Nearly five weeks after the launch of the federal Farmers to Families food program, Larissa Martinez, CEO of non-profit Circle of Arms
grew anxious about when she could expect deliveries from federal vendor CRE8AD8.
After all, lawmakers and critics have questioned
whether the San Antonio event-planning firm with no previous food-distribution experience was up to the task of delivering on its $39 million contract.
So, Martinez — whose group does mental health advocacy — reached out to CRE8AD8 owner Gregory Palomino on Facebook asking him to clarify on whether the nonprofit would be receiving a shipment of food boxes to share with clients. She’d emailed the company a week before, but hadn't received confirmation.
Palomino’s response? To go off on Martinez for having " an attitude."
“We control where and how the food gets distributed,” the event planner fired back on the social media platform. “Need more transparency? Your attitude is delaying the process for us to reach out and help. Who wants to work with someone who already assumes the worst and has an attitude when they want help?”
The post went on to chastise Martinez for not educating herself on the intricacies of the contract. It also blamed the media for “interfering with the contract and many of the vendors … that could help.”
Palomino offered no details to to support those claims. He was also unavailable for comment for this story.
“I was wary, kind of skeptical,” Martinez told the Current
. “I just needed to know whether or not they were going to be able to help my organization, so I could plan. I just wanted the transparency from him. … If they weren’t going to be able to help us, just say that.”
The online exchange comes as criticism mounts that CRE8AD8 was woefully underprepared
to deliver on its deal with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The small company is under contract to deliver 750,000 food boxes by a June 30 deadline.
Palomino hasn't just declined comment to the Current
, however. He was also unavailable for comment on recent Express-News investigative pieces about the company.
Perhaps that's because he says he plans to tell his side of the story on the silver screen.
“We’ve already promised the first interviews & movie rights to reputable & honest companies,” a Facebook post from CRE8AMEAL, the business directly overseeing Palomino's government contract.
A subsequent post read: “We are still delivering and feeding families as promised ... just not telling the media since they’ll twist it. They’d rather have people (and their voters) starve than support a good cause.”
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