Billionaire property developer Joe Farrell, a prominent Republican fundraiser, received up to $1 million in taxpayer coronavirus relief funds, according to federal data released Monday.
Other players in the world of celebrity and influence who took advantage of loans under the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, to help struggling small businesses hurt by coronavirus shutdowns included Kanye West’s $3 billion clothing and sneaker company, multimillionaire pop artist Jeff Koons and the Church of Scientology, which is reported to be worth at least $1 billion.
“PPP was sold to the American people as a program to help Mom-and-Pop shops keep their lights on during the pandemic,” Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US, a government watchdog group, said by email. “The reality is that the Trump administration created a program that helped the well connected cut to the front of the line to get these loans.”
Farrell, a developer in New York’s exclusive Hamptons beachfront community, has thrown fundraising parties for President Donald Trump. His loan went to retain 41 jobs, according to data released by the Small Business Administration, which guarantees the loans.
Farrell this year rented out his 17,000-square-foot, $40 million East End estate, Sandcastle, for close to $2 million to a wealthy Manhattan family trying to escape the coronavirus for six months.
To legally qualify for the taxpayer-funded relief, businesses must self-certify in good faith that “current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant,” according to the borrower application form. Applicants must also check a box that says the loan will be used to retain workers, maintain payroll and make mortgage interest, lease and utility payments.
The emergency payroll relief effort reached over 80 percent of all small-business employees and 27 percent of low- and moderate-income communities, according to the SBA. – READ MORE
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