"While power outages were widespread, phone service disruption was not," Allred wrote to DHHR Purchasing Director Bryan Rosen on Sept. 10.
In the letter, Allred cited a Federal Communications Commission report that found few phone outages in West Virginia after the derecho.
"The statement that 'due to the interruption of phone networks, his ability to contact vendors was severely impaired' simply cannot be accurate," Allred concluded.
DHHR spokeswoman Allison Adler said Monday that Gonzalez followed the state's emergency contract rules because the state's "emergency communication system was compromised."
On Sept. 16, Gonzalez sent a letter to Allred in response to the auditor's questions about Premier's no-bid contracts.
Gonzalez told Allred that Premier's repairs -- realigning satellite dishes on the towers -- differed from building the 17 structures. Gonzalez said he believed that Premier installed the microwave dishes on the towers before the June 2012 storm, according to an excerpt from the letter released by DHHR on Monday.
"[Premier] was the only contractor familiar enough with and available to complete the troubleshooting and path alignment work in a timely manner," Gonzalez wrote in a letter to Allred.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's office released documents about Premier's emergency contracts last week in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from The Charleston Gazette. Allred declined to comment on his letters to DHHR about Gonzalez.
West Virginia adopted emergency purchasing rules in 2002, after former state schools Deputy Superintendent G.A. McClung awarded Oak Hill businessman Phillip "Pork Chop" Booth a $2.4 million no-bid contract to repair Southern West Virginia schools damaged by flooding. McClung was sentenced to six years in federal prison. Booth also was convicted in the scheme, but had a heart attack and died just two months before he was to be sentenced in federal court.
Last week, Allred's office released a 41-page report, finding that Gonzalez and Homeland Security Director Jimmy Gianato improperly authorized Premier Construction to build the 17 radio towers without a state contract. Police, firefighters and paramedics use the tower network.
At Gonzalez's request, Premier later dismantled a Fayette County fire tower and reassembled it at Cass Scenic Railroad Park, according to the audit. The Mountain State Railroad and Logging Historical Association spearheaded the fire tower's move. Gonzalez serves on the association's board of directors.
The audit also found that Gonzalez had a "professional relationship" with Premier's owners since 2006. He has repeatedly declined to comment on the report.
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.