READING (CBS) – A man from Reading said his restaurant was on the verge of collapse as he waited for a federal loan that had been suspended due to an administrative error.
You can hear the pride and passion in John Ryan’s voice. “We offer home-cooked meals, everything here is made fresh,” he said.
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The Green Tomato Kitchen in Reading has been serving comfort food for 19 years and never struggled until the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We closed on St. Patrick’s Day and we usually cook around 400 dinners, so we had to donate just about all of that product,” Ryan told the I-Team. “But I prefer my employees to be safe rather than sorry.”
At the start of the pandemic, the Green Tomato Kitchen was closed for two months. “We’ve lost 50 percent of our business,” Ryan said. “The little restoration that we had going on is completely gone now, so we only rely on take out. “
Seeking help, he turned to the Small Business Administration and got approval for a loan of $ 150,000 for pandemic relief on July 22, 2020.
But because there was a typo in Ryan’s bank name and account number, the SBA didn’t give him the money. “It was very frustrating, the phone calls every week and people saying things were being done and then they were learning it wasn’t being done,” he said.
On the verge of shutting down, John tried to get a loan from a local bank, but his credit report showed he got the loan from the government and, to make matters worse, the SBA was charging him money. interest on money he never got.
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Ryan said that before the pandemic, the restaurant employed 14 people. Now they have eight. “They all have families,” Ryan said. “They need this job just like me. I am 58 years old, there is nothing else I can do.
Congressman Seth Moulton said he clawed back nearly $ 1.5 million in SBA loans for voters. “There are a lot of businesses that are at risk of going bankrupt just because they don’t get the loans that have been promised to them by the US government,” Moulton told the I-Team.
“They are clearly overwhelmed and they have to do a better job,” Moulton said. “Because people like John and big companies like Green Tomato are being left behind and we need these companies, they are part of the fabric of our community. “
The I-Team contacted the SBA about Ryan’s loan and was told the money would be deposited into his bank account.
Congressman Moulton’s office also opened a file on the case last week – and Ryan received the money on Monday.
Grateful for the support of his employees and the community and for securing the loan funds, Ryan told the I-Team: “Whatever you have done, whatever magical people you have spoken to, I want to say thank you as well as to Seth Moulton’s office.
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The Boston office of the SBA states with the two main loan programs:
- Paycheck Protection Program approved unprecedented 118,384 loans totaling $ 14.31 billion to keep employees in touch with their employers
- Economic Disaster Lending Program has secured 59,915 approvals (as of 10/19) for a total of $ 3.49 billion to meet the working capital needs of businesses affected by the Covid-19 disaster