Sweeping data released by the Small Business Administration on recipients of pandemic relief programs raises questions about the fairness and distribution of small business loans, according to an early analysis by NBC News.
The analysis found that properties owned by the Trump Organization as well as Kushner Companies, owned by the family of Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior adviser to President Donald Trump, benefited from the program.
After months of litigation, the SBA on Tuesday night released the dataset on every small business that has received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Disaster Disaster (EIDL) loan.
The data reveals the most comprehensive accounting yet of the more than $700 billion in forgivable loans Congress and the Trump administration introduced in the spring for allowable spending, including payroll, rent, utilities utilities and mortgage interest payments.
Analysis from NBC News, one of 11 newsrooms that filed a lawsuit over the release of data, also shows:
More than 25 PPP loans worth more than $3.65 million have been issued to companies with addresses in the Trump and Kushner real estate properties, paying rent to those landlords. Fifteen of the properties reported maintaining only one job, no jobs, or reporting none.
Loans to Trump and Kushner properties included a $2,164,543 loan to Triomphe Restaurant Corp. at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York. The company said the money was not used to keep jobs. It then closed.
A company called LB City Inc, which is located at Kushner’s Bungalow Hotel in Long Branch, New Jersey, received a loan of $505,552.50 which it used to maintain 155 jobs.
Two tenants at 725 5th Avenue, Trump Tower, received more than $100,000 and kept only three jobs.
Four tenants at 666 5th Avenue, owned by Kushner, together received more than $204,000 and kept only six jobs.
There were also troubling signs of mismanagement revealed in the data. More than 100 loans were granted to businesses where no business name was listed, was listed as “no name available” or had potential data entry errors, such as names that appeared to be dates or numbers. telephone. More than 300 companies appear to have each obtained more than $10 million in loans through their subsidiaries. Companies weren’t supposed to receive more than $10 million per entity, except for those in the food, hospitality, or hospitality industries.
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The findings immediately raised concerns with government accountability groups.
“Many months and broken promises later, the court-ordered release of this crucial data while the Trump administration is one foot from the door is a disgraceful dereliction of duty and gross mismanagement of a program. that millions of workers and small businesses needed to get through this pandemic,” Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US, an accountability watchdog, said in a statement.
The original stated intention of PPP programs by officials was to help payrolls for small businesses struggling with the effects of coronavirus lockdown measures. The loans were intended to provide a bridge over the summer for what was hoped would be an improvement in the economic and health climate in the fall.
But almost from the start, the programs, especially PPPs, drew criticism for how they were administered and communicated, and how fair they were.
The large national banks initially granted loans only to customers with whom they had pre-existing lending relationships. Businesses owned by people of color without strong banking relationships found themselves with limited access and forced them to find other avenues of funding. There was also the lingering question of what defined a “small business”, after lobbying by the hospitality industry skyrocketed the maximum number of employees allowed to 500, even though more than 98% of American small businesses have less than 100 employees.
The administration has attempted to respond to complaints, such as setting aside one day only for small community banks to apply for loans. But even that overwhelmed the SBA’s computer systems. These controversies have all increased the pressure for transparency.
But unlike previous government bailouts, the agency previously released less detailed versions which it said for confidentiality reasons omitted the business names and addresses of borrowers who borrowed less than $150,000. And instead of specific loan amounts, loans were listed in ranges.
The SBA defended its handling of the program when it released its data Tuesday night.
“The SBA’s historically successful Covid relief loan programs have helped millions of small businesses and tens of millions of American workers when they needed it most,” an SBA spokesperson said. in a statement accompanying the release.
But as government accountability groups reviewed the data late at night and uploaded it to publicly searchable databases like SearchPPP.com, they lamented what has happened to so many small businesses, in part because of the poor management of the loan program.
“It’s only now – after its hand has been forced, hundreds of thousands of small businesses have gone bankrupt and millions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted – that this administration has drawn the curtains to expose wrongdoing. professionals that happen behind the scenes,” Herrig said. “Americans deserved an open and transparent small business relief program when this pandemic began, and any new small business relief program must learn from this one’s abject failures.”