Newsletter: A who’s who of PPP loans

The roof pool and garden at the Peninsula Beverly Hills.
The Belvedere Hotel Partnership, which operates the posh Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel, shown, confirmed that the company requested and received funding from the PPP program in the range of $5 million to $10 million.
(Peninsula Beverly Hills )

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Tuesday, July 7, and I’m writing from Los Angeles.

On Monday, the Treasury Department released the names of hundreds of thousands of companies that received funds through the Paycheck Protection Program, which was created to help small businesses weather the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing closures.

Those who received multimillion-dollar loans in California include the company that operates the posh Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel, North Bay-based jelly bean maker Jelly Belly and Kanye West’s company Yeezy, among many others.

As my business reporter colleagues note, Monday’s government data dump came after mounting pressure from Democrats and various private groups that demanded more transparency of the roughly $660-billion loan program. The Treasury identified only companies that had received more than $150,000 — a group that accounts for less than 15% of the nearly 5 million small companies that received loans.

What to know about PPP loans


The initiative is part the $2.2-trillion COVID-19 stimulus package enacted by Congress at the end of March. The funds are at least partly “forgivable,” meaning the money does not need to be repaid if the employer meets certain criteria, including using the funds to keep pre-pandemic employees on the payroll for at least eight weeks after receiving the loan.

The PPP loan program has not been without controversy, but as economy reporter Don Lee noted a few weeks ago, the program almost certainly played a key role in the country’s surprising jobs rebound in May.

The program drew early public outrage over news that some large, publicly traded companies received loans worth tens of millions of dollars in the initial rush of applications, which saw $350 billion in funding depleted in just 14 days. High-profile businesses that initially received and then returned PPP loans include the L.A. Lakers, one of the most valuable franchises in U.S. sports.

As congressional reporter Sarah D. Wire explained in a story last week, the second $310-billion round of forgivable payroll loans didn’t go as quickly after some large companies encountered public backlash and criticism from President Trump for allegedly misusing the program, and others were frightened off by the program’s vague, ever-changing rules, fearing they would be left on the hook for loans they could not repay.

The program was set to expire with nearly $132 billion left in eligible funds, but Trump on Saturday signed legislation extending the application deadline to Aug. 8.

Who got the money?

Applicants in California received the largest share of the pie, with more than $68 billion doled out to more than 580,000 businesses in the last three months.

[Read the story: “More than 580,000 California companies got PPP loans. Here’s what we know” in the Los Angeles Times]

The largest loans, in the range of $5 million to $10 million, went to 647 businesses in the state. Manufacturing and construction companies received the highest percentage of those loans in California, but few parts of the economy went untouched, with large loans flowing to law firms, tech companies, film studios, healthcare companies, farms, hotels, restaurants and even a three-on-three basketball league founded by rapper and actor Ice Cube.

And now, here’s what’s happening across California:

As COVID-19 cases surge, the L.A. County death toll tops 3,500. This comes as the number of coronavirus infections continues to increase across the state. Amid the spike, California is monitoring additional counties for surges in cases and hospitalizations, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday. San Diego, Marin, Madera and Colusa counties have been added to the state’s watch list, which now includes 23 of California’s 58 counties that have been flagged for not meeting the state’s objectives in curtailing the spread of the virus. Los Angeles Times


Women say they were groped and violated by police during L.A. curfew arrests. Josh Rubenstein, an LAPD spokesman, said at least three complaints have been formally submitted to police about “inappropriate touching during a pat-down” amid curfew arrests, and all are under investigation. Los Angeles Times

The L.A. Surge Hospital treated a small number of COVID-19 patients during the 39 days it was open. But doctors say it saved “many, many lives,” while restoring their faith in medicine. Los Angeles Times

Charlie Kaufman went from lauded screenwriter to flop director. His new novel hits back. Los Angeles Times

Nicolas Cage as Charlie Kaufman in “Adaptation,” written by Charlie Kaufman.
(Columbia Pictures)

Is anyone watching Quibi? The streaming platform raised $1.75 billion and secured a roster of A-list talent, but it can’t get audiences to notice. New York Magazine

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International students who attend college in the United States on visas will be barred from staying in the country if their school’s classes are conducted entirely online during the fall semester, the Trump administration said Monday. The decision comes as a blow for international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities. Politico


The Supreme Court ruled that electoral college representatives must honor the choice of their state’s voters. Eager to avoid chaos in the electoral college just months before the November vote, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that electors who formally select the president can be required by the state they represent to cast their ballot for the candidate who won their state’s popular vote. Los Angeles Times

An L.A. lawmaker tested positive for COVID-19, forcing a delay of the Assembly legislative session. The state Capitol will close to be disinfected after Assemblywoman Autumn Burke (D-Marina Del Rey) and four others who work in the building tested positive for COVID-19, which probably spread as staffers and legislators met in late June to pass the state budget. Los Angeles Times

The top medical officer for California prisons has been ousted amid a worsening coronavirus outbreak. Authorities announced the replacement of the state correction system’s top medical officer on Monday. The move came as Newsom criticized a previous decision to transfer hundreds of inmates from a Chino facility that had been battling an outbreak. Los Angeles Times


Newsom said the surge in coronavirus cases hitting California is due in part to younger people who might believe “they are invincible” but nonetheless are becoming sick from COVID-19. “So, a lot of these younger folks may be coming into hospitals, but with not as acute needs as what we were seeing in the past,” Newsom said. In L.A. County, working-age adults are making up an increasing share of the percentage of those hospitalized, while seniors are making up a declining share. Los Angeles Times


This week was to be a momentous occasion: the return of the International AIDS Conference to San Francisco for the first time in 30 years. But in the shadow of a new pandemic, the most important global gathering of AIDS scientists, doctors, activists and people living with HIV will be virtual. San Francisco Chronicle

Uber acquired Postmates in a $2.65-billion all-stock deal. Both companies are based in San Francisco. Los Angeles Times

Bay Area backyard cottages boom as elderly parents and college students flee coronavirus. “I get calls all day, every day,” the owner of a “tiny homes” company in Alameda said. “The basic request is, ‘I want to put my parents in my backyard as quickly as possible.’” San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco/Oakland ranked as the most gentrified cities in the U.S., according to a study. Four other California cities — San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego and Los Angeles — also ranked in the top 20. USA Today

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Los Angeles: sunny, 87. San Diego: partly sunny, 75. San Francisco: sunny, 69. San Jose: sunny, 80. Fresno: sunny, 94. Sacramento: sunny, 93. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Laura Grandin:

Mom treasured her and her firstborn’s status as California natives, but her next three children were not so blessed, born as they were when my dad’s career took them to Philadelphia. When they returned to California, dad, a loyal Stanford grad, appealed to his former colleague, loyal UC Berkeley alum, then governor, Earl Warren, asking if he would introduce legislation making his three out-of-state-born kids honorary California natives. Gov. Warren wrote back that he would be pleased to introduce such a bill, provided we agreed to attend UC Berkeley.

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints, ideas and unrelated book recommendations to Julia Wick. Follow her on Twitter @Sherlyholmes.