“Outrageous” for large companies like LA Lakers to take out small business loans

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday he was surprised that the Los Angeles Lakers – one of the best-known and most successful basketball franchises – had taken out a loan to help small businesses to overcome the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m not a big fan of the fact that they took $ 4.6 million,” Mnuchin told CNBC “Squawk Box”. “I think it’s outrageous. “

Mnuchin added that he “never thought in a million years that the Los Angeles Lakers” would accept such a loan. He also said he was happy that the team returned the money, “otherwise they would have been held accountable.”

The Lakers were the National Basketball Association’s second most valuable team in 2020, with a valuation of $ 4.4 billion, according to Forbes.

But the team led by LeBron James is not the only major brand to have taken out a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program, which was adopted last month to help small businesses.

Ruth’s Hospitality Group, owner of Ruth’s Chris Steak House, has taken out a $ 20 million PPP loan. AutoNation has taken out a $ 77 million loan. The two companies said they would return the money.

Overall, more than 200 publicly traded companies have applied for Paycheque Protection Program loans. Mnuchin said it was “unfortunate” and “inappropriate” for some large companies to take out these loans, but that he was “encouraged by the number of people who paid them back.”

He said companies getting more than $ 2 million in P3 loans would get a full audit to make sure they are valid.

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