A federal COVID relief program designed to help largely shuttered entertainment venues during pandemic-related lockdowns was so poorly managed that hundreds of millions of dollars ended up in the hands of wealthy entertainers who needed money. There was no need.

it’s a quest insider The investigation, which named some of the richest beneficiaries of the federal Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.

An example was R&B musician Chris Brown. estimated It will cost around $50 million. As Insider reports, he received $10 million in federal grants.

The second was Austin Richard Post, better known as Post Malone, who is believed to have been a net worth in the same range. He also received a $10 million grant.

and many other wealthy entertainers benefited from the grant program, which was administered – if one could even call it that – by small business administration,

The SBA gave out $14.5 billion (with AB) in taxpayer money, as opposed to the loans it made under Paycheck Protection ProgramNever have to pay back.

Brown and Malone each received $10 million, the maximum grant allowable under the program sponsored by the New York senator. chuck schumerwho claimed in a media release at the time that the funds would go to “independent live venue operators, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions such as live performing arts organizations and museums”.

However, dozens of other artists who had difficulty finding the shows they needed received similar SVGO funding.

In fact, Insider pointed to a Los Angeles-based financial management firm — NKSFB — that submitted grant requests to 97 different clients, who in turn scooped up more than a quarter billion dollars in free taxpayer funds.

There was no mention of how much the company took a cut in return for successfully securing grants, including that of “electronic-music superstar” Steve Aoki, who received a maximum of $9.9 million.

perhaps his grant was small because his estimated net worth It was huge – around 130 million dollars. This may help to explain why rapper Lil WayneBut $170 million“Only” $8.9 million was received from the program.

However, program rules allowed recipients to pay those who prepared their grant applications up to 15 percent of the funds they received.

However, those rules were reportedly so onerous that 30 percent of all applications were denied, as opposed to a rate of about one-tenth for PPP loans, Insider noted.

Schumer was honored by the Recording Academy in April for leading the funding bill to pass.

The SBA defended the program to Insider in a statement, claiming that it “has helped save thousands of entertainment venues and operators across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Meredith Lynsey Schade, who manages an off-off-Broadway theater company in 2020, defended the program, telling Insider, “SVOG was there to save us and propel us forward.”

“Now we can look back three years later and say there was not enough monitoring,” he said. “But the reality is, when there’s a fire burning, you look around and try to put that fire out.”

This article was originally published on western journal,

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