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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

SBA administrators should be punished

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Did you see the report last week about the Small Business Administration loan program for businesses hurt by the Sept. 11 terrorist attack? Had you read the report, you would agree that every single top official at the SBA should be fired at the very least. Some jail time for tampering with our tax dollars would also be appropriate.

Here's what happened. Following the terrorist attack, the federal government wanted to make billions of dollars available through the SBA for low-interest loans to businesses impacted by the bombings. But the SBA told banks that they wouldn't be questioned on any loan request and started handing out money like a drunken sailor - no offense intended to drunken sailors.

Just a fraction - 9 in 59 loans in one sampling - actually went to businesses harmed in the Sept. 11 events. In fact, in 85 percent of the loans, the SBA failed to document that the money was needed to rebuild after the attacks.

Among those receiving SBA loans for disaster relief were a radio station in South Dakota, a Virgin Islands perfume shop, a Utah dog boutique and more than 100 Dunkin' Donuts and Subway sandwich shops in various locations. In just about every case, the loan recipients were unaware they were receiving disaster relief money.

Well Congress is now investigating and heads at SBA will likely roll. And while they're at it, maybe some bankers need to provide some answers as well. Did the bankers know the purpose of the federal money but allowed greed to motivate their decisions on the loans? Somebody needs to answer the question.

Every single person at the SBA who had a hand in this matter should be fired. And they should be denied employment with the government at any level for life. You can recognize a crook with a handgun. It's more difficult to recognize a crook in a suit and tie.

If this is how the SBA hands out billions of our tax dollars, then the SBA needs to disappear. Instead of spending hours questioning a Supreme Court nominee, maybe Congress would be better served by determining who is wasting our tax dollars.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen