Local Hospitals, N.H. Construction Firms Received Largest PPP Loans | New Hampshire Public Radio

Local Hospitals, N.H. Construction Firms Received Largest PPP Loans

Jul 7, 2020

Credit TONY WEBSTER, WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Rural hospitals, a software vendor and a demolition contractor in Salem were among the largest New Hampshire recipients of Paycheck Protection Program loans from the federal government, according to new data released Monday by the Small Business Administration.

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The release of PPP loan data comes after several national media outlets including the Wall Street Journal sued the Trump administration for its initial refusal to release the federal loan information to the public.

The PPP was funded through the federal CARES Act to assist businesses and non-profits with fewer than 500 employees impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the rules of the program, entities that used the funds toward approved expenses including payroll will have their loans forgiven. Companies that fail to use the money on payroll will have to pay back the loans at a small interest rate. 

In New Hampshire, more than 23,000 companies and nonprofits received loans, including New Hampshire Public Radio. 

Among the largest recipients were 14 companies that received between $5 and 10 million, according to the SBA. That included Androscoggin Valley Hospital, Speare Memorial Hospital and Huggins Hospital, all of which were hit hard by the closure of hospitals for all non-essential procedures. 

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New England Finish Systems, a building contractor based in Salem, also received between $5-10 million in loans, according to the SBA. Select Demo Services, a demolition company, received the same size loan. 

A McDonald’s franchise operator also received loans of more than $5 million. 

Local politicians' families also benefited

Waterville Valley Holdings, an investment group led by the family of Gov. Chris Sununu, received between $350,000 and $1 million. Before taking office, Sununu was CEO of the Waterville Valley Resort ski area, which was one of several New Hampshire resorts to receive PPP loans.

Companies connected to U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen received just under $3 million through the program, according to the senator’s campaign.

She disclosed the exact amounts received by five companies owned or partially owned by her husband, her youngest daughter’s clothing company, a health management company partially owned by her oldest daughter and nonprofit for which her daughter works as a consultant.

The loans ranged in size from $20,000 to $1.2 million, with the highest amount going to the Shaheen & Gordon law firm in Dover. Good Measures, the Boston-based health company co-owned by Stefany Shaheen, got $840,000. Shaheen’s campaign said the loans supported nearly 200 jobs.

“I was not involved in any way in applying for those loans nor do I have anything to do with their businesses, and Congress had no role in processing PPP applications,” Shaheen said in a statement. “From the beginning, I have called for transparency and oversight of this program and I am glad that all the information about all the PPP loans has now been made public."

The Colorado law firm owned by Corky Messner, one of the Republicans competing to challenge Shaheen in November, received between $2 million and $5 million, according to the Treasury Department. Messner’s campaign said he was aware of the decision to apply for the loan though he is not involved in the firm’s day-to-day operations. The campaign said it helped hundreds of employees all over the country.

A spokeswoman for Rep. Annie Kuster said a company run by her son, Travis, received a $63,000 PPP loan. The company, AEF Ice Systems, is a startup based in Brooklyn and employs five people, according to Kuster’s office.

More than 20,000 entities in the state received loans of less than $150,000. The SBA did not release the names of those companies.

Last week, New Hampshire released information about a state-run loan program also funded through the federal CARES Act. More than 5,000 businesses in the state received unrestricted grants, with the largest payouts capped at $350,000.

Material from the Associated Press was included in this story.

(Editor's note: The story was updated to include information about loans received by companies owned or partially owned by family members of U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, and by Senate candidate Corky Messner.)