Louisiana’s Main Street Recovery Grant Program, a business assistance fund that state GOP lawmakers created last year with $275 million of pandemic-relief money intended for local governments, ended Thursday after issuing $262 million in grants to 20,751 small businesses, according to a press release from State Treasurer John M. Schroder. There were also 107 applications for money that the treasurer considers “cases of fraud.”
Schroder boasted about some of the program’s milestones, such as providing four times the number of grants required by law to businesses owned by minorities, veterans or women, and helping small businesses in all 64 parishes. He also referred a number of suspected fraudulent applications to the state’s inspector general.
“To date, 107 applications have been turned over to the Office of the Inspector General for investigation,” the press release stated. “Updated Paycheck Protection Program data received in December flagged instances in which people received money but shouldn’t have.”
Nothing further was mentioned about the alleged fraud, but the Illuminator has requested additional details and will follow up on this story when that information becomes available.
The Main Street Recovery Program was funded with money Republican lawmakers carved out of the $800 million in COVID-19 relief money that Gov. John Bel Edwards intended to disburse to local governments.