Major Trump donor returns $ 70 million to help boost coronavirus for luxury hotels

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A network of luxury hotels and resorts owned by a major contributor to President Donald Trump and the Republican Party is returning some $ 70 million in stimulus money to taxpayers after an outcry.

The Texas conservative network, Monty Bennett, was one of the biggest recipients of funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, touted by lawmakers as helping small businesses in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.

Bennett contributed $ 150,000 to Trump’s re-election campaign, according to the New York Times, and he spent $ 50,000 to hire two of Trump’s fundraisers to pressure the administration for bailout funds, a reported Business Insider.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) On Friday called on the Small Business Administration, which manages the paycheck protection program, to review how Bennett’s operations were funded.

Bennett said on Friday that he has no plans to return the money unless the government tells him to. But a day later, a defensive statement from Ashford Inc., the Ashford Hospitality Trust and Braemer Hotels & Resorts (Bennett is president of the three) noted that the money was returned due to changed rules “almost all every day, “and” Inconsistent federal directives that put businesses at risk of compliance. “

The statement said the companies have done nothing wrong. She argued that the law was intended to accommodate groups of hotels by allowing them to apply property for property. The statement also noted that Ashford had asked for the money “in good faith” and that he had “no intention of crowding out” other fund companies.

The paycheck protection program, part of the $ 2.2 trillion CARES law to support the economy in the midst of the pandemic, has sparked growing controversy as funds have been raised by large corporations , leaving less for struggling small businesses.

Nearly 300 publicly traded companies raised $ 1 billion in funds before the end of the first round of PPP payments in just two weeks. A second round of payments has just ended, but Trump officials have yet to reveal the recipients.

The Trump administration has asked companies that don’t need the money to return it. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said last week that big business should apologize for taking taxpayer help for small business.

Some publicly traded companies – including Shake Shack and AutoNation – have agreed to return the money.

Loans under the program are forgivable, which essentially turns them into taxpayer grants, if the money goes to certain expenses, including wages and rent.



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