Investment Firm Overseeing $2.8B in Assets Among Latest SBA PPP Grantees
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The latest Securities and Exchange Commission filings show 40-some additional publicly traded companies secured over $125 million in SBA Paycheck Protection Program funds meant for struggling small businesses on main street, including at least four with more than a thousand employees.
Big Corporations Getting Grants
A deeper dive reveals over $2.1 million alone went to Cohen and Company, Inc., an investment firm that boasts "$2.8 billion in assets under management." Real estate investment trust company Whitestone REIT secured $1.7 million in taxpayer assistance after paying its CEO $2.6 million last year, with cost-free access to "executive class automobiles" on top. Additionally, Esports entertainment companies Allied Esports and Super League Gaming collectively received nearly $2 million in PPP funds as their industry is 'thriving' during the health crisis.
These approvals come amid reports that “thousands of small-business owners who believed they were approved for emergency government-backed loans nearly three weeks ago have been left hanging after their lender struggled to deliver funds as expected”. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s claims that the program’s problems have been fixed have not come close to reality.
"The Trump administration dithers as millions of jobs disappear week after week. It remains hellbent on prioritizing aid for wealthy, well-connected companies before small businesses teetering on the brink of closure, said Jeremy Funk, spokesman for Accountable.US. "They should be working to save jobs by ensuring promised help gets to the small businesses that consider these loans 'make or break'. That's clearly not happening at an acceptable level, as evidenced by the catastrophic jobs report today."
These filings were compiled as part of an ongoing tracking project by government watchdog Accountable.US. TrumpBailouts.org documents the billion-dollar corporations and other large companies that have received taxpayer assistance under the CARES Act, and what advantages and assets they had going into the CODID-19 crisis that most small businesses could never access.
Controversial PPP Grantees
Previously controversial PPP grantees include a foreign-owned uranium mining corporation with ties to the Trump administration, at least two companies that market their ability to ship U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas, major luxury hotel chains, a fashion model agency, and even the L.A. Lakers.
BACKGROUND: The SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program has been plagued with reports of legitimate small businesses unable to access the help the President claimed would come in “record time”. They have faced a bureaucratic maze often ending in delays and rejection as banks reportedly prioritized those “with the best relationships — not the neediest or most deserving.” A recent survey of small businesses found only 13% of the 45% who applied for a PPP loan were ever approved. Meanwhile, CEOs of large companies have managed to coast through the process. Well over 300 publicly-traded firms or conflicted companies, some worth more than $100 million, have received over a billion dollars in taxpayer money. It’s no wonder the Trump administration has shied away from transparency in this process.
Accountable.US is a nonpartisan watchdog group that exposes corruption across all levels of government.