Companies affiliated with major GOP donor Monty Bennett have been the beneficiaries of tens of millions of dollars in federal loans, despite the fact that they've laid off the vast majority of their employees.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Bennett's Ashford Inc. and its subsidiaries have been raking in cash from the Paycheck Protection Program, which was designed to give cheap loans to small businesses so that they could keep workers on their payrolls.
"The company’s subsidiaries have received about $30 million from 42 loans and expect to receive more, according to an April 21 public filing," WSJ reports. "That amount is the largest of the more than 100 public company disclosures related to these loans reviewed by The Wall Street Journal."
This infusion of cash comes after Bennett said that "Ashford Inc. and its subsidiaries have laid off or furloughed 95 percent of their 7,000 employees" after their revenues got hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Journal also explains how Ashford has gamed the system to get money that surpasses the limits set up by Congress.
"The program has a $10 million limit, but borrowers that spread requests over multiple subsidiaries can exceed that limit as long as each subsidiary operates as a separate legal entity and doesn’t have more than 500 employees," the paper reports.
Bennett defended his companies' pursuit of the bailout money and told WSJ that "75 percent or more of the proceeds will be used to bring our employees back to work with the balance to be used to pay utilities, rent, and debt service to lenders."