About 200 publicly traded companies have received more than $750 million in combined loans from the small business coronavirus relief fund, The New York Times reports.
While companies like Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris have agreed to pay back tens of millions in aid they received from the program, hundreds of other companies have cashed in on the aid. The aid fund temporarily ran out, leaving thousands of small businesses out of luck, before Congress voted to add more than $300 billion to the program last week.
The Trump administration does not release information about who received the loans so the number may be far larger since company announcements are the only way to know who received the funds.
Companies that paid big fines cash in:
At least seven companies that recently paid large fines to the government pocketed about $45 million in loans from the fund, according to the Times.
The pharmaceutical manufacturer MiMedx Group received $10 million from the government just a few days after it agreed to pay $6.5 million to settle Justice Department allegations that it overbilled the VA for medical supplies.
An auto parts company received a $4.1 million loan even though it is under a Customs and Border Protection investigation for possibly selling counterfeit goods.
Companies that rewarded CEOs too:
Some companies received loans after paying out big bonuses to their executives.
AutoWeb received a $1.4 million loan after revealing that it paid its CEO about $1.7 million last year.
The New York investment firm Manning & Napier received $6.7 million after paying its CEO nearly $5 million in 2019.
Some other companies received loans even though they recently secured large credit lines from banks and private investors.
"It's outrageous," said Amanda Ballantyne, who heads the small business advocacy group Main Street Alliance. She added that there were countless small business owners "who have laid off all their staff, are trying to file for unemployment and will go bankrupt because of the problems with the way this Paycheck Protection Program was designed."