A Los Angeles Times report has put California Controller Betty Yee in the hot seat for her behind-the-scenes role assisting Blue Flame Medical LLC with a $600 million no-bid government contract to provide COVID-19 masks. According to the L.A. Times, Yee sought inroads for Blue Flame with the Newsom administration, suggesting language on how to ask the state for a large upfront payment of $457 million, and then worked to expedite the agreement. However, the deal was never completed due to the amount of the check and Blue Flame having opened its bank account the day before, which triggered a potential scam warning.
Nearly 150 text messages made public by the L.A. Times between Yee and Blue Flame’s John Thomas seem to show her involvement and desire to remain under the radar as well as no longer wanting to be contacted once the deal went south. According to records disclosed as part of an ongoing lawsuit, Blue Flame stood to make a $134 million profit from the deal. The situation has prompted some to call for a second legislative hearing into the failed deal.