Business owners, industry consultants say they’re disappointed on how relief funds have been allocated

Business owners and industry consultants say they’re surprised and disappointed to hear how relief funds have been allocated through a program created by Congress to help small businesses get through the coronavirus pandemic.

News 12 Staff

Apr 22, 2020, 1:22 AM

Updated 1,495 days ago

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Business owners and industry consultants say they’re surprised and disappointed to hear how relief funds have been allocated through a program created by Congress to help small businesses get through the coronavirus pandemic. 
Restaurant chains Shake Shack, Ruth's Hospitality Group and Potbelly's announced last week that they'd obtained loans worth a combined $40 million under the Paycheck Protection Program, a relief fund Congress created to help small businesses. 
While Shake Shack now plans to return its loan to give smaller restaurants a chance to receive government money, a question on many minds in New York City is why did establishments like these get these funds in the first place. 
"It was frustrating to see the independent guys get kind of stepped over on that .... I'm like wait a minute some of these people do like $300 million in sales a year I feel like that's not who should be getting it and it's the neighborhood guy who doesn't do that," said Eric Horowitz, owner of The Double Windsor Bar and Restaurant in Brooklyn. 
He says he applied for the program as soon as he could, but unfortunately didn't receive a penny. 
"There isn't a restaurant that I know of in the area that got money that's not to say nobody got money but I find the whole PPP loan program just a joke it really is not for a business my size not for the average small business owner,” said Horowitz. 
An Associated Press investigation found that at least 75 companies that received money from this relief fund are publicly traded and have market values well over $100 million. 
In a statement, a spokesperson with the Small Business Administration tells News 12  in part, "Most of the loans, 74%, were for less than $150,000 and that demonstrated the accessibility of this program to even the smallest of small businesses." 
However, on Tuesday, President Donald Trump and the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury admitted funding was allocated to large public companies, saying that was not the government's intent. 
They say if these large businesses, like Harvard, pay the loans back right away, they won't be held liable and that more funding is on its way. 
As for Horowitz, he tells News 12 he won't hold his breath. 
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