Companies On PPP List Claim to Have Received No PPP Money

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PPP MysteryOn Monday the SBA released a list of all the companies who received Paycheck Protection Program loans to the amount of $150,000 and over. Detailing company names, locations, industry, reported jobs supported, as well as the range of the loan received, the list highlights roughly 660,000 loans, or 15% of the total loans issued by the SBA.

Showing off a minority of businesses who were in the upper tier of amounts received, there are some recognizable names in there. Kanye West’s Yeezy clothes company; a number of high-profile and high-cost law firms; a selection of well-known startups; and, in a stroke of irony, the Ayn Rand Institute, a libertarian think tank which received between $350,000 and $1 million, all make appearances.

Hours after the information’s release, companies began disputing the SBA, saying that they didn’t receive funding despite appearing on the list. Bird, an electric scooter rental startup that was founded in 2017 is one of these.

“Bird was erroneously listed as a company that filed for a PPP loan,” a statement on the issue said. “We did not apply for nor did we receive a PPP loan. We decided as a company not to file an application as we did not want to divert critical funding from small and local businesses.”

This assertion was then followed up by Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden on Twitter, saying that “Bird spoke with Citi early on, but decided not to apply for PPP b/c the money was more deserved by small and local businesses. Citi will confirm this. … It looks like Citi started an application while they waited for our decision on whether to formally apply. We discussed internally and told Citi we didn’t want to apply via email on April 23rd. They confirmed that the temp app was cancelled that evening and never submitted.”

Similarly, venture capital fund Index Ventures claims that it was falsely included in the list. In a tweet, the fund stated that “earlier today, there was an erroneous entry that Index Ventures applied for a PPP loan. We can confirm that Index Ventures did not apply for a PPP loan at any point. Our legal team is looking into why our name is listed and looking to correct it ASAP.” There has yet to be a follow-up statement.

And then, in an odder turn of events, a 72-year-old woman from Millwaukee told CNBC that she had been listed as having received between $5 and $10 million. Geraldine Brimley claims that she actually applied for a PPP loan for her mail delivery company of over $9,000 and received close to $2,300. Asked about the amount the SBA listed her as receiving, she joked saying “I could use it.”

With Brimley having applied through Radius, Bird through Citibank, and Index Ventures claiming to have not applied at all, it seems there were flaws in multiple banks’ processes. If these allegations prove to be true, and these businesses were falsely listed, then it is yet to be clarified where exactly the listed funds are.

Whether they remain with the bank, were deposited in an incorrect account, or if there are cases of fraud to be considered and investigated is yet to be announced. But with the possibility of millions in SBA funds having been miscounted, the $521 billion that is said to have been handed out to PPP applicants may have to be reconsidered and recalculated.

Last modified: July 9, 2020
Brendan Garrett

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