On Tuesday, the federal Small Business Administration released data on every single so-called small business that received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster (EIDL) loan amidst the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, and according to the data, the Trump and Kushner family businesses “profited from the program,” NBC reports, adding that the broader dataset “raises questions about the equitability and distribution of loans intended for small businesses.” Substantial loans went to firms based in Trump and Kushner properties, meaning that the rent payments that the government money supported went to the Trump and Kushner families.
According to NBC, “Over 25 PPP loans worth more than $3.65 million were given to businesses with addresses at Trump and Kushner real estate properties, paying rent to those owners.” Most of these firms — 15, to be exact — reported that they kept one or fewer jobs (or didn’t report their job retentions at all) in the wake of the financial assistance, although the loans were specifically intended to help keep people on the payroll. The Triomphe Restaurant Corp., located at New York City’s Trump Tower, received a $2,164,543 loan — and subsequently closed. A separate major loan seems a bit more successful — LB City Inc., located at a Kushner hotel in Long Beach, New Jersey, received $505,552.50 and kept 155 jobs, NBC reports.
Other loan efforts targeting firms at Trump and Kushner properties landed somewhere in the middle. “Two tenants at 725 5th Avenue, Trump Tower, received more than $100,000 and kept only three jobs,” NBC reports, adding: “Four tenants at the Kushner-owned 666 5th Avenue combined received more than $204,000, and retained only six jobs.” Where did the money go?
Besides these benefits for companies at Trump and Kushner properties, Kushner family-connected businesses have also received government financial assistance. Observer Holdings LLC, which Jared’s brother-in-law’s investment firm owns, received $800,407. Princeton Forrestal LLC, which Kushner’s relatives own 40 percent of, got $1.57 million. Hollwich Kushner Architecture, which Jared’s first cousin Marc helms, got $272,662. How many small businesses went under while these companies got benefits?
The PPP program was introduced with the express purpose of helping small businesses stay afloat during the economic chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has, at times, included many slowdowns and shutdowns across the economy. Issues plagued the program almost from the very beginning, when details emerged indicating that major companies had received government financial assistance while plenty of struggling small businesses went without help. The federal forgivable loan effort is one of many COVID-19 relief efforts that have languished amidst the failure to successfully enact another round of COVID-19 economic relief on Capitol Hill. The Democrat-led House passed the HEROES Act, a major relief package, months ago — and negotiations with Republicans have proceeded only in fits and starts.
Kyle Herrig, who serves as president of the government watchdog group Accountable.US, insisted that “Americans deserved an open, transparent small business aid program when this pandemic started, and any new small business relief program must take a lesson from the abject failures of this one.” Trump himself has pushed for new relief, but Trump’s tweets aren’t exactly a magically effective pathway to meaningful legislation, to say the least.