A more than 100-year-old junkyard owned by the President of the Minnesota Senate was among hundreds of thousands of companies nationwide to benefit from the Treasury Department’s wage protection program.
Miller Scrap, co-owned by GOP State Senator Jeremy Miller of Winona, secured a $ 200,000 loan that helped the company weather the worst of the pandemic without laying off a single employee or cutting benefits, a said Miller, the company’s chief financial officer.
The government on Monday identified some 650,000 businesses, mostly small businesses and nonprofits, that requested taxpayer money under a program designed to mitigate job losses from the coronavirus.
An Associated Press audit of companies owned by key lawmakers or other figures found a range of notable candidates. Granite Falls Energy, an ethanol maker in which South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has registered an interest, says in Treasury data it receives between $ 350,000 and $ 1 million.
An email to Granite Falls Energy went unanswered. A spokesperson for Noem did not immediately respond to a question about his stake in the company.
SportsHub Games Network, a fantasy sports entertainment company whose owners include Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, is listed in Treasury data as receiving between $ 350,000 and $ 1 million. A SportsHub executive did not respond to a message seeking comment.
Two companies linked to Minnesota House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler have been listed in Treasury data as receiving loans. JobDig, a job search website that employs Winkler, has been listed as having secured a loan of $ 350,000. Biothera, a private biotech company where Winkler once worked and still holds what he called a small number of shares, has been listed as receiving between $ 350,000 and $ 1 million.
Neither company immediately resent messages left on Monday evening. Winkler said he was not aware of either loan until contacted by The Associated Press.
Miller, the president of the Senate, said the loan program came at a time when his company’s business had plunged by more than 60%.
“Having access to the PPP loan has allowed us to weather the storm and keep all of our employees working,” Miller said. “Fortunately, the economy seems to be gaining momentum, which is very encouraging. We hope the worst is behind us.”
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