The French Laundry, a California upmarket restaurant where Governor Gavin Newsom was seen having dinner with friends and lobbyists one month before, received more than $ 2.4 million in taxpayer-funded loans through Paycheck Protection ProgramGovernment deposits appear.
The Michelin-starred restaurant in the Gulf region has received two loans, which were approved on April 30, according to the latest data From Small Business Administration (SBA). One loan of more than $ 2.24 million was used to keep 163 employees on the payroll. The second, with $ 194,657, was used to hold five employees.
The restaurant did not respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.
Congress created a $ 670 billion bailout fund with the passage of March’s CARE Act to stop the economic pain of Corona Virus Pandemic and help Small business Avoid mass layoffs. The federal government will forfeit the loans if at least 60% of the funds are set aside to maintain payroll.
The French Laundry – opened by celebrity chef Thomas Keeler in 1994 with the help of 60 investors – offers an exclusive outdoor dining experience that starts at $ 450 per person and features a white truffle and caviar dinner for $ 1,200 per person, according to the website. Reservation services.
The restaurant has also been the site of recent controversy after photos of Newsom, the Democratic governor of California, appear attending a birthday party and sitting at a 12-person round table in a sealed, three-sided, covered dining room. Newsom, who confirmed the event was outdoors, drew criticism for apparently violating its strict coronavirus ban rules.
to me ABC7 News, Which first published the story, the French laundry received 17 times more money than the regular Bay Area restaurant, sparking a backlash from other business owners.
“I’m pissed off, but what do I do about it?” Dennis Berkowitz, the former owner of San Mateo restaurant Vault 164, told ABC7. Berkowitz said he struggled to secure a $ 318,000 loan that would be used to retain about 50 employees. He said the loan was not enough to sustain his business and he was forced to sell the restaurant in July.
At first, the program was heavily criticized for giving aid to publicly traded companies that had other avenues for relief – even as small businesses weakened. The Small Business Administration and Treasury Department, who jointly managed the program, Flocked to fill the gaps This allowed millions of dollars in companies to tap into the fund, including a pledge to review any loan worth more than $ 2 million.
Over the course of nearly four months, the PPP distributed about $ 525 billion in cancellable loans to 5.2 million companies, creating an estimated 50 million jobs, according to SBA. The program closed to new applicants at the end of July, although there was still approximately $ 38 billion in the fund.
Lawmakers have been trying to negotiate another round of emergency aid for months, but to no avail. But congressional leaders appear close to clinching a $ 900 billion relief deal on Wednesday that includes additional PPP funding, as well as boosting unemployment benefits, funding for vaccine distribution, education, and healthcare.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican – Kentucky, said Wednesday: “We have made great progress in drafting a targeted relief package.”