Daily Wire reported that the international sushi restaurant and hotel chain co-founded by Robert De Niro accepted as much as $27.7 million in loans from the government as part of the Paycheck Protection Program.
De Niro co-founded the luxury hospitality company with chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa, and film producer Meir Teper.
Their restaurant, Nobu, reportedly accepted as much as $27.7 million distributed throughout 14 loans. CNBC reported that this number could be as low as $11 million, due to the method that the Small Business Administration uses to report loan amounts.
Several large chains like Shake Shack and Ruth’s Hospitality qualified for small business loans, but returned them after a rash of headlines called attention to well-funded giants receiving money meant for small business that were struggling during the pandemic. Wendy’s and McDonalds also appeared on the list of loan recipients.
The government has embarrassed large corporations for requesting loans while keeping the names of other companies quiet if they immediately returned the loans to the government.
Daily Wire reported further on the controversy surrounding the Paycheck Protection Program.
Shake Shack, for instance, gave back the $10 million in PPP loans it received, while Ruth’s Chris, a nationwide steak chain, returned $20 million. “As we watched this opportunity play out over the weeks, it was very clear that the program was underfunded and wasn’t set up for everyone to win,” Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti told CNN at the time. “By returning our $10 million, that $10 million can go back into the pot and go to the people that deserve it. We hope it can go inspire the next round.”
Other millionaire-owned businesses include Kanye West’s clothing company, Yeezy LLC, which reportedly received a loan between $2 million and $5 million from the PPP, according to the data released Monday.
While the government payments are called “loans,” they are forgivable if the businesses that received them can show they used the money to continue paying their employees.