Los Angeles Lakers Return $ 4.6 Million Small Business Paycheck Protection Program Loan | Economy

The Los Angeles Lakers received – and then returned – more than $ 4 million in financial support from a federal program designed to facilitate lending to small businesses to help them stay afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic in Classes.

In one declaration issued to ESPN on Monday, the basketball team said they “qualified and received a paycheck protection loan” for about $ 4.6 million. The team clarified that “once we found out that the funds for the program had been exhausted, we repaid the loan so that financial support was directed to those who needed it most.”

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That the National Basketball Association’s second-largest franchise in terms of market value and the third-highest revenue stream – with annual operating income of $ 178 million, the highest in the league, according to Forbes – funds received intended for small businesses add to a growing perception on Capitol Hill that the paycheck protection program loan disbursement mechanisms are broken and that, more generally, the response of President Donald Trump’s administration to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic has been slow, insufficient and inequitable.

Big banks have been sued in recent days for allegedly prioritizing larger, more profitable customers in loan distribution. The Trump administration has been criticized for refusing to monitor the program further and for initially failing to release certain details of the loans to major financial institutions.

“Failure to ensure that funds will be distributed quickly and fairly to the small Main Street businesses that need help the most is a huge oversight that needs to be corrected immediately,” Frank Knapp Jr., Co-Chair of Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement Friday. “This money should not go to big companies with access to other forms of capital that can help them get through the crisis.”

With a somewhat vague federal definition of what qualifies as “small business” that would make a business eligible for aid, large restaurant chains such as Ruth’s Chris and Potbelly have been forced in recent days to return dozens of dollars. billion dollars in paycheck protection. The program loans, with many small establishments saying their applications had not been approved or finalized before the $ 350 billion in initial funding for the program expired in mid-April.

There are some stipulations, but most businesses that receive loans and invest funds to pay employee salaries could have some or all of their outstanding loan canceled through the Small Business Administration.

Lawmakers last week approved more than $ 300 billion in additional funding for the program, with Small Business Administration administrator Jovita Carranza on Monday. announce that over $ 2 billion in funding would be added to the program from loans that have been “turned down or repaid and will be available during the current application period.” This window for new applications opened on Monday morning.

But perceived flaws in the distribution of program loans have not been corrected. Lawmakers were praised by members of the small business community last week for opening up additional funds, but were warned that without the implementation of more specific guidelines, there is no reason to believe that this round of paycheck protection program funding will play out differently from the last one.

“Only real legislative and regulatory reform will solve this problem and ensure that the money goes to entrepreneurs who genuinely need their government to support them during this crisis,” Knapp said. “Failure to get money for the real owners of small businesses will have dire consequences for the country.”

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