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De Niro-backed restaurants took 14 coronavirus aid loans

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A luxury restaurant chain co-founded by actor Robert De Niro received as much as $27.7 million through 14 taxpayer-backed loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to Department of Treasury data released Monday.

The Nobu group of luxury sushi restaurants and hotels was founded by De Niro, celebrity chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa and film producer Meir Teper. The restaurants are located across the U.S., with locations in California, New York, Florida and Texas. 

The loans, which are reported in size ranges, total at least $11 million and as much as $27.7 million. The New York Business Development Corporation was listed on their filings as the bank that processed the loans. 

The $660 billion small-business loan program was included in the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill passed in March. The loans are forgivable if the businesses who receive them use the money to continue paying their employees. 

The Trump administration released data on the recipients of the PPP loans of at least $150,000 on Monday. The release of data comes as lawmakers are pushing to oversee the funds, which they worried were not being distributed efficiently and equitably. 

Lawmakers have worried about wealthier businesses using up funds in the PPP program after it was reported that large brands like Shake Shack and Potbelly were eligible while smaller businesses missed out. 

Other millionaire-owned businesses include Kanye West’s clothing company, Yeezy LLC, which received a loan worth between $2 million and $5 million from the PPP, according to the data released Monday.

Tags Kanye West ppp Robert De Niro

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