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Kushner family firms received millions in paycheck protection loans

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  • Companies connected to White House advisor Jared Kushner and his family received millions in Paycheck Protection Program loans. 
  • Kushner, husband to Ivanka Trump, has technically removed himself from the businesses, many of which are still controlled by his family. 
  • The PPP data released Monday was riddled with errors, but a Kushner Companies executive confirmed and defended the loans. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Senior White House Advisor and husband to Ivanka Trump may have divested most of his corporate holdings, but the remaining family owners took full advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program’s emergency coronavirus loans.

Data released by the Small Business Administration on Monday show a handful of Kushner-connected entities receiving large loans from the federal bailout program.

Observer Holdings, the publishing company owned by Kushner’s brother in law which publishes what remains of the former New York Observer newspaper, received between $350,000 and $1 million to protect 41 jobs, records show.

Outside of Media, Kushner family hotels also dabbled in the $669 billion program, which was authorized by Congress in March as part of the CARES act that also provided relief funding for industries like airlines. The New York Times and Daily Beast first reported on the loans.

Princeton Forrestal LLC, controlled by several Kushner’s related to the White House confidant, received between $1 million and $2 million, and Esplanade Livingston, which owns the land housing the family’s Westminster Hotel, also received $350,000 to $1 million.

A Kushner Companies executive confirmed and defended the firm’s participation in the loans, which went to nearly five million businesses in total of varying size across the country.

“Several of our hotels have applied for federal loans, in accordance with all guidelines, with a vast majority of funds going to furloughed employees,” Pete Febo, chief operating officer, told the Times and Daily Beast.

Business Insider has reached out to Kushner Companies for further comment.

The move to disclose loan recipients for amounts greater than $150,000 — a minority of applicants but majority of funding — came after public pressure, including from Republicans in Congress, to ensure the program’s effectiveness. Names were hidden for borrowers who received smaller loans in order to protect confidential data, especially for sole proprietorships.

Other companies revealed to have taken loans include major lobbying and law firms, trade groups, venture capital groups, companies connected to federal lawmakers, and even promoters behind the Burning Man festival. However, the dataset also appeared to be riddled with errors.

Bird, an electric scooter rental company, said it was mistakenly included in the list but had not actually applied for any loan. Venture investor Andreessen Horowitz said it was included when the loan had in fact gone to a portfolio company.

A senior SBA official, speaking on background, told Business Insider these mistakes were likely due to a loan being returned before the lender officially cancelled the application. The explanation does not account for names who never applied in the first place.

With the virus still surging in the United States, it’s unlikely that the program will be enough to prop up an ailing economy, even as some funds remain. As many as 14% of PPP loan borrowers anticipate having to lay off employees after funds run out, according to a June survey from the National Federation of Independent Business.

“We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, said Monday. “And I would say, this would not be considered a wave. It was a surge, or a resurgence of infections superimposed upon a baseline.”

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