COLUMBUS, Ohio – A company partially owned by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is among those that have received loans from a coronavirus aid program of more than $ 600 billion.
Data released Monday shows DeWine Seeds-Silver Dollar Baseball received a loan under the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program in the range of $ 150,000 to $ 350,000.
The company owns the Asheville Tourists, a North Carolina minor league baseball team, which was purchased by the governor’s family in 2010. DeWine’s son, Brian DeWine, is currently the baseball team president. .
DeWine, a Republican, was touted for his early and aggressive response to the virus, while also being pushed back for the effects of his actions on the economy.
A spokesperson said DeWine owns a 32% stake in the baseball team and does not play any management role. He said the loan, in the amount of $ 189,500, would cover payroll and payroll expenses.
The paycheck protection program is the centerpiece of the federal government’s plan to save an economy devastated by closures and uncertainty. The program, which helps small businesses stay open and keep Americans employed during the pandemic, has been both popular and controversial.
In Ohio, tens of thousands of businesses have received loans, according to records. They ranged from hospitals to colleges, law firms to manufacturing companies. A small percentage of successful applicants were nonprofit organizations, including Cleveland’s Playhouse Square, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Ohio Historical Society. Columbus-headquartered White Castle fast food restaurant also received a loan under the program.
The types of companies that applied reflected the economic distress felt in various industries in Ohio since the pandemic began to take its toll in mid-March.
Under the PPP, the government is supporting $ 659 billion in low-interest loans taken out by banks. Taxpayer money will repay loans if borrowers use them for payroll, rent, and similar expenses. Companies generally must have fewer than 500 workers to be eligible.
Demand was so high that the first injection of $ 349 billion ran out in just two weeks. Many businesses on Main Street couldn’t navigate the application process quickly enough for one of these early loans before the funding dried up. Meanwhile, several hundred publicly traded companies – hardly the image of a small business – have received loans of up to $ 10 million each, sparking public backlash and leading dozens to repay money.
Congress added $ 310 billion to the program, but confusing, shifting and sometimes restrictive rules dampened interest. About $ 140 billion was unclaimed as the deadline for applications closed on June 30. With funds still available, Congress voted to extend the program just as it expired, setting a new date for August 8.
The public may never know the identity of more than 80% of the nearly 5 million beneficiaries to date, as the administration has refused to disclose details of loans under $ 150,000 – the vast majority of borrowers .
This secrecy sparked legal action by a group of news agencies, including the Associated Press.
Yet the release of the data is the most comprehensive look at program beneficiaries to date.
This story was written by Farnoush Amiri, a corps member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a national, nonprofit service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to cover undercover issues.