America’s wealthiest took millions in PPP loans – and nearly all have been forgiven

Daily Mail

The companies of mega-rich celebrities, including billionaires Kanye West and Jay-Z, received millions in government PPP loans – and in virtually every case the A-listers have been let off the hook for paying back the full amount.

For the first time, can reveal the exact amounts that these wealthy companies got through the Payment Protection Program, which was set up for desperate businesses hit by the Covid pandemic.

In all but two of the cases we examined, the company was ‘forgiven’ despite the star owners being multi-millionaires. The status of the others is unknown.

The loan program cost US taxpayers $953billion, with the University of Texas estimating that 15 percent of PPP claims – around $76billion – were fraudulent.

It was claimed that after the first round of PPP loans, up to 90 percent of ethnic minority business owners were unsuccessful at getting the loan and were at the ‘end of a line’, according to an Associated Press survey, which showed a disproportionate amount of white people in rich areas being approved for a loan.

Yet celebs and their businesses had no problems.

Kanye West’s Yeezy LLC, based in La Palma, California, borrowed $2,363,585, with $1,772,689 being spent on payroll for 106 staff.

ProPublica, which has published the amount and status of every federal loan, states that Yeezy’s loan status is ‘not disclosed.’

Yeezy’s Adidas sneaker line’s profits increased during the pandemic from $1.3 billion in 2020 to $1.7 billion in 2021, a rise of 31 percent.

Kanye West himself has a net worth of about $2billion.

A subsidiary, Yeezy Schloss LLC, borrowed $15,625 for one employee and was forgiven all but $147.

A loan will be forgiven, including the one percent interest, through a complicated calculation based on the amount, how many employees were maintained during the coronavirus crisis and on what hours/wages were compared to pre-covid.

Kanye’s one-time sister-in-law Khloe Kardashian’s denim brand Good American LLC had a loan of $1,245,405 approved on April 14, 2020, mostly for the payroll of 57 workers.

The full amount, plus interest, was forgiven.

Khloe’s net worth is reportedly $60million.

The company is said to be worth $12.7 million and made $1million in sales on its first day of business in 2016.

Jay-Z is associated to two firms approved for a loan two years ago.

Malibu Entertainment is linked to his streaming platform Tidal and took $2,106,398 to secure 95 jobs and was let off of repaying the full amount.

His champagne brand Armand De Brignac Holdings – where he holds a 50 percent stake – borrowed $293,119 for payroll, which was fully disbursed. It is not stated if the loan was paid back.

Sean Combs’s cable network, Revolt Media and TV LLC, took $1,929,252 for 134 jobs, which was forgiven.

The two rappers are among the highest paid celebrities in the world, with Jay-Z worth $1.3billion, while Combs, aka Puff Daddy or Diddy, is just behind with a net worth of $900million.

NFL legend Tom Brady is set to become the game’s first ever billionaire when he eventually retires with part of his income coming from the wellbeing site TB12, based on the Tom Brady diet, which he co-founded with body coach Alex Guerrero.

The company, TB12 Inc, was given $960,855 to help secure 80 jobs. The full amount, plus interest of nearly $12,000, is fully forgiven.

Jeff Koons is America’s richest artist, but his firm Jeff Koons LLC still applied for $1,091,200 to keep 53 jobs, which was fully forgiven.

Reese Witherspoon’s clothing company, Draper James LLC, was given $975,472 in the first PPP round for payroll and rent, and had the loan wiped out.

Some rock bands succeeded in their firms being bailed out by government, as the music scene was forced to shutdown.

Pearl Jam Touring Inc had its $629,335 loan forgiven after saving 28 jobs.

Green Day Inc and Green Day Touring Inc succeeded with three loans between them, worth $452,302 for 39 jobs, with it all nearly being forgiven, less $66,000.

The movie industry was also badly hit by lockdowns. Legendary director’s firm Francis Ford Coppola Presents LLC was approved for a loan of $7,147,038, which covered the wages of 469 workers and didn’t have to be repaid.

Political figures also cashed in on the government program.

Jared Kushner’s family were granted three PPP loans for their various businesses.

The Kushner family’s newspaper publisher Observer Holdings, LLC was approved in the first round of loans on April 27, 2020. The company got a $800,407 loan used toward payroll, utilities, rent and saved 41 jobs.

The loan, including interest, was forgiven in full.

The Kushner family hotel business Princeton Forrestal, LLC was approved for a $1,569,977 loan also in April 2020. The funds went to payroll, saving 196 jobs. The loan, including interest, was cleared.

Esplanade Livingston, LLC, which owns the land housing Kushner’s family’s Westminster Hotel in New Jersey, was granted a $630,735 loan, which went to paying 56 employees. The entire loan was forgiven.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul Pelosi has a 8.1percent share in EDI Associates, a restaurant business which took out two PPP loans.

EDI Associates, based in San Rafael, was granted a $711,708 loan. The loan went to the salaries of 52 employees.

EDI Associates, this time based in Sonoma, California, applied for a loan in February 2021, and was granted $996,392.

In both cases, the loans, including interest, were forgiven.

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden signed a bill that will give the Justice Department more time to investigate and prosecute those who fraudulently collected PPP loans.

In March, Biden vowed, ‘We’re going after the criminals who stole billions in relief money meant for small businesses and millions of Americans.’

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