President Donald Trump hosted restaurant industry business owners for a panel discussion on how to help the industry make a comeback after the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, and Houston’s Tilman Fertitta was in attendance .
The Landry mogul was joined by a slew of top restaurateurs and industry executives, including fellow Texan and Woodshed Smokehouse owner Tim Love. During the meeting, Fertitta explained why the Trump administration had to pump money into “big private restaurateurs” to stay afloat, while spending a lot of time talking basketball with Trump.
The main takeaway, however, is that even though his company was approved for a Payroll Protection Program loan through the Small Business Administration, Fertitta returned the funds because he did not want to be criticized for. to be “the billionaire who took small business money.” “I wanted to put 40,000 people back to work on May 1, but I couldn’t take the criticism,” Fertitta said of her decision not to take a PPP loan. “I took the money and sent it back and didn’t spend a dollar.”
In response, Trump overturned Fertitta’s decision to return the PPP money. “They found out that you are very rich and they said ‘what the fuck is this? Trump said of Fertitta’s reviews.
This is a bit surprising, as Fertitta has never been afraid to court controversy, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. At first, her company was criticized for cutting paid vacation time for employees at the Post Oak Hotel in Houston, a move that was ultimately overturned. He later described the time off as a “favor” to his 40,000 unemployed employees.
Fertitta also boasted at the meeting of being the first in the restaurant business to seek private investment in the leveraged finance market, referring to the $ 300 million loan (with a whopping 12% interest rate) he took out to keep his businesses afloat during shutdown. “I borrowed $ 300 million to increase my cash flow, but it was not enough to recruit all of my employees,” he says.
From there, the conversation turned to basketball and Trump pointed out that Fertitta had two very high earners over the Houston Rockets – James Harden and Russell Westbrook – making over $ 40 million a year. As Fertitta noted, these two people receive their wages through the collective agreement negotiated by their union. Perhaps it is time for all Fertitta employees to consider joining a union to get paid.