- The biggest beneficiary of COVID-19 bailout loans, Trump campaign donor Monty Bennett announced on Saturday that he would return all money received through the paycheck protection program.
- The 128-hotel conglomerate of Bennett has collectively received more than $ 58 million through the P3.
- The Ashford Group of Companies said in a statement to investors that it would reimburse all funds due to “recently amended Small Business Administration rules and inconsistent federal guidelines that expose companies to compliance risk”.
- The news came just hours after Democratic candidate Joe Biden detonated Bennett in a Tweeter, demanding that he return the money so the government can “give it to the small businesses that need it.”
- Business Insider announced last week that Bennett had made money after he had made a significant contribution to Trump’s re-election and spent $ 50,000 to hire two of Trump’s fundraisers to pressure the administration for money. bailout money.
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The hotel conglomerate led by a major campaign donor to President Donald Trump, Monty Bennett, announced on Saturday that it would return all the money it received through the paycheck protection program.
“The Ashford Group of Companies announced today that all of its companies, including Ashford Inc. (NYSE American: AINC), Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc. (NYSE: AHT) (” Ashford Trust “) and Braemar Hotels & Resorts Inc. (NYSE: BHR) (“Braemar”), will return all funds provided by the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) Paycheck Protection (“PPP”) program due to the recently amended rules of the ‘Agency and inconsistent federal guidelines that put companies at risk of non-compliance,’ said Bennett’s companies in a statement sent to investors by email.
Bennett’s decision came two hours after the Democratic candidate was nominated Joe Biden lambasted Bennett, tweeting“Monty Bennett should give back the tens of millions of dollars he received, and we should give it to the small businesses that need it. “
Bennett manages a conglomerate of 128 hotels, which have collectively received more than $ 58 million under the PPP. Business Insider announced on April 23 that it had made money after it had made a significant contribution to Trump’s re-election and spent $ 50,000 to hire two of the President’s fundraisers to pressure the administration to obtain funding. bailout money.
A Bennett spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment on Saturday evening. Bennett’s spokesman said two days ago that the company still decides to return the money. Spokesmen for the Department of the Treasury and the Small Business Administration did not immediately return requests for comment on Saturday.
A week ago, Bennett announced that he had no plans to return the money unless pressed by the SBA. The Treasury Department announced on April 23 that it would force publicly traded companies like Bennett to return PPP money following a massive public reaction, as it was revealed that some of the biggest beneficiaries were big chains like Shake Shack and Ruth Steak Chris Chrishouse.
The fund, originally designed to help small businesses overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, was quickly drained from Congress’ first injection of $ 349 billion. Congress held a series of emergency meetings until April to approve an additional $ 300 billion for the program.
Bennett pleaded until March when the COVID-19 epidemic rocked his hotel conglomerate, which includes upscale properties like Ritz-Carltons, and more modest rates like Courtyard Suites, spread across all the countries. He went on the air to say that he might not be able to make future debt payments on $ 4 billion in outstanding loans and was forced to lay off 90% of his hotel staff.
But it wasn’t until after hiring two prominent Trump campaign fundraisers, Jeff Miller and Roy Bailey, to put pressure on the Treasury Department, that the loans began to be made for him.
Bennett noted in a statement on Saturday evening that he had been invited to the White House with other hotel owners on March 17 – a week after hiring Miller and Bailey to lobby for him.
“The hospitality industry has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting national emergency,” said Bennet in a statement. “Hotel industry leaders met with the administration at the White House on March 17, 2020 to ask for help from our industry. We are disappointed that, with an abundance of caution to avoid any risk of non-compliance with the modified PPP rules, our These actions mean that our employees, suppliers, communities and other people in need will not benefit from PPP as Congress wished. severely weakened by the pandemic and subsequent government actions. “