SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Companies owned by three Republican Utah legislators have received up to $2.7 million as part of the $600 billion-plus federal rescue package meant to keep small businesses afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Treasury Department data.
The data released Monday shows companies owned by House Speaker Brad Wilson, Sen. Jerry Stevenson and Rep. Mike Schultz received loans. There is no evidence that these lawmakers or their businesses received special treatment. More than 50,000 businesses and nonprofit organizations in Utah received loans, totaling at least $3.9 billion, the figures show.
The three lawmakers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Wilson's construction company Destination Homes Inc. in Layton received a loan between $350,000 and $1,000,000, according to the data. A second company listed under the same address, Destination Real Estate LLC, received a loan in the range of $150,000 to $350,000. The exact amounts were not available.
Stevenson, who co-chairs the legislative committee that crafts the state budget, is the president and CEO of J and J Produce Inc., a garden center in Layton that received between $350,000 and $1 million, the data shows.
Schultz owns Castle Creek Homes LLC, a construction company in Roy that received a loan between $150,000 and $350,000, according to the Treasury Department.
The Paycheck Protection Program aims to help smaller businesses and their workers weather the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the PPP, Congress created $659 billion in low-interest loans that will be forgiven if employers use the money on payroll, rent and similar expenses. With about $130 billion unclaimed as the application deadline closed June 30, Congress extended the program until 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. That secrecy spurred a lawsuit by news organizations including The Associated Press.
Sophia Eppolito is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues.