Thursday, September 08, 2005
Another "uh-oh" just came from the RNC
Calling Steve Chabot. There's nothing wrong with being flexible with what businesses should qualify for loans after a national disaster, but someone wasn't watching the store, for example, in Ohio.
Low-interest loans meant for Sept. 11 recovery helped an airport convenience store and fledgling video producers, but also a dentist and other business owners who said they didn't know they were receiving terrorism-related aid.It's pretty clear that the lendees had no idea where their loans were coming from. It sure looks like it was the lending institutions who had the most to gain by making sure all of the STAR money was dealt out quickly. The AP mentions Midwest Business Capital, but we suspect other institutions were involved.
"Am I in that program? Nobody told me," said Tom Brower, a former airline pilot who borrowed $917,000 to open a Ritter's Frozen Custard franchise in the suburb of Hilliard.
About $120 million was approved for about 435 Ohio businesses through the $5 billion U.S. Small Business Administration program, although the agency didn't track how many businesses took the money. The SBA set a loose definition of what adversity from 9/11 would qualify a company for the low-interest, lower-fee loans, including disruption of business or difficulty paying bills or securing financing.
A review by The Associated Press found that many borrowers appear to have little or no connection to the terrorist attacks, including 25 fast-food restaurants, a handful of tanning salons and businesses that didn't open until late 2002.
Several recipients, including a day spa and a bed and breakfast, said they didn't know they had received money meant to speed disaster recovery.