The company that owns the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa, Ashford Inc., will return at least $70 million it received through the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, according to The New York Times.
The announcement came over the weekend after the feds announced new guidelines under the Small Business Administration for the types of companies eligible for the funds, which were intended to prop up small businesses threatened by the mounting economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ashford Hospitality Prime acquired the Park Hyatt, Beaver Creek’s cornerstone lodging property, for $145.5 million in 2017, according to Hotel Management.
Ashford, according to The Times, sought more than $126 million under the CARES Act bailout legislation – more than any other company. It will now return the majority of that money before a May 7 deadline in order to avoid federal audit.
In a statement on Saturday (pdf), Ashford executives defended the company’s aggressive pursuit of PPP money, citing an up to 90% drop-off in revenues for the hotel and hospitality industry.
Company officials said they followed all the rules for the program but that those rules changed on an almost daily basis. They added they were not trying to “crowd out” small businesses, and that additional funds are now needed to protect hotel companies from economic devastation.