Submitted by Adam Andrzejewski, first published in Forbes
Yesterday, the Small Business Administration released data on which businesses received forgivable loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in amounts between $150,000 and $10 million.
So, who received how much taxpayer money through the program? Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com mapped the big loans – the nearly 83,000 loans between $1 million and $10 million. These businesses are located in 13,700 zip codes across the country.
Now, you can find out yourself, zip code by zip code, with an interactive tool we’ve built on our government transparency website.
This mapping tool allows users to quickly review every PPP transaction exceeding $1 million. Just click a pin (zip code) and scroll down to see the results that will appear in the chart beneath the map.
The overall subsidies are quite breathtaking.
Kanye West, who just declared for president and claims a net worth of $1.3 billion, took between $2 million and $5 million for his clothing and sneaker company, Yeezy LLC.
Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute received between $2 million and $5 million in lending. The non-profit’s latest IRS 990 lists $55.4 million in assets (FY2018).
Then, there is Francis Ford Coppola the legendary filmmaker of the Godfather and other movies.
Coppola is also a renowned wine maker and two of his affiliated companies received PPP funding including Francis Ford Coppola Presents LLC ($5 million to $10 million);and Niebaum Coppola Estate Winery, LP ($1 million - $2 million).
A spokesperson responded to our request for comment:
“Francis Ford Coppola Winery and Niebaum Coppola Estate Winery, LP applied for the PPP loans based on business necessity and are using the entirety of the loans on wages and benefits to save the employment of its wineries, hospitality, and restaurant workforce during these uncertain times.
We are family-owned wine businesses, and the PPP loans have enabled us to bring back over two hundred of our Direct to Consumer employees, even though we may not have work for all them for the foreseeable future.”
However, Coppola’s winery wasn’t alone as 601 wineries across America received at least $192 million in PPP lending.
Here is just a sample of our findings from the overall database:
- 43,815 restaurants across America received between $13.6 billion and $32.7 billion.
- 31,559 dentists and physician offices received between $9.9 billion to $24.3 billion. The world’s most famous cosmetic dentist – Dr. Bill (William) Dorfman – affectionately known as “America’s dentist” and featured dentist on ABC’s Extreme Makeover, and author of best-selling books – received up to $350,000.
- 14,306 law offices received between $5.3 and $12.8 billion including the prominent firm of Boies, Schiller and Flexner in Washington, D.C. who received $5 million to $10 million.
- 12,694 new car dealerships received between $7 billion and $16.7 billion including the Land Rover and Ferrari dealerships in Hinsdale, Illinois – each received between $350,000 to $1 million.
- 10,684 religious organizations received between $3 billion and $7.5 billion. Located in Notre Dame, Indiana, the Sisters of the Holy Cross received up to $5 million; Holy Cross College received up to $1 million; and the Corporation of St. Mary’s College Notre Dame received up to $10 million. (Colleges already received $12 billion in bailout money through the CARES Act.)
The large ranges (above) are the result of a transparency gap in the data.
The Trump administration did not release the known loan amounts. Instead, the amounts were disclosed within bands: $150,000 to $350,000; $350,000 to $1 million; $1 million to $2 million; $2 million to $5 million; and $5 million to $10 million.
Not surprisingly, many firms and non-profit organizations who signed up for a PPP loan will argue that the subsidies helped keep people employed when federal, state, and local government literally closed down the economy. And, in fact, these businesses employed 31.5 million people.
However, critics contend that many businesses legally gamed the system.
For example, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) – a conservative Washington, D.C. oversight group founded to help President Reagan cut pork – publishes the annual “Congressional Pig Book.” Yet, they took up to $350,000 despite listing $4.2 million in assets on their recent IRS 990 (FY2018).
CAGW responded to our request for comment saying, “... COVID-19 had a significant impact on our funding sources and threatened our ability to provide continued employment to our staff.”
“R” Street Institute, a self-described conservative and libertarian free market group based in Washington, D.C. and dedicated to limiting government, took between $1 million and $2 million.
In San Francisco, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation and they received between $1 million and $2 million even though they have assets of $40.3 million on their latest IRS 990.
Using the interactive map, citizens will find countless examples of businesses, churches, and non-profit organizations right in their own neighborhoods that received massive PPP subsidies.
As you search the federal PPP loan portfolio, keep in mind that taxpayers will pay for most of these “loans.” The loans are forgivable – treated as a grant – as long as the businesses retain their employees and don’t cut their paychecks.
What will you find in your own backyard? Whatever it is, let Washington know.
Note: Our watchdog organization at OpenTheBooks.com does not take government funding under any circumstances. Furthermore, we reached out to every entity mentioned and will update the piece if they respond.