Several businesses partially owned by California governor Gavin Newsom (D.) received millions in Paycheck Protection Program loans intended for small businesses.
ABC7 Los Angeles reported Wednesday that at least eight businesses under the PlumpJack Group umbrella, of which Newsom holds partial ownership, received nearly $3 million in PPP loans.
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One company, Villa Encinal Partners LP, received $918,720 in loans despite retaining just 14 of its employees. According to ABC7, California wineries that received similar amounts of PPP loans employed, on average, 148 workers.
Jay Cheng, the public policy director of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, told ABC7 that small businesses struggled to receive the funds necessary to keep their businesses afloat, while "well-resourced" companies—like those Newsom has a stake in—managed to receive large loans.
"We see huge discrepancies between small business and the kind of loans they got and their ability to get loans and larger companies that are well-resourced and well-staffed and had strong relationships with their banks," Cheng said.
The PPP loans were created earlier this year after health restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses to close and left millions of Americans unemployed. The loans were designed to keep workers employed and can be forgiven if business owners use 60 percent of the loan to fund employees' wages.
Numerous California counties are under a new three-week stay-at-home mandate, which took effect Sunday night. Nationally, 17 percent of the country's restaurants have closed as a result of government-imposed pandemic lockdowns, CNN reported. An additional 37 percent of restaurant owners believe they will close their restaurants in the coming months without additional financial assistance from the government.
Despite implementing statewide lockdowns, banning private gatherings, and asking Californians to stay at home, Newsom was spotted maskless at an indoor dinner party in November.