The Trump administration has released the names of businesses approved for loans of more than $150,000 as part of the Paycheck Protection Program. Many of them are big businesses that some would argue should never have been approved in the first place.
That is not sitting well with some local business owners who say they clawed and scratched for money and walked away with little -- llike Oak Park restaurant owner Patrick O’Brien.
“I mean, they don't deserve it. They don't need it,” O’Brien said. “We need more money now. And they never needed any money. It's a crime. I don't know how it's legal.”
The Trump administration initially balked at releasing the names of companies getting big loans. The decision was reversed, under pressure, and the names of employers approved for amounts of $150,000 up to $10 million were disclosed on Monday.
“To see Trump's lawyers and Kanye West, that's, you know, the rich get richer," O’Brien said. "Nothing's ever changed with that and I’m not surprised at all. Just more angry. You know, this restaurant business is hard enough, and the money's there -- $60 billion in PPP-- and 50% of it went to wealthy people."
The financial lifeline was intended to help employers keep people on the payroll and pay some overhead expenses. If used properly, the loans do not have to be repaid.
In Illinois and Indiana, there are 38,739 approved loans combined. Of these, 26,975 are in Illinois, and 11,764 are in Indiana. Northwest Indiana garnering 848 of approved loans.
The Treasury Department will not release the names of the businesses approved for smaller loans of 150-thousand and less. They make up the bulk of this mammoth program. The names of all Illinois and NW Indiana businesses approved for PPP can be found in a searchable list here.