CNBC - The Trump administration on Monday disclosed the names of many small businesses which received loans under a program intended to blunt the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic.
The disclosure comes amid demands from Democrats for more transparency around the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, funds established as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act, which President Donald Trump signed this spring.
[The full list is available on the Small Business Administration website, which you can access here.]
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sparked an outcry from Democrats when he originally implied that the Trump administration would not disclose the names of participants. The Treasury and SBA later reversed course, saying they would disclose names and other details about businesses that took PPP loans of $150,000 and above.
Those loans represent nearly three-fourths of total loan dollars approved, but a far smaller proportion of the number of actual loans. About 87% of the loans were for less than $150,000, according to the SBA.
Among the notable recipients are:
- The law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, whose chairman David Boies has represented powerful clients such as former Vice President Al Gore in the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case, received between $5 million and $10 million.
A law firm being unethical?
I. Am. Shocked!
- Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s family’s business, Foremost Maritime, got a loan valued at between $350,000 and $1 million. Chao is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Laugh out loud funny. No shame in Mitch McDonnell's game whatsoever.
- Perdue Inc., a trucking company co-founded by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, was approved for $150,000 to $350,000 in loan money. A spokesperson for the Agriculture Department said Perdue Inc., a trucking service, said the loan was for about $182,000 and supported 27 jobs. Perdue’s adult children are 99% stakeholders in a trust that indirectly owns the company, and the secretary did not have any influence on the SBA’s loan decisions or the company’s decision to apply for aid, the spokesperson said.
- Restaurant chains P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and Chop’t received aid of between $5 million and $10 million.
Apologies to Mark Davis, Tiger Woods, and Dan Katz' favorite P.F. Changs for the dig but for a company valued at 1.1 BILLION 8 years ago, this is a bad look.
- TGI Fridays, which is backed by private equity firm TriArtisan Capital Advisors, received at least $5 million. The private equity firm tried to take the restaurant chain public in a deal with a special purpose vehicle, but that was terminated in April amid market volatility due to the pandemic.
Wouldn't expect anything less from this place.
- The Archdiocese of New York got a loan valued at between $5 million and $10 million, while the Catholic Charities of the Archdioceses of San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New Orleans and Boston, among others, all received assistance valued at more than $2 million.
When things look most grim, at least we know we can always look to the Catholic Church to light the way.
(Btw, if they took bailouts, why was I getting bombarded with online donation basket emails the last 4 months on an every other day basis?)
- The Ayn Rand Institute, named for the objectivist writer cited as an influence on libertarian thought, was approved for $350,000 to $ 1 million.
- Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy in New Jersey, which is named after Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner’s grandfather, got a loan in the range of $1 million to $2 million. Jared Kushner’s parents’ family foundation supports the school, NBC News reported.
Much needed I'm sure.
Kind of an aside here but this reminds me of the famous Chicago Latin School, a private elementary school charging students $35,000 a year for tuition, applying for a PPP loan back in April. A school mind you, with an endowment of $59 Million.
- Niche movie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse received a loan of at least $5 million. Theaters have been closed while new film releases have been delayed or pushed to streaming platforms.
- Numerous news organizations received PPP loans: Forbes Media got at least $5 million; The Washington Times got at least $1 million; The Washingtonian got at least $350,000; The Daily Caller received at least $350,000 and The Daily Caller News Foundation got at least $150,000; The American Prospect received at least $150,000.
- Political organizations also received loans: The Ohio Democratic Party got at least $150,000 and the Florida Democratic Party Building Fund got at least $350,000, while the Women’s National Republican Club of New York got at least $350,000, the Black Republican Caucus in Florida got at least $150,000.
Wait what the fuck? For what?
The Washington Post - The data, which was released after weeks of pressure from media outlets and lawmakers, paints a picture of a haphazard first-come, first-served program that was not designed to evaluate the relative need of the recipients. While it buttressed a swath of industries and entities, including restaurants, medical offices, car dealerships, law firms and nonprofits, the agency did not filter out companies that have potential conflicts of interest among influential Washington figures.
Companies applying for the money were required to certify that the money was “necessary to support the ongoing operations,” while taking into account “their ability to access other sources of liquidity,” the SBA’s website states.
Treasury and SBA spokespeople declined to comment. Other administration officials declined to speak on the record about the data.
“We think we’ve done a reasonably good job of suggesting that those who were not going to be able to meet the certification should have returned money,” said one senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity in accordance with the administration’s rules for releasing the information.
In addition, at least seven members of Congress or their spouses received loans, including lawmakers who were directly involved in shaping regulations and also benefited from a blanket waiver of ethics concerns.
Among the loan recipients disclosed is KTAK Corp., a Tulsa-based operator of fast food franchises owned by Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.). Hern had advocated increasing the size of loans available to franchisees, including in a March letter to Senate leaders Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).
KTAK reported receiving between $1 million and $2 million to support 220 jobs. Hern spokeswoman Miranda Dabney said the letter was “a bipartisan idea meant to simplify the way loans were calculated,” and said the franchise rule that Hern advocated did not benefit KTAK because it employs fewer than 500 people.
