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Hotel Chain That Got $59 Million In Coronavirus Loans Says It Won’t Give It Back, Despite Criticism


Hotel Chain That Got $59 Million In Coronavirus Loans Says It Won’t Give It Back, Despite Criticism

Ashford Inc., a publicly-traded hotel management chain owned by Monty Bennett, says it plans to ignore critics and keep the tens of millions of coronavirus relief aid it’s getting from a federal loan program meant to assist small business impacted by the coronavirus.

In a statement posted on its website Saturday, Dallas-based Ashford said it and its affiliated companies, which manage hotel sites for luxury hospitality brands including Ritz Carlton, plan to keep all of the $60 million the companies receive under the Paycheck Protection Program, reports CBS News.

According to the statement, Ashford argues that the government had specifically designated the relief program for hotels and restaurant chains.

The statement also revealed that the company and its more than 100 hotel affiliated hotel properties have actually applied for far more money through the Paycheck Protection Program than was previously known —up to $126 million in forgivable low-interest loans.

“That would make Ashford the country’s largest known beneficiary of the small business rescue fund if it were to receive all the loan money for which it has applied,” CBS News reports. “Car dealership chain AutoNation, a Fortune 500 company with $21 billion in revenue, said it had been approved to receive nearly $80 million from the Paycheck Protection Program to hire back 7,000 laid-off employees at local dealerships before the Florida-based company announced Friday it would return the money.”

“Ashford and its hotel affiliates have received nearly half the amount applied for as of Friday, according to financial filings. That roughly $60 million received is far larger than the recent average small business loan amount of $206,000 lent by the Paycheck Protection Program before it ran out of nearly $350 billion in initial funding after just two weeks. It is also nearly 13 times the $10 million maximum that each borrower was allowed to receive from the fund,” CBS notes.

AutoNation, Shake Shack, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and several other large companies have announced they will give back the money they received from the Paycheck Protection Program after facing public criticism.

Ashford said in its statement Saturday it believes it still qualifies for the program.


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