The Payment Protection Program (PPP) was initiated to help struggling businesses hit by the COVID pandemic, and it cost US taxpayers $953 billion. Not only were 15% of PPP claims found to be fraudulent but it has also been revealed that multi-millionaire celebrities also benefitted from major loans that, most of the time, they did not have to repay.
Multi-millionaire and billionaire celebrities such as Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Khloe Kardashian received millions in government PPP loans for their businesses, taking funds that were intended to be allocated towards small, struggling businesses.
It has been reported that, after just the first round of PPP loans, up to 90% of ethnic minority business owners were unable to get a loan and were placed at the ‘end of a line.’ An Associated Press survey also indicated that there was a disproportionate amount of white people in rich areas being approved for a loan.
While America’s small businesses went under, our celebrities and their companies thrived. In fact, Kanye West’s Yeezy sneaker line borrowed $2,363,585. During the pandemic, Yeezy’s Adidas sneaker line’s profits increased by 31%.
West’s personal net worth is about $2 billion.
Khloe Kardashian got a loan of $1,245,405 for her denim brand Good American LLC. The full amount plus interest was forgiven, while Kardashian’s net worth is reportedly $60 million and the company is estimated to be worth $12.7 million.
It has also been revealed that Jay-Z is associated with two firms that were approved for a loan: Malibu Entertainment which got a $2,106,298 loan that was forgiven in full, and his champagne brand Armand De Brignac Holdings which borrows $293,112.
Jay-Z has a net worth of $1.3 billion.
Jeff Koons, although he is America’s richest artist, applied for and received a loan for $1,091,200 for his firm Jeff Koons LLC.
Another A-list celebrity, Reese Witherspoon, got a loan for $975,472 for her clothing company Draper James LLC.
Both Koons and Witherspoon had their loans forgiven in full.
In the sports world, NFL star Tom Brady’s wellbeing company, TB12, was given $960,655 without the need to pay it back. Brady is set to become the NFL’s first-ever billionaire when he retires.
It’s good to know that while small businesses were forced to close across the country, our A-list multi-millionaire celebrities were well taken care of while our taxes helped their businesses thrive.
Earlier this month, Joe Biden signed a bill so the Justice Department will have more time to invest and prosecute all those who collected PPP loans on a fraudulent basis. Biden said, “We’re going after the criminals who stole billions in relief money meant for small businesses and millions of Americans.”