The Small Business Administration released data on every small business that received a Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loan.
The data was released after months of litigation.
The COVID relief programs were meant to help businesses struggling during the pandemic.
Responding to every consumer complaint
The program rolled out in the spring and was comprised of more than $700 billion in forgivable loans that could be used for payroll, rent, and other expenses.
Since then, there has been some criticism on how the program has been administered.
There have also been dozens of Federal Criminal Complaints connected to the program. In some cases, alleging recipients forged documents and used funds on luxury cars and shopping sprees.
“There was some questioning on whether the right companies were getting these loans,” said Attorney Alexander Ziccardi, an attorney with NBC News.
NBC News was one of 11 newsrooms that sued for the release of the data on every small business that benefited from the PPP and EIDL programs.
“This was a loan program that, I think was a half of a trillion dollars in tax payer money, going to these borrowers, and the taxpayers and public at large have a fundamental right to know how that money is being spent,” Ziccardi said.
Much of the money were in loans under $150,000.
A look at recipients in Florida show 381,455 PPP loans under $150,000 were handed out, totaling around $11 billion.
In Florida, 41,686 recipients received PPP loans over $150,000. These loans totaled $20.7 billion.
The data also revealed signs of potential mismanagement with over 100 loans nationwide made to companies were no business name was listed or that displayed entry errors instead of names.
At least six loan recipients in Florida did not have business names listed.
“At the very least the public has a right to know how the money is being spent,” Ziccardi said.
In a released statement, a SBA spokesperson said “SBA’s historically successful Covid relief loan programs have helped millions of small businesses and tens of millions of American workers when they needed it most.”
We reached out to the SBA regarding the entries that do not include business names, and we are still waiting to hear back.