Brendan Pierson, Reuters, April 21, 2020
The $349 billion small business loan program passed last month as part of the federal coronavirus relief package discriminated against woman- and minority-owned businesses by prioritizing business with employees over those that do not, according to a lawsuit filed by two Maryland business owners.
The lawsuit was brought by Glitz and Glam Jewelry by LJ, solely owned and operated by LeTresa Williams, and by Alvin Vaughn, sole owner and operator of a financial services business.
They alleged that the loan program, which ran out of money last week, allowed businesses with employees to apply for loans before those without, which they said are disproportionately owned by women and minorities.
The lawsuit, filed Friday, accuses the U.S. Treasury Department and Small Business Administration of violating their right to equal protection under the Constitution, and seeks damages on behalf of a class of all woman- and minority-owned businesses without employees.