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More Than $ 3.65 Million In Ppp Loans Granted To Companies With Links With The Trump Organization, Kushner Properties

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An analysis of data released by the Small Business Administration (SBA) shows that properties owned by the Trump Organization and Kushner Companies were given over $3.65 million worth in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans – raising questions about the fairness and distribution of loans intended to aid small businesses during the pandemic.

Following months of litigation, including lawsuits from 11 news organizations, the SBA released a dataset on Tuesday of every small business that received a PPP or Economic Injury Disaster (EIDL) loan.

An initial review of the data by NBC News found that a number of businesses with ties to President Donald Trump‘s family and the family of Jared Kushner – Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser – were major beneficiaries of the program.

PPP loans were originally meant to support small businesses and allow them access to funds that could help with payroll, rent, utilities and mortgage interest payments. Over $700 billion worth of the forgivable loans were approved by Congress and the Trump administration under the CARES Act, and rolled out in the Spring.

Furthermore, two tenants at Trump Tower received more than $100,000 and kept only three jobs.

Donald Trump boards an elevator at Trump Tower in New York City on January 16, 2017. According to data released by the SBA, properties owned by Trump’s family and the family of Jared Kushner were major beneficiaries from COVID relief loans.
DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty

These figures add to a slew of criticisms from government watchdogs and small business owners who feel the loans were not distributed in a fair and equitable way.

“Many months and broken promises later, the court-ordered release of this crucial data while the Trump administration is one foot out the door is a shameful dereliction of duty and flagrant mismanagement of a program that millions of workers and small businesses needed to get through this pandemic,” said Kyle Herrig, president of the government watchdog group, Accountable.US, according to NBC News.

In response, Christopher W Smith, General Counsel for Kushner Companies said that the notion that Kushner Properties improperly benefitted from the loans is “completely untrue and amounts to nothing more than politically motivated nonsense.”

“Exactly two Kushner Companies’ hotel operations affiliates received PPP loans. Every provision of the PPP program has been comprehensively abided with respect to each of the two loans – and every penny of the funds received from the program was utilized to fund employee payroll and benefits costs to maintain jobs imperiled by the COVID pandemic and associated lockdown measures,” Smith said in a statement given to Newsweek.

The SBA data also suggests that over half of the intended PPP funds went to just 5 percent of recipients, with larger businesses benefitting more than their small business counterparts.

Watchdogs have also warned that several billion dollars may have gone to fraudsters and ineligible businesses, while small businesses owned by people without strong banking relationships faced limited access to funds.

Accountability groups have since set up publicly searchable databases like SearchPPP.com so people can see how the loans were used themselves.

But the SBA defended its handling of the pandemic assistance on Tuesday.

“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 spokesman said in a statement.

Newsweek attempted to reach out to the Trump administration and Trump Organization for additional comment, but did not hear back in time for publication.

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