Home Hotels Major Hotel Group Got Gov’t Money Earmarked For Small Businesses; Says Won’t Return It

Major Hotel Group Got Gov’t Money Earmarked For Small Businesses; Says Won’t Return It

by SharonKurheg

The Paycheck Protection Program was intended to infuse small businesses with cash while the coronavirus pandemic kept them closed. This way business owners could keep paying their bills and giving workers paychecks. Unfortunately, some huge companies also applied for these hardship loans, which succeeded in depleting the funds before thousands of bona fide small businesses even had a chance.

A few companies such as AutoNation, Landry’s, Ruth’s Chris, Shake Shack and Potbelly, all large chains, have said they would return the loans they received under the PPP. But there’s a major hotel company that received $126 million in PPP loans and they say they won’t give the money back.

Ashford Inc., Ashford Hospitality Trust and Braemar Hotels & Resorts are all headed by Dallas hotelier Monty J. Bennett.

  • Ashford Inc. is “a leading provider of asset management and other services to companies within the hospitality industry.”
  • Ashford Hospitality Trust is “a real estate investment trust (REIT) focused on investing predominantly in upper upscale, full-service hotels.”
  • Braemar Hotels & Resorts is, “A real estate investment trust (REIT) focused on investing in luxury hotels and resorts.”

The companies own 130 hotels, with 14,000 employees, under more than 20 brands around the world. They’re publicly traded on the NYSE. According to the Dallas News, they had a combined revenue of $2.2 billion last year.

They also collectively applied for $126 million in PPP loans this month.

Yet mom and pop places across the country were denied because the government ran out of money.

Very nice.

Oh, and even nicer? They refuse to give the money back.

“Media concerns over our receipt of PPP funds are misplaced.” they companies said in a statement. “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.”

Business Insider has a nice rundown of Monty Bennett, the multimillion-dollar properties he owns, etc. Oh, and one other thing they mention:

Ashford Trust’s shares have plummeted as the coronavirus has spread across the US, and the company is now in danger of being delisted from the New York Stock Exchange.

So there’s that.

According to the Associated Press, the Small Business Administration recently issued an advisory that was obviously aimed at larger companies that took PPP money, with new guidelines that suggest that unless a company can prove it was truly eligible for a loan, the money should be returned by May 7.

Let’s see what happens.

#stayhealthy #stayathome #washyourhands

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

colleen April 28, 2020 - 3:43 pm

best chaser from the WSJ piece on this:

“Ashford Hospitality Trust paid more than $10 million in dividends to owners of preferred shares. Mr. Bennett and his father, a shareholder in one of the Ashford companies, received more than $2 million in quarterly dividends for preferred shares from the trust’s adviser, according to the filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and Mr. Bennett.”

Guess you can have your cake and eat it too.

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