Josh Brown defends PPP loan decision against ‘disgusting’ criticism


Josh Brown is cleaning the air after he and his company, Ritholtz Wealth Management, $ 1.3 billion, criticized social media for taking out a government-backed coronavirus relief loan.

Brown (pictured), the company’s chief executive, told Citywire that taking the Paycheck Protection Program (P3) loan was the “obvious and smart thing to do.”

“The alternative is to do nothing, then the recession gets worse and you have to say to your staff, ‘Sorry, we can’t keep you,” Brown said. “So why the hell would a business owner go “He’s in a position to let people go? I have 32 people. I know them. I know their families. I don’t do that.”

Brown first revealed the existence of the loan in a blog post on Monday, saying the company had requested the financing in order to protect employee wages.

“I’m never comfortable with debt, but I’m even less comfortable with having to let people go,” he wrote. at the time.

Two days later, the company disclosed the existence of the loan on a Form ADV it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), without specifying the exact amount it received.

Critics of Ritholtz and other RIAs who have taken out PPP loans argue that the funds should go to companies most directly affected by the pandemic and the resulting lockdown, which has crippled economic life in the United States.

In one Appearance Thursday on MSNBCBrown further defended the decision to take out the loan.

“You won’t hear the other 4.5 million small businesses that went to their bank and said, ‘I better do something to save my business. “You won’t hear from them,” Brown said on the network. “You will hear from me because I’m a blogger and I’m on Twitter and I’m on TV, and I have the guts. to go out and say I’m glad my bank was able to help me when I had nowhere else to turn.

Thursday, a publication on Brown’s blog, writing from his perspective, shared the TV appearance and said critics of the company did not understand how the PPP program works.

“People who start businesses have a dream. They hire people whom they hope will share this dream. They don’t want free government shit, ” the post said. “They risk everything to make this dream come true. And then there are people who spit on them in their most vulnerable moments. It’s disgusting.’

The Small Business Administration (SBA) can cancel up to 100% of loan proceeds used for payroll, rent, mortgages, and utilities if the borrower does not fire a full-time employee within eight weeks of the loan. loan financing and at least 75% of the amount remitted is used to cover the payroll.

In Monday’s first post, Brown did not address whether his company would actually be asking for a pardon. In subsequent posts and on MSNBC, Brown has said he hopes to avoid doing so.

“I have no government money. I don’t have taxpayers’ money. It’s not a bailout, ”he told Citywire on Friday. “You have to wait eight weeks to apply for a forgiveness, so it hasn’t even been eight weeks since the loans were repaid.”

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