As Judd Legum reports, the company had already said it “only minimally” qualified under the forgiveness terms of the loans—75% of it has to be used for payroll to keep employees hired and paid—and would “have to pay the balance back when it is due in 2 years.” Meaning they did not intend at all to spend 75% of the loans on paying their employees.
Bennett’s rethinking of keeping all that sweet, very low-interest cash from the government might have had something to do with Biden’s tweet. It might also have something to do with the fact that all the Republicans who have benefited from his largesse in the form of campaign donations didn’t think it looked so good for any of them. Bennett has contributed $200,000 to Trump reelection after being a major 2016 donor, as well as having given to the Republican National Committee. He’s also hired two of Trump’s fundraisers as lobbyists to help in his quest for bailout money.
While he was pleading back in March that he wasn’t going to be able to make debt payments on $4 billion in outstanding loans because of the coronavirus crisis, he was paying himself $1,755,697, a portion of his annual bonus, with the promise to himself that he’d get the balance of $585,233 by the end of the year. Also in March, the two companies paid out $10 million in “preferred stock dividends” to some stockholders. Two of those shareholders—Bennett and his father—got more than $2 million of that preferred stock. But he couldn’t afford to keep his hotel workers on the payroll.