WASHINGTON, D.C. – Despite Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin’s protestations that the Trump SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program has been fixed, today’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings reveal that at least twelve more publicly traded companies took in nearly $16 million in PPP funds. Nine million dollars alone went to major restaurateur Ark Restaurants Corp., which paid its executives over $2.2 million in compensation in 2019 and reports having over 2,145 employees. Among the beneficiaries:
The data was compiled as part of an ongoing tracking project by government watchdog Accountable.US Action. 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.
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Problems With SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program
“Ever since the paycheck protection program started, the process has been mired in problem after problem,” said Derek Martin, spokesman for Accountable.US Action. “It’s been over a month since the CARES Act passed and large companies are still finding ways to exploit precious public resources. The President needs to ensure this crucial financial lifeline goes to the main street small businesses that power America, not large companies with supersized bottom lines.”
Previously controversial PPP grantees include a foreign-owned uranium mining corporation with ties to the Trump administration, a company that markets its ability to ship U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas, at least two other 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 Action is a nonpartisan watchdog group that exposes corruption across all levels of government.