Coronavirus

The Richest People in the World Got a Bailout

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

To demonstrate just how useless the Payment Protection Program (PPP) may ultimately prove to be, the richest people in the world apparently received a bailout.

The property management company for Fisher Island, the richest zipcode where even the poorest residents make at least $1 million per year, received a $2 million loan from the Small Business Administration.

A housing association representing the richest zip code in America was approved to receive a $2 million emergency coronavirus relief loan from the Small Business Administration, despite suffering no layoffs and no apparent financial impact from the coronavirus pandemic. [...]

FICA, which manages the members-only private island off the Miami coast that can only be reached by helicopter or boat and once counted Oprah Winfrey as a member, was approved for a Paycheck Protection Program loan intended to help small businesses who had shuttered, laid off workers, or furloughed staff due to the viral outbreak.

The association is responsible for maintaining the 216 acres of grounds and beaches, plus the common areas and swimming pools and 18 tennis courts for the island's 800 families. Ana Tinsly, a spokesperson for public services union SEIU Florida, said earlier this week that she was not aware of any layoffs.

The good news, at least in this one case, is that the residents of Fisher Island voted to return the loan to the Small Business Administration, but this story got me thinking.

How many times has this happened? Why was Fisher Island flagged for a loan in the first place? How many rich individuals or businesses who don't actually need help are just going to keep it because their particular story hasn't been exposed in the press?

I'm sure the Payment Protection Program is legitimately helping at least some businesses retain their employees, but we aren't hearing much about that.

Maybe I'm just too pessimistic, but I feel like we've seen this movie so many times before. Most of what we've seen tell us this program is being looted by businesses or individuals that could get by without while those who can't aren't receiving help. Scrapping the entire program in favor of monthly checks for every American would have been a more efficient use of the same amount of money spent on this unaccountable bailout program.

The Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, one of the richest franchises in the entire world, also received a $4 billion bailout which they're returning.

  • muselet

    I say again, direct paycheck support by the federal government—as long as a company keeps an employee on the books, the government pays a percentage of that employee’s salary—would benefit workers and small businesses far more than the Rube Goldberg device that is the PPP. Yes, doing that would also benefit large businesses, but at least it would be harder to game the system.

    The PPP looks like it was deliberately designed to be cheated.

    –alopecia

  • Tony Lavely

    Silly me. I thought you had to apply for these loans. why would Fisher Island or the Lakers even apply, never mind get approved?

    Is this republicans being republicans? (Feel free to substitute whatever pejorative you wish in my rhetorical.