Aspen Institute returning $8M coronavirus PPP relief loan

Some recipients have come under fire for applying for loans, which many believe should be reserved for mom-and-pop businesses.

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The Aspen Institute, an international nonprofit think tank, has said it will return a coronavirus relief loan it received through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.

The nonprofit defended its decision to apply for the cash, but institute said it remained committed to helping the world recover from the global pandemic, in a statement issued on Thursday.

“We believe that our application, which was made in the first week of the PPP, was consistent with the goals of the program,” the statement read referring to the paycheck program. “Upon listening to our communities and further reflection, we have made the decision to return the loan.”

CORONAVIRUS AND PPP FRAUD: WHO THE GOVERNMENT IS WATCHING

The group, which received $8 million, has a number of notable names on its board of trustees, ranging from former Disney chair Michael Eisner to former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to Hyatt Hotel president Mark Hoplamazian.

As noted by The Washington Post, who first reported the $8 million loan, the Aspen Institute had an endowment valued at $115 million at the end of 2018.

CORONAVIRUS PPP LOAN RECIPIENTS IN 'PANIC' OVER UNINTENTIONAL FRAUD AS SAFE HARBOR DEADLINE LOOMS 

Some larger companies that have committed to returning the funds include Shake Shack, Ruth’s Chris and AutoZone.

The SBA extended the window for business owners to return their cash if they believe they are not eligible under the program’s evolving terms and conditions until May 18. The original deadline was May 7.

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Meanwhile, the government has indicated it will focus its enforcement actions and efforts on companies that received loans of more than $2 million.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told FOX Business people who receive and keep the money – who should not – could be held criminally liable.

President Trump on Wednesday reiterated during a press conference that there would be consequences

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