New PPP information discloses largest Delaware loans

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The largest Payroll Protection Program loan in Delaware went to Connections CSP, according to newly released data. | CREATIVE COMMONS

WILMINGTON – New data released by the U.S. Small Business Administration under a court order Dec. 1 discloses the dollar figures for the largest recipients of its Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans for the first time.

Delaware’s largest single loan was the maximum $10 million under the PPP’s terms to Connections Community Support Programs, the state’s largest provider of mental health and substance abuse resources. The funds allowed the nonprofit organization to shore up revenue streams that have been hit hard, said Connections CSP President and CEO William Northey Jr.

“Due to COVID and the associated unplanned-for expenses of personal protective equipment, telehealth, etc., we had a precipitous drop in revenue, particularly in our community programs, of $2 million,” he said in an email, noting the state does not reimburse for such expenses and the organization has continued to see monthly losses. “Had we not received the PPP money, which only totaled two and a half months of employment costs, we would not have been able to provide the services to the 15,000 people we serve in the State of Delaware who have significant needs, nor would we have been able to continue to employ our 1,200 staff members, which we did.”

The $659 billion PPP loan program was created by Congress at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic’s outbreak to provide forgivable relief to businesses suddenly closed or otherwise impacted by the restrictions enforced by public officials to stem the transmission of the virus.

A first round of money was gobbled up by applicants in less than two weeks, but a second round was never exhausted due to concerns from recipients over forgiveness terms and a lack of customers to be served by returning employees. The federal program expired Aug. 8, but its reach had never been fully disclosed until now.

Unlike most SBA programs that report detailed recipient data as federal funds, the Trump administration had fought disclosure of detailed information on the largest borrowers and denied Freedom of Information Act requests filed by news organizations, who ultimately sued. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled for the plaintiffs, writing in a November opinion that the “significant public interest in shedding light on SBA’s administration of the PPP and (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) program dramatically outweighs any limited private interested in nondisclosure.”

Among the most noteworthy information released Dec. 1 was the dollar value for the largest PPP loans made.

After Connections CSP, the top five largest Delaware loans went to Iron Hill Brewery at almost $8.4 million, construction firm M. Davis & Sons at almost $7.9 million, Port of Wilmington operator GT USA Wilmington at about $7 million, and contract research organization QPS Holdings at about $6.6 million.

High-profile, multi-sector development and management firm Buccini/Pollin Group obtained loans for at least nine Delaware subsidiaries totaling more than $7.1 million, according to the records. That included the largest loan for a single hotel, the Hotel du Pont, which received more than $1.7 million to protect 192 jobs.

Delaware’s hotels, which have struggled in 2020 as bookings have fallen about 25% through October due to pandemic-spurred travel restrictions, received a total of 123 loans worth about $17.8 million. Those funds protected a reported 2,141 jobs.

The state’s restaurant industry, which have sustained losses upward of $900 million this year, according to the Delaware Restaurant Association, received a total of 556 loans worth about $74.7 million, protecting about 13,300 jobs.

Delaware law firms received 200 loans totaling more than $35 million. The funds protected a reported 578 jobs.

By Jacob Owens

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