California News

California Paid Chinese Electric Car Company $3.30 Per Mask Under Newsom’s Secret Deal

Los Angeles Times-


Advisors to Gov. Gavin Newsom agreed to pay Chinese electric car manufacturer BYD $3.30 for each mask the company made under a coronavirus response contract totaling almost $1 billion, according to an invoice obtained by The Times.

But the documents from the California State Treasurer’s Office, which was responsible for the release of the funds, raise new questions about the exact terms of the contract — because the price paid seems to include only N95 masks, those considered to provide the most protection, but not the cost of traditional surgical masks BYD has also sold to the state. Some 10 million of the surgical masks have already been shipped by BYD, the first ones arriving late last month, with many of them quickly distributed to counties.

The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services refused Monday to provide the contract, insisting in a letter to The Times that the document is exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act. Members of the Legislature have also been stymied in their attempts to see the contract, though Newsom administration officials promised they would provide access once the deliveries of masks are complete.

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