U.S. Treasury Secretary Bashes Los Angeles Lakers for Taking Exorbitant Loan

Brad Sullivan
2 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers received some stiff criticism from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday for originally accepting a $4.6 million loan from the federal government that was meant for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mnuchin appeared on the CNBC program “Squawk Box” to discuss how the administration of President Donald Trump has been dealing with the devastating financial losses of businesses.

The fact that the Lakers applied for and received money from the Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) program angered Mnuchin (at the two-minute mark), even after the team returned the loan.

“I never expected in a million years that the Los Angeles Lakers — which I’m a big fan of the team — but I’m not a big fan of the fact that they took a $4.6-million loan,” Mnuchin told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “I think that’s outrageous, and I’m glad they’ve returned it or they would have had liability.”

Technically, the Lakers met the qualifications, since the organization’s roughly 300-person workforce is less than the 500-person maximum amount.

However, obtaining the loan created a public relations nightmare for the team, which subsequently returned the money.

The Lakers were one of a number of prominent or publicly-traded companies that first accepted money before sending it back to the federal government amid heavy criticism.

Establishments such as Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Shake Shack and Potbelly Sandwich Shop returned even larger amounts, with car dealer AutoNation sending back $77 million.

The embarrassing information is the latest in a string of what’s been a season-long stretch of bad off-the-court news.

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Brad is a freelance writer for LakersDaily.com, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.