All In This Together

Further evidence that the “state of emergency” is more about power and wealth transfer than public health: the ritzy French restaurant where Gavin Newsom (among many Democrat pols) entertained his friends in flagrant violation of his own quarantine rules, keeps on profiting from its special connection.

And as Megan Fox at PJM notes, the story comes from an unlikely source – a mainstream media investigative unit:

But real journalists still exist and ABC7, a local station in the Bay Area, did an amazing piece of investigative work that uncovered that The French Laundry applied for and received more COVID relief than any other restaurant in town. And not just more, but seventeen times more.

The luxury restaurant where Governor Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Mayor London Breed were notoriously spotted dining during a COVID-19 surge, reportedly received millions in PPP funding.

Yountville’s highly acclaimed French Laundry received multiple loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, totaling more than $2.4 million, according to an ABC7 analysis of newly-released data from the Small Business Administration.

The French Laundry received two loans that were both approved on April 30, 2020. According to the SBA, the first loan was for more than $2.2 million to retain 163 employees. The second loan was for $194,656 to retain five employees.

ABC7’s analysis found the company received 17 times more than what the average Bay Area restaurant received.

Other restauranteurs weren’t so lucky.

“That’s a lot of money. But, what can I do about it?” said Dennis Berkowitz, former owner of San Mateo restaurant Vault 164.

Berkowitz struggled to get around $318,000 to retain roughly 50 employees. The loan amount wasn’t enough to sustain his business, and he was forced to sell the restaurant in July.

“I’ve had a 40-year run in the restaurant business, so I consider myself fortunate,” he said. “I really feel bad for the next generation of restaurateurs because they’re screwed.”

The investigative team at ABC7 ought to win an award for this one. They uncovered what we have suspected for a while. Most of those COVID loans went to the guys with the big bucks who can purchase influence, while the little guy got screwed. 

My hunch, on the other hand? Nobody in that newsroom will do lunch on Market Street again.

2 thoughts on “All In This Together

  1. I’ll say it again: none of the lockdown governors want to have to explain to a court or the legislature why their emergency orders are not arbitrary and capricious.

  2. I don’t know exactly what the relative pay scales for chefs at each restaurant were, but the relative numbers are $14k/person at French Laundry vs. $6k/person at Vault 164. Vault 164 charged up to $30/plate plus drinks and such, where French Laundry starts at $450/plate. I’m going to dare suggest that the difference in “effectiveness at getting subsidies” is about equal between the two restaurants.

    Probably the biggest scandal here is not the inequity of the bailout program, but rather the atrocity of liberal governors allowing COVID-19 positive patients to return to (or stay in) nursing homes before being declared not communicable, nursing home workers being treated the same way, and refusing to sanitize public transportation or even kick the bums off at night. Then you’ve also got the failure to recognize that kids are not generally susceptible to the disease, and keeping schools closed when kids could have become immune and started to provide herd immunity.

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