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White Bar Owner Responsible for SBA Halting Funds to Minority-Owned Businesses Received $600K in Relief

A new twist in the discrimination lawsuit leveled by three white business owners against the Small Business Association: All three received hundreds of thousands of dollars in relief money themselves

a sports bar’s outside area with red umbrellas and a yellow railing The Penn Hotel Sports and Raw Bar/Facebook

Last Friday, June 11, the Small Business Association announced that it had halted funds from its Restaurant Revitalization Fund to 2,965 small businesses when a Texas judge issued an injunction after three white business owners sued with claims of discrimination. The suit claimed that the SBA’s decision to prioritize applications from businesses run by socially and economically disadvantaged groups, like women, veterans, and people of color was unconstitutional.

It turns out, however, that the plaintiffs in the case — Eric Nyman of the Penn Hotel Sports & Raw Bar in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and Janice and Jason Smith of the Lost Cajun in Keller, Texas — received vast relief funds themselves only a week after the suit was filed, according to a report in the New York Times. Nyman had submitted an application for relief on May 3 and was told by the SBA that he was eligible for over $640,000 in relief. On June 1, the SBA paid out the full $640,425 to Nyman, despite his complaint that minority-owned businesses were getting preferential treatment.

The lawsuit was backed by conservative legal advocacy group America First Legal, an organization founded by former Trump aides Stephen Miller and Mark Meadows. And while Nyman and the Smiths have been paid out from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the nearly 3,000 businesses run by women and people of color will remain in limbo until the lawsuit is resolved. The SBA told the Times the minority-owned businesses whose approvals have been revoked as a result of Nyman and the Smiths lawsuit will be paid “once it completes processing all previously filed non-priority applications, and only then if the R.R.F. is not first exhausted.”