PROVIDENCE – The Foxy Lady, aka Gulliver’s Tavern, has caught the eye.
But there are plenty of other high-profile – or unusual – names on last week’s list of Rhode Island recipients of potentially recoverable “small business” loans from the federal government’s $ 660 billion paycheck protection program. .
Restaurants. Manicure salons. Law firms. Construction companies. Public relations firms. Country clubs. Churches. A handful of media outlets, including Rhode Island Public Radio and RI Monthly Communications. The exclusive Hope Club.
Lieutenant governor Dan McKeefamily oil company. Senator Franck Lombardoheating and HVAC company. The property management company owned by Rhode Island Democratic National Committeeman – and former mayor of Providence – Joseph paulino.
Some decoding required.
For example, the listing indicates that a loan of $ 150,000 to $ 350,000 was made to “401 Night Life LLC” at 349 Dyer Ave. in Cranston, the address of the PreGame Lounge which, as recently as March, advertised “Grown & Sexy Saturdays!” and photos of scantily clad women – on Facebook.
But his registered agent – lobbyist Nick hemond, who is also the chairman of the Providence school board – said the hookah bar has yet to get the loan money and reopen.
Hemond’s law firm – DarrowEverett – was one of five dozen law firms that received PPP loans, in his case, between $ 350,000 and $ 1 million. (“Thank goodness we didn’t have to shut down, fire anyone.”)
He said the daycare he co-owned with his wife got his own PPP loan of $ 118,000.
Other law firms benefiting from the loans include: Lynch & Pine, with two former AGs on its masthead ($ 150,000- $ 350,000); Rob Levine, the “heavy hitter” of television advertising ($ 1 million to $ 2 million), and Adler Pollock & Sheehan, who does legal work for the governor while lobbying lawmakers for more than a year. dozen of clients at the State House, including the RI Convention Center ($ 2-5 million).
(Other loan recipients in Rhode Island politics and government include Marasco & Nesselbush, Moses Ryan, Shechtman Halperin Savage.)
And really, without making it up: “The Seven Schmucks” in North Scituate got between $ 150,000 and $ 350,000. (Attempts to reach them were unsuccessful.)
There is no evidence that any of these entities received favorable treatment, but the distribution of the relief money has come under scrutiny nationwide since the liberation by the administration under bipartisan pressure from Congress.
And the public only has a partial picture.
The list published by the Small Business Administration only disclosed companies that borrowed between $ 150,000 and $ 10 million. Low-interest loans can be canceled if companies meet certain conditions, such as retaining or re-hiring employees and maintaining salary levels.
Take a hit
Some of their stories:
Paolino says he filed for the loan on April 7 and received $ 653,800 for his 50-employee real estate company, 57 Associates Management LLC.
He told Political Scene: “The commercial real estate market has been severely affected by the pandemic and the retail sector has been particularly affected. Many retail tenants, including large national retailers, have either not paid their rent or are negotiating concessions and rent deferrals.
“Parking lot operators were unable to pay their rent due to a drastic reduction in downtown commercial and office activity, and we have even seen our residential tenants terminate their leases prematurely due to the closure. colleges and universities and demands for rent reductions due to job loss.
“This resulted in almost $ 1,000,000 in bad debts, which would have required us to downsize accordingly without the PPP loan.”
“Thanks to this loan, we were able to continue to employ car park attendants despite the fact that the car parks were empty; property managers despite buildings for the most part unoccupied; and accountants to process rent checks that never arrived.
“We have maintained 100% of our workforce on full pay and benefits without disruption throughout the pandemic and continue to do so,” he said.
“Although we have not requested a loan cancellation yet, we hope the loan will be canceled.”
Securing cash flow
A spokeswoman for McKee, the lieutenant governor who still presents himself as vice chairman of McKee Brothers Oil, said:
“The Lieutenant Governor is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the business, but he will contact management and ask them to provide you with information about the PPP loan.”
A day later, the director of operations of McKee Brothers Jenn johnson fixed the loan amount at $ 187,875.
“As with all small businesses facing an unprecedented pandemic and unknowns in the economy,” she said, “we applied for the loan to secure cash flow to cover our payroll, our rent and our expenses to continue to operate our essential business. “
“Oil deliveries have yet to be made to provide heating and hot water… and service calls are received daily to keep the heating and air conditioning systems in working order.”
But to “run a small business and extend credit to our customers when our cash flow doesn’t come as expected.” [was difficult]. Employees must always be paid and our suppliers must collect payment for the products we have purchased.
“In fact, it saved all of our jobs,” she said. “We think the loan should be able to be canceled. “
Maintaining workers’ employment
Senator Lombardo, D-Johnston, also spoke about the difficult situation his heating and air conditioning company was facing.
“We applied for the PPP on 04/15… [after] we have been informed that most of our projects are closed due to the pandemic, ”he said, including“ our larger projects ”.
“We were approved and received $ 200,000 on 5/1/20,” he said. Without the loan, “we would not have [had] income available to keep our employees paid during this period.
Instead, “we were able to keep all of our employees full time, both in the field for … small jobs and … in the fabrication shop to store our inventory.”
“Thanks to the PPP, all of our employees never lost a day’s pay … In March, we had 12 employees and we were able to keep all but one who resigned for personal reasons. Since then, we have added 6 employees in June and an additional one in July. Currently, we employ 19 people full time.
He too foresees that all or part of the loan will be canceled since “we have used 100% of the PPP for payroll purposes”.
Clubs and Diocese
Other beneficiaries of these government guaranteed forgivable loans include:
The Wannamoisett Country Club, Aquidneck Island Country Club, Foster Golf and Country Club, Kirkbrae Country Club, Quidnesset Country Club, The Alpine Country Club, Metacomet Property Company, New Agawam, the National Newport Golf Club, Shelter Harbor Golf Club, Sterling National and the Squantum association.
Their loans ranged, in most cases, from $ 150,000 to $ 350,000.
Quidnesset, Kirkbrae, Wannamoisett, Shelter Harbor and The Alpine received between $ 350,000 and $ 1 million.
The government-backed small business loans were also made to three branches of the Catholic Diocese of Providence.
Diocesan spokesperson Carolyn Cronin explained:
“The Catholic Cemeteries Corporation received loan approval on April 29 and received $ 589,667 … which has kept 58 jobs to meet the needs of our late loved one.
“The Catholic Charity Fund Corporation was approved for a loan on April 30 and received $ 184,032 which was used to keep approximately 10 employees on the payroll, including employees of Faith Formation and the Catholic School Office.”
“The Diocesan Administration Society (…) received $ 553,076 on May 1, which was used to keep approximately 44 employees, including administrative staff, on our payroll to help with day-to-day operations. The rest of the employees were put on leave.
“We fully anticipate that these loans will be 100% forgiven as the majority of funds have been used to pay salaries and employee benefits,” Cronin said.
A long list of individual churches have received PPP loans of $ 150,000 to $ 350,000. Our Lady of Mercy in East Greenwich, the birthplace of Reverend Bernard Healey, Chief Lobbyist of the Diocese at State House, received between $ 350,000 and $ 1 million.
The Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island received between $ 150,000 and $ 350,000, as did the Congregation of the Sons of Israel and David in Providence and Temple Emanu-El. The Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island raised between $ 350,000 and $ 1 million.