RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s businesses and nonprofits took in between $9.5 billion to $18.2 billion through the U.S. Treasury Department’s Payroll Protection Program, new data released Monday shows.
The government data said nearly 110,000 PPP loans were awarded in Virginia, with the vast majority — 93,000 — under $150,000. The Treasury Department only released the names for about 16,000 Virginia entities that received loans of more than $150,000.
Thee data shows the program, designed to soften job losses related to the coronavirus pandemic, was used far and wide in Virginia. Recipients include pricey private schools located in some of the country’s wealthiest suburbs, federal IT and defense contractors, and well-known real estate developers and construction companies.
Companies linked to elected officials also received loans. State Sen. Chap Petersen said the PPP loan to his law firm helped him keep 12 people on payroll, cover rent and pay his vendors.
“It certainly worked its intended purpose,” he said of the loan.
Gov. Ralph Northam’s former medical practice, which he owns a stake in, received a loan of between $2 million to $5 million. Northam, a pediatric neurologist, isn’t involved in Children’s Specialty Group’s day-to-day operations and played no role in their loan application, his spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky said.
The government data may not be entirely accurate. A spokeswoman for the Langley School in McLean said the school applied for and was offered a loan, but elected not to accept the funds. The company was listed as receiving a loan between $2 million to $5 million.
Under the PPP, the government is backing $659 billion in low-interest business loans that will be forgiven if employers use the money on payroll, rent and similar expenses.
Companies typically must have fewer than 500 workers to qualify. About $130 billion was unclaimed as the application deadline closed June 30. With money still available, Congress voted to extend the program just as it was expiring, setting a new date of Aug. 8.
The public may never know the identity of more than 80% of the nearly 5 million beneficiaries to date because the administration has refused to release details on loans under $150,000 – the vast majority of borrowers. That secrecy spurred an open-records lawsuit by a group of news organizations, including The Associated Press.
Still, the release of the data Monday is the most complete look at the program’s recipients so far.