The federal paycheck protection program may have poured hundreds of millions of dollars in forgivable loans into thousands of South Bay businesses and – at least for now – saved 41,720 jobs from shedding due to coronavirus-related closings, according to data released by the Treasury Department.
In total, nearly 3,000 companies in South Bay received loans between $ 150,000 and $ 10 million, according to the Treasury Department. Together, the companies received around $ 862.4 billion to $ 2.07 billion.
The federal government only provides credit lines and not specific amounts, making it difficult to provide accurate cumulative numbers for the program. And the data provided has also been widely reported to be full of inaccuracies, a finding that has been replicated locally; Several companies reported to this newsgroup some sort of inconsistency between the federal data and the actual loan amounts they received.
However, the money the companies in South Bay received provided at least a temporary lifeline. Unfortunately, some companies have stated that they have already issued their loans and with many sectors of the economy remaining closed there is still a risk of them closing. And as the data shows, not all companies were given the same lifeline.
For example, thirty-one of the South Bay companies that received at least $ 150,000 took out loans between $ 5 million and $ 10 million – while the majority received $ 350,000 or less, according to the data.
South Bay Nonprofit The Lundquist Institute was one of the largest recipients. The company – formerly known as LA BioMed – works on biomedical research, including finding vaccines for the coronavirus. The nonprofit – located near Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and in unregistered West Carson, the official name of the Census Bureau for the area – received $ 8.8 million, saving 500 jobs.
“Prior to receiving the PPP, the institute was forced to lay off employees and was planning further layoffs across the company,” said David Meyer, company president and CEO, via email. “Our research, including our ongoing and significant COVID-19 clinical trials of therapies and vaccines, would have been seriously jeopardized without this funding.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Nancy Russert, owner of Les Beaux Interiors, an interior design company in Manhattan Beach, which received a modest $ 66.00 loan – although the paycheck protection program reported the company had a $ 5 million loan has received $ 10 million.
“I could hardly believe it,” says Russert, whose company works in a one-room office. “If I had got that, I’d be somewhere in the Bahamas.”
About 1,750 companies in South Bay have received loans of at least $ 150,000 and up to $ 350,000, according to federal data. Another 844 received $ 350,000 to $ 1 million, while 224 received $ 1 to 2 million.
However, some beneficiaries have already burned much of the money received as the pandemic has solidified an increasingly ailing health system and economy, leading to stricter and prolonged plant closings that are likely to prolong the financial pain for many.
That includes Carson’s nonprofit Cal State Dominguez Hills Foundation, said university spokesman Paul Browning. The corporation’s revenue includes food service, catering, and university bookstore revenue, all of which were shredded by the closings.
The group received $ 525,000, which saved about 55 jobs for 60 days, said Jerry Groomes, the foundation’s interim executive director.
But now that the money has been used up and 30 employees working in the closed dining facilities are now being laid off – though officials said they will be reinstated when campus operations finally resume.
While several companies discussed at length the loans they received and the jobs the money saved, others were more reluctant.
Canoo, an electric vehicle startup in Torrance that had planned to launch a subscription-based all-electric vehicle in late 2021 – which is now expected to be delayed due to the pandemic – declined, an exact figure for the loan of 5-10 million US dollars indicate the data shows that it was received.
Meanwhile, the federal database shows that the loan saved zero jobs. Canoo has 300 employees who continued to work during the coronavirus pandemic, company spokeswoman Veronica Shea said.
However, Shea said that on the advice of company lawyers, she was unable to confirm whether the company received a loan from the program or provided the amount.
Bright Event Rentals in Torrance received a $ 5 million to $ 10 million loan to save 324 jobs, federal data shows. General manager Mike Persson declined to comment via email.
For some companies, however, the loan helped fill the void as they settled back into a new normal.
The San Pedro fish market, for example, received just under $ 1 million from the program, said CEO Michael Ungaro. According to the published official data, the restaurant was able to retain 16 jobs as a result. But Ungaro said in a clarification that the funds actually get a lot more than that going again.
“The PPP funding has helped us get well more than 16 of our 400-strong workforce back to work,” Ungaro wrote in an email. “The funding came about shortly before the reopening and enabled us to get more than half of our workforce back to work.”
The company, he said, remains understaffed as many have chosen not to return. “So we used the funds to hire over 50 new employees across the company. We also used this money to give them additional funds as a thank you for returning in difficult times. “
The company has also introduced some innovations to address the situation, he said.
“We invented a complete way of handling deliveries and third parties (business),” said Ungaro. “We have plenty of outdoor seating for our San Pedro and even Long Beach locations so we can stay open.
“But we’ve lost millions and millions of dollars in revenue,” he added. “The PPP helps to balance that out.”
Contributing to this story were the salaried writers Lisa Jacobs, Donna Littlejohn, Chris Haire, and Hayley Munguia.
Note: The original version of this article did not include any clarification from Michael Ungaro regarding the number of employees retained by the funding.