CHICAGO (CBS) — Forbes dubbed Kanye West a billionaire back in April, and said the Chicago native “really wanted the world to know.”
West said Forbes got it wrong, and he was worth several billions.
On Monday night, CBS 2 learned West’s fashion company, Yeezy, received millions from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, according to data from the U.S. Treasury’s Business Administration.
The $349 billion program administered by the Small Business Administration offered loans of up to $10 million to small businesses that were hampered by the pandemic.
As to the size of Yeezy, Forbes estimates it took home close to $1.3 billion in 2019.
West has making big moves during the pandemic. Last month, he inked a 10-year partnership with the Gap. A giant handwritten letter “to Chicago” was plastered onto the Gap store on the Magnificent Mile, promoting his new clothing line Yeezy Gap.
And on Saturday, West announced his attention to run for president.
West’s company Yeezy is just one of the businesses named by the U.S. Treasury Department Monday on its list of PPP loan recipients. It is a relatively short list compared to the actual number of loans given out.
The government only identified 15 percent of the nearly 5 million companies that benefited from the program.
Our investigative producers at CBS 2 spent the day digging through the numbers, and we now know more than $22 billion went to businesses in Illinois and $9 billion went to businesses in Indiana.
To compare, California received the most money at over $68 billion.
CBS 2 filed a Freedom of Information Act request in April for loan-level data. Our first report uncovered some of the public companies that had received the loans. Our second report dug deeper into companies, including a Cicero-based energy company, that were able to get loans despite not appearing to meet SBA’s definition of a small business.
As of the SBA’s latest summary report, more than $510 billion in PPP loans was issued across the country.
The SBA resumed accepting PPP loan applications Monday morning and will continue through Aug. 8.