Beaufort County’s private golf wards and gated homeowners’ associations have secured at least $ 8.5 million in small business loans under the federal government’s massive paycheck protection program, according to the reports. data.
The loans, which are repayable, ranged from at least $ 150,000 to $ 1 million each, according to data released in early July by the Small Business Administration and the US Department of the Treasury. The program was created to help small business owners cover the wages or rent of employees, among other things. The loans were calculated according to the needs of the payroll.
Some POAs in Beaufort County said last month the program helped them retain workers as the coronavirus spread through the Lowcountry, although most do not say exactly how they used the loans.
But a Charleston County POA drew the wrath of heads of state earlier this year after taking advantage of the P3.
U.S. Representative Joe Cunningham, a Democrat who represents South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, criticized the Kiawah Island Community Association for accepting a $ 1 million PPP loan.
“Congress has approved spending billions of dollars in taxpayer dollars to help small businesses weather this storm and get paychecks to their employees, not to fill the wallets of giant corporations or wealthy community associations that have millions of dollars in reserve, “Cunningham said in a statement. declaration released by his office in April.
The Kiawah Island Association repaid his loan after the public reprimand.
PPP loans in Beaufort County
On July 6, the SBA disclosed the names of businesses and nonprofits that received a P3 loan of $ 150,000 or more, according to federal officials, although some local business owners challenge data lending ranges.
The following POAs and private golf communities in Beaufort County have each received PPP loans of $ 1 million to $ 2 million, according to the data:
Other POAs and private golf communities have secured loans of $ 350,000 to $ 1 million, according to the data:
The Spring Island Homeowners Association also received a loan of $ 150,000 to $ 350,000, according to the data.
How was the money spent?
Beaufort County’s POAs and private golf communities have retained 989 jobs through P3 loans, SBA data shows. It is not known, however, how precise these numbers are.
Berkeley Hall, for example, used its P3 loan to keep around 45 employees on the payroll who would otherwise have been on leave, according to chief executive Adam Kushner. The club in the data was listed as having retained 134 jobs with a loan of $ 1-2 million. That’s close to the club’s total number of employees, Kushner said.
Similar gaps were seen across the country, with several companies claiming data on ‘jobs retained’ is simply wrong.
CEOs of half of the POAs and private golf communities that have secured P3s loans in the county did not respond to multiple phone calls asking for comment on the story.
Shelle McDermott, executive assistant to the CEO of Haig Point Club on Daufuskie Island, told The Island Packet that she was not interested in commenting on the club’s $ 1-2 million loan.
Likewise, general manager Leon Crimmins of the Long Cove Club declined to comment on the club owners association loan, which was between $ 350,000 and $ 1 million.
At Sea Pines, a $ 1 million to $ 2 million PPP loan helped Community Services Associates keep 110 jobs, SBA data shows.
Victoria Shanahan, director of finance and administration for Sea Pines CSA, said in an email that the association had used the loan to keep all employees on the payroll during the pandemic and to fund benefits.
Shanahan said the loan was also used to “offset the significant drop in income generated during normal operations,” citing months of reduced entry fee collection. It costs $ 9 for day visitors to enter Sea Pines.
No Sea Pines CSA employee has been put on leave due to the pandemic, Shanahan said.
Spring Island general manager Bill Griffon said in an email that the island’s POA used a loan of $ 150,000 to $ 350,000 to keep all employees working full time as the coronavirus spread. across the state. He did not respond to a follow-up phone message.
Kushner, the managing director of Berkeley Hall, said in an interview that the club’s PPP loan was entirely spent on the payroll.
The club, he said, is already facing a loss of $ 1 million this year from the pandemic. Without the loan, around 45 people would have been put on leave, he said.
“We were able to keep people employed,” Kushner said. “I think it was crucial.
Berkeley Hall had to call off weddings and temporarily close the golf course and its cottages to guests, he said. Thirty percent of the club’s annual income comes from “outside income,” which includes events, he said.
The club, he said, is like any other small business. And the pandemic has turned its operations upside down this spring, he said.
Repay a loan
Bill Kennedy, general manager of the Chechessee Creek Club in Okatie, said he was actively repaying the club’s $ 350,000 to $ 1 million PPP loan. Regions Bank approved the loan, according to data from the SBA.
“He doesn’t feel good,” Kennedy said, referring to the club owner, whom he declined to name.
Kennedy said the club had not laid off any employees due to the pandemic.
Proctor is registered on the website as director at Jane Street Capital, a global quantitative trading company. He did not respond to phone calls or emails this week asking for clarification as to why he wanted to repay the loan.
Businesses in Beaufort County, SC that have obtained PPP loans
Here is a searchable list of PPP loan recipients. Some companies have challenged the loan amounts shown below.