by Wade Rathke
Tuesday, July 7
New Orleans The Paycheck Protection Program, known as PPP, was a major part of the Congressionally approved stimulus program as part of the CARES Act. After the Treasury Department and the Trump administration played button-button for a bit, both refusing to reveal recipients, and then having to walk back those claims, they finally have revealed a partial list of beneficiaries. 85% of the money went to firms receiving less than $150,000, but more than 5000 firms received more between $5 and $10 million. The information disclosed only covers the larger allotments.
There are of course anomalies. If you applied in South or North Dakota, your chances of getting a PPP forgivable loan were 90%. Not bad, especially given the low incidence of the virus in those states. If you were one of the bigtime, 100 law firms that were well-connected, like David Boies and some of Trump’s old lawyers, cha-ching. The Trump organization didn’t apply, but a lot of their tenants did. So, it goes.
Looking at the state data gives a more granular view and some surprising information.
The first thing that jumps out is the fact that some businesses on almost every page of the data claim that receiving the PPP loan will allow them to save exactly zero jobs. That’s a head scratcher. The whole point of the program is that it saves jobs, and is only a forgivable loan because it provides more than half of the money to support payrolls.
Both of the two big garbage contractors in New Orleans, Richards and Metro, received between one and two million dollars. Metro said it would save 144 jobs and Richards 130 jobs. That’s interesting to us. Local 100 represents hoppers that are subcontracted to Richards. We know that neither company employs that many drivers, so we are left to wonder if they are claiming that they are also protecting the jobs of the subcontractors, despite the fact that those are separate companies, and each company swears it is not a co-employer. Garbage doesn’t take a holiday, so neither of these outfits ever shutdown, since they and their workers were essential services, so likely the PPP was simply a way for them to transfer payroll costs during the pandemic to the federal government. This may explain why we were able to negotiate hazardous duty supplemental pay for our hoppers employed by Creative Visions, a captive subcontractor also owned by Richards. It raises questions why non-union hoppers with Metro have not done better despite the PPP monies.
Charter schools and Catholic parochial schools got big grants, but not public schools. A daiquiri shop got money, but had no employees. You figure.
State by state these lists are going to raise similar questions and controversies. We can hardly wait to research this more closely! You should do so as well!
Wade Rathke is founder and chief organizer of ACORN and ACORN International. You can find Wade’s recent past posts here Chief Organizer Reports. And you can link to his website here Chief Organizer ACORN/ACORN International
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