The answer has little to do with President Trump and a great deal to do with the existing corruption by local officials in Puerto Rico.
By September 2018, despite billions of dollars in aid, Puerto Rico was still a mess. By August, FEMA had stopped paying for the nearly 2,500 displaced Puerto Ricans who had been living in hotels after Hurricane Maria had wrecked their homes. But the FEMA times were good at Casino Del Mar.
San Juan’s Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz had become a CNN celeb by wearing a, “Help Us We Are Dying” t-shirt. But no one was dying at the luxury resort in San Juan with its 15,000 square feet of gaming tables and its seven restaurants. Except maybe some especially unlucky gamblers. Its blue neon wave walls were shimmering, the machines were jingling and there were some high rollers at the tables.
One of those high rollers was a FEMA administrator.
Ahsha Nateef Tribble’s job had been to get Puerto Rico working again. That’s why Ahsha had been appointed FEMA’s Power Sector Chief and Infrastructure Chief for Recovery.
And she was certainly helping one part of Puerto Rico recover.
At Casino Del Mar, Donald Keith Ellison, the former president of Cobra Acquisitions, who has been indicted alongside Tribble, was seen in surveillance footage picking up $3,000 worth of casino chips. The indictment alleges that Tribble and Ellison were together at the gambling tables and the cash cage.