NBA’s Lakers got a PPP loan, but returned it

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The Los Angeles Lakers said Monday that they returned a $4.6 million loan from the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which is intended to offset the coronavirus pandemic’s economic impact on small businesses.

“The Lakers qualified for and received a loan under the Payroll Protection Program,” the team said in a statement to ESPN. “Once we found out the funds from the program had been depleted, we repaid the loan so that financial support would be directed to those most in need. The Lakers remain completely committed to supporting both our employees and our community.”

After the program’s initial funds ran dry in under two weeks, it came to light that various large and publicly traded companies had received loans under it, including Shake Shack, which received a $10 million loan and later returned it, saying it had found an alternate source of revenues.

Other companies have returned loans, including Sweetgreen and Ruth’s Chris Steak House, but three publicly traded hotel firms, Ashford Inc., Ashford Hospitality Trust and Braemar Hotels & Resorts, said they would not Sunday, adding “the PPP program was specifically designed to help companies like ours as part of the national objective of shoring up businesses and getting people back to work.”

Ahead of a new round of PPP funding, the Small Business Administration has issued guidance intended to discourage larger companies with access to liquidity from seeking loans under it.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), meanwhile, said in a weekend interview that a new panel established to oversee the response to the virus will investigate how publicly traded companies secured the loans in the first place.

“The legislative branch has a role to play in oversight,” Clyburn told The State. “I would hope that this committee will function with that in mind. … We are there to ensure the American people maintain confidence in their government. We need that now more than ever in my lifetime.”

Tags Ashford Inc. Braemar Hotels & Resorts Coronavirus coronavirus stimulus espn Shake Shack

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