L.A. Lakers Latest Private Company to Return PPP Funds

The $4.4 billion basketball team is giving back its $4.6 million loan, but they aren’t the only non-public business to backpedal.

April 28, 2020 2 min read

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: After returning a $4.6 million loan paid out as part of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program relief fund, a Los Angeles Lakers spokesperson commented to CNN Business that their organization “qualified for and received a loan under the Payroll Protection Program. However, once we found out the funds from the program had been depleted, we repaid the loan so that financial support would be directed to those most in need. The Lakers remain completely committed to supporting both our employees and our community.”

The $4.4 billion basketball franchise’s statement is a riff on the mea culpa we’ve grown accustomed to hearing as numerous large companies voluntarily return their multimillion-dollar PPP allocations. (Whether they’re compelled by a conscientious awakening, corporate optics or the need to avoid federal penalties per updated SBA guidance is up to the imagination.)

Related: Which Public Companies Have Returned Their SBA PPP Loans?

As we have documented, the majority of companies who’ve given back the money — which will be placed back in the SBA kitty for disbursement to other businesses — are publicly traded, but the Lakers are unique in that they are privately held. However, they’re not alone in that distinction. Privately held fast-casual salad chain Sweetgreen announced last week that it was returning its $10 million loan, with its co-founders — one of whom made the news last year for purchasing a $21.4 million home in Beverly Hills —  writing on Medium, “We learned that the money had run out and so many small businesses and friends in the industry who needed it most did not receive any funds. Knowing that, we quickly made the decision.” 

Other non-publicly traded PPP loan returnees have included the housing association representing a private island for wealthy residents off the coast of Florida, and there are even reports of individual homeowners who employ domestic staff putting their hat in the ring for funds.

We will update this story as more information becomes available.

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