WASHINGTON, DC – US Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) pledged to carefully review the massive list of recipients for suspicious allocations this week after the Trump administration released long-awaited data regarding the Paycheck Protection Program ( PPP).
“These data – long overdue – raise increasingly serious questions about a possible misallocation of PPP funds,” Blumenthal said in a July 6 statement.
“I will take a close look at the list and seek an investigation into any erroneous decision, favoritism or wrongdoing,” he added. “Small businesses that were in desperate need of financing just had less access than large businesses. I will be seeking more information from U.S. Treasury officials to answer the tough questions and ensure that all Connecticut businesses, especially the smaller ones, are treated fairly. We must learn from our mistakes.
The government on Monday identified around 650,000, mostly small businesses and nonprofits, which received taxpayer money through a federal program designed to mitigate job losses from the coronavirus, but which also benefited wealthy, well-connected businesses and some celebrity-owned businesses.
The Treasury Department’s Payroll Protection Program has approved applicants from a wide range of industries. Some that have been less directly affected by the pandemic, such as manufacturing and construction, received a greater proportion of loans than the hard-hit restaurant and hospitality industries.
Many law firms and private equity firms have also obtained loans.
The US Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Treasury Department, has announced that it is releasing detailed loan level data for each of the 4.9 million PPP loans that have been issued. A partial list has been published to date.
“The PPP brings much needed relief to millions of American small businesses, supporting more than 51 million jobs and over 80% of all small business employees, which are the engines of economic growth in our country,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “We are especially pleased that 27% of the program’s reach in low and moderate income communities, which is proportional to the percentage of the population in these areas. [sic].
The average loan amount is around $ 100,000, which shows that the program serves the smallest of businesses, ”he continued. “Today’s release of loan data strikes the appropriate balance between transparency for the American people, while protecting sensitive payroll and personal income information for small businesses, sole proprietors and independent contractors. “
Crown corporations on the list
Although most Connecticut companies have approved the PPP, including The Newtown Bee borrowed much less money, 50 in Connecticut – including large real estate, manufacturing and legal firms – asked for the maximum between $ 5 million and $ 10 million.
According to the SBA, the Connecticut law firms of Shipman & Goodwin, which represents the Newtown Board of Education and the school district, and Robinson + Cole, which is Newtown’s legal counsel, have received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program d ‘an amount between 5 and 10 million dollars.
The same goes for MES, Municipal Emergency Services Inc, a supplier of fire protection equipment based in Sandy Hook; The Kennedy Center in Trumbull, which serves and employs a number of Newtown residents; and manufacturers such as Ulbrich Stainless Steels & Special Metals, Danbury’s Fuelcell Energy, Inc and the Berlin Steel Construction Company, CTMirror reported.
The program has provided loans to approximately 60,000 Connecticut businesses, including the Connecticut News Project, publisher of the Connecticut mirror. The total loan amount to Connecticut businesses and nonprofits is around $ 5 billion to $ 9 billion.
The information released by the SBA on Monday was a compilation of data on loan applications that had been approved by local SBA-backed banks.
“However, the lender’s approval does not reflect a decision by the SBA that the borrower is eligible for a PPP loan or is entitled to a loan forgiveness,” the SBA said. “Because a borrower is listed in the data as having a PPP loan, it does not mean that the SBA has determined that the borrower has complied with the rules of the program or is eligible to receive a PPP loan and a discount. ready. “
And not all information released by the SBA may be completely up to date.
For example, Elm Hill Manor, an assisted living facility in Vernon, was among the businesses approved for a loan of $ 5-10 million. It did, but Elm Hill manager Lisa Cortese said her bank made a mistake: Elm Hill only asked for $ 50,000 and was ultimately approved for a PPP loan in the amount of much lower.
“We obviously redid the paperwork,” Cortese said. She also said her business was in dire need of federal help, especially when she was forced to fight over personal protective equipment for her staff.
“We did what we needed to do,” Cortese said.
