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These Mass. Corporations Paid CEOs Hundreds of thousands Earlier than Taking Small Enterprise Loans – NBC Boston

The regular drumbeat of building exercise is aid to the ears of Marquita and Glen Kelley.

When the coronavirus pandemic paused building work in Boston, the couple apprehensive they’d should shutter their third-generation electrical enterprise for good.

“I believe we might’ve needed to exit of enterprise, if we weren’t in a position to get that loan,” Marquita Kelley stated.

The loan she’s speaking about got here by means of the federal authorities’s Paycheck Safety Program, which goals to assist small companies retain their staff through the public well being emergency. It gives loans of as much as $10 million, that are forgiven if companies hold workers on the payroll for eight weeks.

The loan gave the Dorchester couple the monetary voltage they wanted to maintain their 5 full-time workers.

“That was tremendous very important, as a result of we have been mainly hanging on,” Marquita Kelley stated.

However not each enterprise that obtained loans by means of the federal program is a mother and pop.

The NBC10 Boston Investigators discovered no less than two dozen publicly traded corporations in Massachusetts obtained the federal government cash, together with some that beforehand paid firm leaders multi-million greenback salaries.

Agenus Inc., a biotech headquartered in Lexington that develops new most cancers medication, took out a $6.2 million PPP loan final month, based on data it filed with the U.S. Securities and Alternate Fee.

SEC data additionally present Agenus paid its CEO a compensation bundle of practically $10 million final yr, together with cash, stock and choices to purchase extra shares within the firm sooner or later, although he later forfeited about $1.9 million of stock awards, based on the corporate’s filings.

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ConforMIS, Inc., a medical tools firm based mostly in Billerica that makes joint alternative elements, obtained a $4.7 million loan by means of the Paycheck Safety Program.

Final yr, it gave its president and CEO, Mark A. Augusti, a complete compensation bundle of $2.eight million, together with a base wage of $535,600, a bonus of about $200,000 and stock awards valued at $1.eight million, based on the corporate’s data.

And EyePoint Prescription drugs in Watertown took out a $2 million loan, roughly equal to the pay it gave its CEO, Nancy Lurker, in 2019.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has criticized flaws within the design and implementation of the Paycheck Safety Program, stated the small enterprise loans have been by no means supposed for big companies.

“For these people to be coming over and sucking cash out of the assistance that was made out there for small companies is basically unsuitable,” the Massachusetts Democrat stated.

Agenus not too long ago informed buyers that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has minimize prices by an estimated $50 million, and it has scaled again some analysis and growth applications, lowered manufacturing runs and slowed or paused some early trials, based on its SEC filings.

CEO Garo Armen has additionally agreed to obtain his wage within the type of stock within the firm in lieu of cash for the rest of 2020.

Conformis, which makes knee and hip replacements, furloughed about 80 workers in March. It accelerated plans to carry them again after qualifying for its PPP loan, based on Augusti, the CEO.

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“It will have been, I believe, irresponsible not to take a look at this system,” he stated.

In a press release, EyePoint Prescription drugs CEO Nancy Lurker stated the loan it obtained additionally helped keep away from layoffs.

“We now have adopted all acceptable steps to make sure that we meet the standards and imagine we do,” the assertion reads.

Corporations that received sizable loans will get some scrutiny from the federal authorities. The SBA has stated it would audit all loans over $2 million, checking if recipients have been actually eligible, and the way they spent the cash. Beneath the phrases of this system, loans have to be used for payroll, lease, mortgage curiosity or utilities.

Some giant companies have returned PPP loans after drawing scrutiny from the general public.

Kelley, the contractor in Dorchester, stated small companies have fewer choices, making this system a lifeblood for her and others.

“Large companies can get loans from banks and different assets,” she stated. “It is a lot tougher for a smaller enterprise.”

Oliver Smith

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