Maryland’s governor is asking the attorney general to investigate a politically connected company that contracted to provide the state with millions of dollars’ worth of medical equipment that never arrived.
The state signed a $12.5 million deal April 1 with Blue Flame Medical LLC for 1.5 million N95 masks and 110 ventilators. The masks and ventilators were supposed to ship April 14, according to documents provided by the state.
The state paid half of the money up front, according to the documents.
The goods never arrived, and Maryland canceled the contract Friday.
“Unfortunately, despite numerous requests for information and order status, Blue Flame Medical has yet to deliver any items under this order, or provide any pertinent data as to a pending shipment,” wrote Danny Mays, the state’s director of procurement, in a letter sent to Blue Flame on Thursday.
Blue Flame Medical was founded just weeks ago by Mike Gula, a former Republican Party fundraiser and consultant whose resume shows no experience in the medical field.
A spokeswoman for Attorney General Brian Frosh confirmed receiving a referral about the contract. The office has a policy not to comment on pending or potential investigations.
Gov. Larry Hogan’s office referred questions to the Department of General Services.
Blue Flame officials said via text that they’ve had trouble getting supplies out of China and have kept Maryland officials apprised of the situation.
Gula started Blue Flame in late March with John Thomas, also a Republican consultant and former candidate, according to multiple news reports.
When asked how political consultants could successfully switch to selling healthcare supplies in the midst of a global pandemic, Thomas told Politico in March: “It’s just relationship-based. I can’t say anything else.”
The sudden rise in demand for masks, gowns, gloves, ventilators and testing supplies because of the coronavirus pandemic has left hospitals and states scrambling to find suppliers.