Billionaires, country clubs, private jet companies and Kanye West all received millions in government funding under the Paycheck Protection Program, according to the Small Business Administration.
The PPP loans and grants were part of the $2 trillion CARES Act, which President Donald Trump signed into law this spring. The loans were designed to help small businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic to retain or rehire employees. Yet according to a list of individuals and companies that received loans or grants of more than $150,000, recipients included large companies and billionaires that had access to other sources of capital and have recovered quickly from the pandemic.
Soho House, the exclusive membership club controlled by billionaire Ron Burkle, received loans totaling between $9 million and $23 million by applying for seven loans through its New York, Miami Beach, Chicago and West Hollywood locations. Last month, Soho House raised $100 million from private investors, including Burkle, that gave the company a valuation of $2 billion — equal to its prepandemic valuation.
Billionaire developer Joe Farrell, famed for building and renting megamansions in the Hamptons, received a PPP loan of up to $1 million. Farrell made headlines in May when he rented a megahome called “The Sandcastle” for nearly $2 million for the summer.
The Greenbrier Hotel, which operates the famed luxury resort in West Virginia and is owned by West Virginia governor and billionaire Jim Justice, received between $5 million and $10 million. The Greenbrier Sporting Club, part of the residential development next to the hotel, also received between $1 million and $2 million.
Gores Vitac Holdings, part of the company controlled by by tech billionaire Alec Gores, is listed as having received $5 million to $10 million.
Rapper Kanye West, left, shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty images
The most famous billionaire to receive PPP funds is Kanye West. West’s Yeezy fashion brand received between $2 million and $5 million. West has said his brand is worth $3 billion and recently announced a collaboration with Gap that could potentially be worth $100 million or more depending on the company’s performance.
Private jet companies, which have rebounded quickly and received hundreds of millions of dollars under the aviation program of the CARES Act, also received millions in PPP funds. Clay Lacy Aviation, which received $27 million in CARES Act funding and prides itself on its celebrity and VIP client base, also received between $5 million and $10 million in PPP funds.
Jet Linx Aviation, which received $20 million from the aviation program, received an additional $5 million to $10 million in PPP funds, according to the list.