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Kanye West, Tom Brady, Jared Kushner, Reese Witherspoon, other celebs had millions in PPP loans forgiven

Despite being worth millions of dollars, Kanye West, Tom Brady, Khloe Kardashian, Reese Witherspoon and other celebrities not only obtained Paycheck Protection Program loans for their companies through the federal government’s COVID-19 stimulus package, they had much or all of those loans forgiven, according to a new report.

Businesses connected to Trump administration senior adviser Jared Kushner’s family and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, also received PPP loans and then were let off the hook in paying the loans back, according to a Daily Mail report headlined, “It Pays to Be Rich.”

Kanye West, left, and his son Saint West sit between Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob and Peter Guber as they watch the game against the Boston Celtics in the third quarter of their NBA game at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, March 16, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group) 

Previous reports suggest that very wealthy people and very large businesses largely benefited from the program, which was established in March 2020 under the Trump administration’s $2.2 trillion CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act. The loans were meant to go to small businesses and nonprofits hit by the pandemic, but reports soon surfaced that many small businesses claimed they were struggling to get loans while dozens of billionaire-owned companies and private equity firms managed to secure funding, Forbes reported.

An analysis by the Washington Post showed that more than half of the roughly $522 billion in loans given out through November 2020 went to just 5% of the more than 5 million recipients. The SBA originally said that 87% of loans went to smaller businesses, but according to Forbes, citing the Washington Post analysis, the majority of the total issued in loans was actually given to bigger businesses. Only 28% of the total funds were used for loans of less than $150,000.

FILE - In this Aug. 13, 2020 file photo, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner speaks at a press briefing at the White House in Washington. A judge in Maryland has ruled that an apartment company co-owned by Kushner, former President Donald Trump's son-in-law, repeatedly violated state consumer protection laws by collecting debts without required licenses, charging tenants improper fees and misrepresenting the condition of rental units. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
Former White House senior adviser Jared Kushner speaks at a press briefing at the White House in Washington in 2020.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) 

As for the program’s famous beneficiaries, Kanye West, Tom Brady and Jared Kushner emerged as the top poster children for its questionable priorities.

Rapper and fashion mogul West received millions in PPP loans in 2020 for his Yeezy fashion line not long after declaring himself a billionaire, signing a 10-year collaboration with Gap, and going public with plans to build a 52,000-square-foot mansion on his ranch in Wyoming, the Daily Beast reported in July 2020.

His Yeezy LLC borrowed $2,363,585, with $1,772,689 being spent on payroll for 106-member staff, the Daily Mail said. While the status of this loan is “not disclosed,” the Daily Mail said a Yeezy subsidiary borrowed $15,625 for one employee and all but $147 was forgiven.

Generally, borrowers are eligible for loan forgiveness if the loan was spent on payroll costs, and employee and compensation levels were maintained, according to the SBA. The Daily Mail said borrowers can also have the 1% interest forgiven.

Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 28, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Andy Lyons, Getty Images)
Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 28, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Andy Lyons, Getty Images) 

Brady received a $960,855 PPP loan for TB12 Inc, the sports performance and nutrition company he co-founded with body coach Alex Guerroro, the Daily Mail said. The loan was to help secure 80 jobs.

Following news that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback had received the loan, someone in February 2021 launched a Change.org petition saying that he should be magnanimous and return it. Brady has reportedly made more than $350 million during his NFL career.

“By accepting this money, he is playing the government no better than any grifter would play a person on the street,” the petition read.

Not only did Brady’s company not return the loan, it asked to not pay it back. The full amount of the loan, plus interest of nearly $12,000, was fully forgiven, the Daily Mail said.

Meanwhile, Kushner’s family was granted three PPP loans for various businesses, while he helped lead his father-in-law’s response to the pandemic, according to the Daily Mail.

The Kushner family’s newspaper publisher, Observer Holdings, LLC, was approved in the first round of loans on April 27, 2020, the Daily Mail said. The company received a $800,407 loan, which was used to save 41 jobs. The loan, including interest, was forgiven in full.

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