Boutique fashion lines and high-end hotels were among the hundreds of thousands of businesses receiving money from the Trump administration’s high-profile $660 billion pandemic aid program.
Among the recipients included on the list released by the Trump administration on Monday was Kanye West’s Yeezy apparel brand, which received as much as $5 million from the PPP, according to the SBA.
Yeezy, which is described as a “Black” business on the form, saved 106 jobs with the loan that was approved on April 13.
Gay dating app Grindr also received $1 million to $2 million in loans, according to the Treasury. The company, which was recently sold by Beijing’s Kunlun Tech to an investor group called San Vicente Acquisition, said that the funds helped it stave off 69 layoffs.
A list of local businesses that took millions in government bailout money, meanwhile, reads like a luxury handbook to living in New York City.
In addition to well-heeled cultural institutions like the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, high-end fashion brands like rag & bone and Alice + Olivia. Hipster temple SoHo House received as much as $4 million for its three locations in the Meatpacking District, Dumbo and East Village.
Trendy lunch spot Chop’t received at least $5 million and coffee chain Gregory’s received at least $2 million, while Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe got $1 million to $2 million.
Other recipients of PPP loans were expensive retailer ABC Home and Carpet, Alexander Wang and lingerie company Hanky Panky, which received $2 million to $5 million apiece.
And troubled Hamptonites were not ignored either. Both the Hampton Jitney and celebrity hotspot Gurney’s (where Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon has DJ’ed in the Montauk ocean air) both received between $2 million and $5 million.
Other big names in business made their way onto the list as well, including the high-powered Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, which received as much as $1 million to save 24 jobs.
The Burning Man festival received as much as $5 million from the government to save an unspecified number of jobs, while Bird scooters was listed as having received between $5 and $10 million to save 341 jobs.
The scooter company’s founder, however, took to Twitter to say that it never received any funds.
“Bird spoke with Citi early on, but decided not to apply for PPP b/c the money was more deserved by small and local businesses,” Travis VanderZanden wrote. “Citi will confirm this. Not sure how we made the PPP list, but we’re investigating.”
John Arensmeyer, CEO of the Small Business Majority, lauded the release of the data, but said that it was still “a far cry from an accurate picture of the program.”
“Serious questions remain about whether PPP funds were equitably distributed to minority-owned businesses, and there is an alarming rate of small-dollar loans,” he said.
“Moving forward, SBA must revise the information to include the amount requested by a borrower and the amount received, and publicly commit to reporting revised data on a rolling basis now, and through the forgiveness process,” he added.
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