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) benefited when three of his car dealerships, located outside of Pittsburgh, received a combined total of between $450,000 and $1.05 million to retain 97 jobs, according to the data.
Several plumbing businesses affiliated with Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), all based in Broken Arrow, Okla., each received between $350,000 and $1 million. A spokeswoman said Rep. Mullin is not involved in the day-to-day operation of his businesses.
There are a few things that got burned into my memory from back in my legal clerk/paralegal days. One of which is racking up as many billable hours as theoretically possible no matter what. Another is "conflicts of interest".
I'm no doctor of jurisprudence but I'm pretty sure that if our lawmakers have say over how the money and how much of it, our tax dollars in this and most cases, gets doled out, they should not also be the recipient of those funds. As that is a MAJOR conflict of interest. No?
At 40 Wall Street, an office building Trump owns in Lower Manhattan, 22 companies received loans, for a combined total of at least $16.6 million. The recipients included the pro-Israel group Hadassah, the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York and the engineering and consulting firm Atane, according to the data.
Triomphe Restaurant Corp, which operates the Jean-Georges restaurant at the Trump International Hotel on Central Park West, got between $2 million and $5 million. Sushi Nakazawa, a restaurant in the Trump D.C. hotel, received between $150,000 and $350,000 to support 22 jobs, according to the data.
Another politically connected loan recipient was New York law firm Kasowitz, Benson & Torres, headed by longtime Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz, which received between $5 million and $10 million in PPP funds to support about 400 employees.
Recipients of loans between $5 million and $10 million include several prominent restaurant owners: PF Chang’s, a chain of more than 200 U.S. restaurants acquired by Paulson & Co and TriArtisan Capital Advisors last year; Legal Sea Foods, a chain whose investors include Graycliff Partners; and Silver Diner, the chain of diners listed as part of the portfolio of Goode Partners.
Not falling into that "side of the aisle" political trap.
So wait, it gets better.
Questions remain however about how the program has affected jobs. The program’s rules require that borrowers show their lenders how many jobs they have retained to have their loans forgiven.
Among the loan recipients, 48,922 reported zero as the number of jobs they would retain with the money, and 40,506 applicants appeared to leave that section blank. It appeared that 10 other companies received between $5 million and $10 million but reported retaining only one job with the money they received.
Foreign firms were not barred from receiving money, and Korean Air received a loan of $5 million to $10 million, according to the data. The South Korean airline reported sales equivalent to $11 billion in 2019, and Jill Chung, a company spokeswoman, said it received the loan to aid its small American operation, which Chung said employs about 500 people and has been hard hit by the downturn in travel caused by the pandemic.
Numerous defense contractors and gun companies listed were among the recipients of loans totaling $2 million or more. The data also lists 43 Planned Parenthood locations that received a combined $60 million in loans, funds that prompted 127 Republican lawmakers to call for a federal investigation. The SBA sent letters to dozens of Planned Parenthood affiliates ordering them to give back the money, but the data released Monday does not indicate whether any of the loans were returned.
Our Federal government knows no equal when it comes to incompetence.
As I wrote in a blog back in April, that I decided not to publish, basically forecasting much of this - the government (much like Artie Piscano) could fuck up a cup of coffee.
(shoutout if you got that Artie Piscano reference)
What a long list of usual suspects.
Again, if you're interested in viewing them broken down by state it's available here.
David Portnoy, Barstool Sports, or Starfish Productions.
If that's not the action of a stand-up business owner with integrity than I don't know what is.
Here you have all these self-important, "titans of industry", who love to circle jerk each other over their net worths while enjoying Beluga caviar and Screaming Eagle at Forbes cover release parties. When they haven't been too busy sucking their own dicks, they've been taking advantage of the system the SBA intended and enacted to throw a life preserver to SMALL businesses.
And during all this, you've got Dave, who now, has an army of legal counsel at his disposal, along with a brilliant CEO and board, and could have easily finessed several SBA loopholes to get Uncle Sam to cover the hundreds of salaries the company has taken on the last few years.
Instead, he apparently put the money up personally.
Something Danny Meyer (Shake Shack), Betsy Devos (Amway, Secretary of Education), every Ivy League institution in America with massive endowments, and the mother fucking girl scouts all refused to do.
And to insult to injury, you have some people who have rode his and other's coattails most their lives criticizing him on an hourly basis about the rocket ship he created. How it should be flown, what course it should take, to what destination, and who should pilot it.
This is all while the non-Barstool world continues to rain hellfire down upon him and the company relentlessly at every opportunity they can get.
What planet am I on? It's fuckin wild.
The whole world is nuts.
p.s. - I need a Twisted History episode from Large and Vibbs on the French Revolution and the citizens rolling out the guillotines into the public plaza going to work on the French aristocracy.
Best idea of 2020. Please do.
p.p.s. - Here's the blog I wrote but didn't post back in April if you're a psycho and want to kill 2 hours.