Nearly $3 million dollars in PPP funds went to companies owned by Governor Gavin Newsom, even as many small businesses did not receive funding and were forced to close.
According to ABC7, data from the Small Business Administration indicates that PlumpJack businesses, "a company Newsom started in 1992 which includes wineries, bars and restaurants, collectively received nearly $3 million in federal funding intended for small businesses."
Villa Encinal Partners LP received $918,720 in a loan that was approved on April 14, 11 days after the lending program launched. For many other businesses, it took months to get approved. That sum translates to each of the 14 employees at PlumpJack's Villa Encinal Partners LP receiving approximately $40,000 for a period of three months.
Newsom put his business holdings in a blind trust before he took office in January 2019. According to Fox40, PlumpJack Management Group LLC holdings include a ski resort, five restaurants and bars, four Napa Valley wineries, a sports retailer and more.
The business reported receiving $150,000 to $350,000 in loans in April and said it used the money to keep on 14 employees. PlumpJack spokesman Jeff Nead told Fox 40 that the money was for 358 employees spread across all the businesses. Like many businesses struggling through the pandemic the company used the loans "to protect our workers and keep them employed."
Villa Encinal Partners Limited Partnership received the most of all the companies affiliated with PlumpJack which totaled more than $900,000, according to San Francisco's KGO-TV. The company is connected to a PlumpJack winery in Napa.
"The Small Business Administration requires companies receiving PPP loans to spend 60 percent of it on payroll for loan forgiveness — but since the company says it has only 14 employees, each employee would be making around $160,000 a year if the loan was divided equally," KGO reported. Most 14-employee companies have received around $128,000 in loans.
Many California businesses, especially restaurants, are struggling to stay solvent as they were ordered closed under Newsom's new coronavirus restrictions. Hollywood film production was deemed "essential" by the governor.
The news comes as Newsom faces criticism over sending his children to private school while the majority of public schools in the state are closed and after dining at a the French Laundry Restaurant with a group including California medical officials indoors without masks while ordering Californians to stay home.
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