Say What Now? Guy With 75 followers Tweets Trump Offering to Make Ventilators, Gets $69million

He made zero.

A man who tweeted an offer to make ventilators was given $69million to do so… but never did.

Yaron Oren-Pines was one of the thousands of people who replied to one of Donald Trump’s Tweets calling for the desperately needed medical equipment last month, and apparently it caught someone’s eye.

On March 27, the President tweeted: “General Motors MUST immediately open their stupidly abandoned Lordstown plant in Ohio, or some other plant, and START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!!!!!! FORD, GET GOING ON VENTILATORS, FAST!!!!!!”

@yopines, an account that had 75 followers, tweeted in reply: “We can supply ICU Ventilators, invasive and non-invasive. Have someone call me URGENT.”

According to Buzzfeed, someone did call him.

Three days later, New York state paid him $69.1million to deliver 1,450 ventilators, that’s $47,656 per unit, which is three times what a high-end model normally costs.

Oren-Pines is an electrical engineer based in Silicon Valley, with no discernible experience in medical supplies or government contracting.

New York received zero ventilators from him. A month later it terminated the contract, and is now trying to get its money back — although no-one can say how much it has regained, if anything.

A state official told Buzzfeed that Oren-Pines was directly recommended to them by the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Oren-Pines himself told the site: “neither me nor my company is providing any comment on this.”

New York, like most states, normally does not pay out on contracts before they are fulfilled; but Governor Andrew Cuomo temporarily suspended that safeguard last month via executive order, as the state scrambled to source medical equipment amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“We had no choice but to overturn every rock to find ventilators and other needed equipment,” senior Cuomo adviser Rich Azzopardi told the site.

A spokesperson for Vice-President Mike Pence, who chairs the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said it was “never informed of this contract and was not involved in it at all.”

[via TooFab]

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