Politicians, artists participated
Politician-owned businesses have also borrowed from the program, including a minor league baseball team owned by the family of the Governor of Ohio. A major franchisee of Wendy’s, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut restaurants, whose CEO is a major donor to President Donald Trump, has received loans totaling $ 15 million to $ 30 million.
Other recipients included Kanye West’s clothing and sneaker brand Yeezy, Ice Cube’s professional basketball league, Planned Parenthood clinics in more than two dozen states, the nonprofit arm of the group. anti-tax led by Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform, as well as Rosenblatt Securities, one of the biggest names on the New York Stock Exchange floor.
“The PPP is a clear success for small businesses, especially for communities where these employers are the main job creators,” said administrator Jovita Carranza. “In three months, this administration was able to act quickly to put funds in the hands of those who faced enormous obstacles as a result of the pandemic. Today’s data shows that small businesses of all types and industries have benefited from this unprecedented program. Jobs figures released last week reinforce that PPP is operating by keeping employees on the payroll and supporting millions of small businesses during that time. “
Economists generally attribute to the program helping to prevent the labor market collapse from being much worse. Employers created 7.5 million jobs in May and June, a solid increase which is likely due in part to P3s. The economy still has nearly 15 million fewer jobs than before the pandemic.
Research by the Federal Reserve found that companies with fewer than 50 workers before the pandemic saw their hires increase 12% in May, while jobs only increased 5% at large companies, suggesting that PPP has helped fuel rehires.
A survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses found that in mid-June, 14% of small businesses that borrowed from PPP expected to have to lay off some workers when their loans were exhausted.
The version includes loan-level data including company names, addresses, NAICS codes, zip codes, type of business, demographics, nonprofit information, lender name , jobs supported and loan amount ranging from $ 150,000 to $ 10 million. These categories represent almost 75% of approved loans.
For loans under $ 150,000, the SBA publishes all of the above information except for the names and addresses of the companies. The average loan amount for the entire program was $ 107,000, the Treasury Department said in a general summary of the program.
Loans can be canceled if businesses primarily use the money to continue paying workers. The program was originally scheduled to expire on June 30, but was extended last week to August 8, with $ 132 billion still available.
The data release also includes aggregate statistics regarding dollars loaned by state, loan amounts, major lenders, and sector breakdown. The loans have reached diverse communities proportionately, at all income levels and at all demographic levels.
In addition, the data provides information on the size of participating lenders and the participation of community development finance institutions, minority depositories, agricultural credit system institutions, fintechs and other non-bank institutions, and others. types of lenders.
It further contains data showing the reach of the program in underserved communities, rural communities, historically underutilized commercial areas and the participation of religious, grantmaking, civil, professional and other similar organizations.
AP sues for more details
The public may never know the identity of more than 80% of the nearly five million beneficiaries to date, as the administration has refused to disclose details of loans under $ 150,000. This secrecy sparked legal action by media outlets, including the Associated Press.
The Treasury Department has only released dollar ranges for loan amounts, rather than exact numbers.
Leading evangelical mega-churches, including several with pastors who have supported Trump, have also received loans after religious entities were allowed to ask for help even though they only performed denominational functions.
Among the Trump-linked churches that received PPP loans was First Baptist Dallas, the mega-church in Texas where White House senior pastor and ally Robert Jeffress hosted Vice President Mike Pence for a service before the 4th July. Jeffress Church said it has kept nearly 300 jobs thanks to its $ 2-5 million loan.
Some big Trump supporters have also taken advantage. Muy Brands Inc, a San Antonio, Texas-based franchisee with more than 750 Wendy’s, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut restaurants, received between $ 15 million and $ 30 million among three entities.
Muy Brands CEO James Bodenstedt is a major donor to the president. He has donated $ 300,000 to the Trump Victory PAC since the start of this year, according to federal campaign finance records.
Media companies, including Press day and American Media, former owner of National investigator, has obtained loans of up to $ 5 million.
The data can be found by CLICKING HERE
Ana Radelat and Kasturi Pnanjady’s CTMirror content, and Associated Press content are used in this report.