contract.
Judicial Watch found other suspicious details in the contract and lengthy email correspondence.
BYD did not offer any liability protection or warranty if the masks did not work as specified.
The terms of the contact said, “In no event shall Seller be liable for any consequential, special, incidental, indirect or punitive damages.”
BYD signed the contract under the name of Global Healthcare Product Solutions, LLC.;
Assistant Chief Counsel Jennifer Bollinger said in an email to John Zhuang, BYD’s counsel and lead negotiator, that she “understood this to be a contract directly with BYD North America.”
“BYD’s contract manufacturing division started Global Healthcare Product Solutions earlier this year to sell healthcare products in the US,” Zhuang said in response. “They picked the name because they wanted folks to recognize it as a business that sold healthcare products, not to be conflated with the [Electric Vehicle] / clean energy business.”
After approving the $1 billion contract in May, Newsom agreed to a second $316 million contract with BYD to produce 400 million masks. The first batch cost California’s taxpayers $3.30 per mask, but the price per mask for the second batch dropped to less than $1.
Federal law banned BYD from winning federal contracts because of “a history of supplying allegedly faulty products to the U.S., ties to the Chinese military and Communist Party, and possible links to forced labor,” Vice reported.
BYD spokesman Frank Girardot said the federal government banned contracts with BYD in an “effort by our competitors to keep us out of the market.”
“Quite frankly, they don’t make the same quality of product that we do,” he said.
Girardot said BYD has no connection to the CCP.