Nearly 51,000 Utah businesses have shared over $ 5 billion in payday loans
Washington • From the Blue Shop to Girl Scouts in Utah. Of Park City bar at the center of the state’s first coronavirus outbreak to the company that sold Utah – then reimbursed – $ 800,000 in controversial malaria drugs that President Donald Trump has promoted as a miracle drug against the disease.
From small town coal haulers to large ski resorts to law firms and well-connected businesses.
More than 50,000 Utah businesses, nonprofits and social groups shared more than $ 5 billion in federal aid during the pandemic, according to new data released Monday by the Treasury Department. The money helped keep nearly 800,000 Utahns employed, the Treasury said.
The government has for the first time identified which companies have received large loans from a program to stem layoffs and keep stores afloat during the pandemic outbreak, and the list reads like a who’s who of big business from Utah mixed with mom-and-pop stores, high-interest loan providers, arts groups, and burger and pizza restaurants.
An assortment of companies have sought – and received – funds in the state.
The Alta and Brighton ski resorts each received up to $ 2 million from the program while the Ken Garff Automotive group shared more than $ 10 million among five different entities. Bob Garff, former Speaker of the House and longtime chairman of this auto dealer group, was one of the first Utahns to die of COVID-19.
Barney Trucking of Salina has accepted up to $ 10 million for his coal haulage business. And Nature’s Sunshine of Lehi took between $ 5 million and $ 10 million, according to the Treasury Department, which released the names of companies that pulled more than $ 150,000 from the program. The amount of money each recipient got is listed in broad categories of amounts.
The Treasury reports that Planned Parenthood of Utah received more than $ 2 million from the program, although officials say they returned the money after complaints from 127 Republican members of Congress, including senses Mike Lee and Mitt Romney of Utah, that the reproductive health provider, which also offers abortion services, should not receive any federal funding.
“We repaid the loan when it became clear that Planned Parenthood affiliates were going to become another target of political attack for applying for these loans,” said Karrie Galloway, President and CEO of the Utah Chapter of the group. “We don’t have time for politics during a global pandemic.”
The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance accepted between $ 350,000 and $ 1 million, the Treasury said.
“The PPP loan has allowed us to keep all of our staff at full employment during this uncertain economic time, including seven positions in southern Utah,” said Scott Groene, group executive director.
Allison Braver, a former speed skater and Olympic model, has pulled up to $ 10 million from the program for her entertainment business which she says has saved 430 jobs in the state. Braver said in an email that there were several projects his Utah-based company was developing that had yet to be announced.
“Each of these projects has a significant number of employees,” she said. “Due to the need for large teams nearby, these types of productions have been particularly disrupted by the pandemic, and we recognize our responsibility to get these professionals back to work as quickly and safely as possible.”
Fierce Firearms, which manufactures custom shotguns, accepted up to $ 350,000 from the program while SilencerCo, a West Valley City company that advocates lifting restrictions on silencer for guns, took up to $ 2 million.
Two Utah County businesses – which county officials said were responsible for COVID-19 infections in at least 68 people – also received PPP money. Brands built at American Fork hit $ 2 million while Wasatch Truss at Spanish Fork got the same thing, federal data shows.
The Trump administration initially said it would not disclose the names of companies that participated in the paycheck program, although it caved in after criticism from Democrats in Congress that hundreds of billions of dollars were being spent without it. no transparency. The Treasury Department also released a generic list of recipients who took less than $ 150,000, but only by city and amount, not by name.
Representative Ben McAdams, D-Utah, had asked Treasury to disclose P3 beneficiaries and called Monday’s action a step in the right direction.
“My concerns have always been that those who need and deserve these loans will receive them and that taxpayers will be able to see where their tax dollars are being spent during the COVID-19 economic response,” McAdams said on Monday. “Today’s list covers over 70% of loan amounts, which is a good start. Taxpayers deserve full accountability for how we spend their tax dollars.
P3 loans are, for the most part, forgivable if employers maintain their payroll for the duration of the program. The Treasury said on Monday that Utah-based Zions Bank was one of the nation’s top 10 lenders providing PPP loans.
Many state nonprofits have taken advantage of the program, including The Road Home, Volunteers of America, and Odyssey House – all receiving between $ 2 million and $ 5 million. The Utah Symphony and Opera took up to $ 5 million and Ballet West took between $ 1 and $ 2 million.
The Utah Zoological Society, which runs the Hogle Zoo, took between $ 1 and $ 2 million, Tracy Aviary up to $ 1 million, Discovery Gateway up to $ 350,000 and The Leonardo likewise.
The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City also participated in the program, receive a series of loans of up to $ 350,000 each.
The association Salt Lake Tribune accepted $ 854,800 in federal funds facilitated by Zions Bank, the newspaper reported in April.
The list of Utah businesses that have taken out loans spans the gamut, including some run by people well connected in politics.
Leavitt Partners, led by former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, got up to $ 5 million, and Destination Homes from House Speaker Brad Wilson got up to $ 1 million.
The Blue Boutique adult store received up to $ 350,000.
The Spur Bar & Grill in Park City, where a doorman tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-March, marking the first community spread of the disease in Utah, got up to $ 1 million under the program.
Saint Georges Squatty Potty, who debuted on good ground on CNBC’s Shark Tank, also reached $ 350,000.
Tosh Inc., which runs the Check City payday loan company, has received up to $ 5 million. PPP loans, with an interest rate of 1%, do not require any asset as collateral.
– Columnist Robert Gehrke and editor Dan Harrie contributed to this report.