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SBA to Publicly-Traded Companies: Return Coronavirus Loans We Previously Let You Apply For

CHAIN RESTOS PPP
An order screen at the flagship Kura Sushi in Tokyo, Japan, on January 21, 2020.
(KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)
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Over the past week, one publicly-traded company after another has been shamed into returing multimullion-dollar federal coronvairus stimulus loans.

That includes Irvine-based Kura Sushi, which received a $5.9 million loan despite having tens of millions of cash on hand and access to millions more through a loan from its majority stockholder, a Japanese company.

"This was a difficult decision because our employees are extremely important to us, but it’s impossible to ignore the fact that our finances allow us to weather financial hardship for a longer period than independent restaurant owners," CEO Jimmy Uba said in a statement late Wednesday. "We hope that these funds will be shared equitably among deserving candidates."

WHO'S RESPONSIBLE FOR ACCEPTING OFFERED CASH?

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The culprit may be the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) itself. That's the $349 billion loan fund Congress created as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

It allowed some large, publicly-traded companies to qualify as small businesses.

Now, the Small Business Administration has changed course and is instructing publicly-traded companies to give back the money.

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The SBA issued its new guidance today, as the House is voting to add another $310 billion to the program.

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