According to filings with the SEC, Bennett's three companies have secured $96.1 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans. And more may be on the way. According to a fact sheet produced by the three companies, they've applied for a total of $126 million in Paycheck Protection Act loans.
Will these funds be used to pay hotel employees? It does not appear that way. The loans will be forgiven by the government if 75% of the money is used for payroll expenses, up to a $100,000 annual salary for each employee. According to the companies' fact sheet, "it appears that we will only minimally qualify, and we will have to pay the balance back when it is due in 2 years." That suggests the bulk of the money will not be spent on qualified payroll expenses.
This seems to be a change from a few days ago when Bennett told the Wall Street Journal that "75% or more of the proceeds will be used to bring our employees back to work with the balance to be used to pay utilities, rent, and debt service to lenders." The companies have "laid off or furloughed 95% of staff."
Bennett, however, continues to do quite well. His total compensation in 2019 was $5,668,730, including a bonus $2,340,930. In March, as the pandemic devastated the economy, Bennett paid himself 75% of his bonus, or $1,755,697. The remaining $585,233 will be paid out, "promptly following" Bennett's "determination that the effects of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have subsided, but no later than December 31, 2020." Bennett has also taken an unspecified "significant pay reduction" on his $950,000 base salary this year.
In March, the companies also awarded $10 million in "preferred stock dividends" to certain shareholders. As a result, "Bennett and his father, a shareholder in one of the Ashford companies, received more than $2 million." According to the company, the figure is "only" half of what they were entitled to as owners of "preferred" shares.
So where is the money going to go, or has it already gone down the rabbit hole, into the pockets of a bunch of 1%-er who have already been feeding at the trough set-up by Trump and Republican-controlled Senate.