Adam Schrader, Daily Mail, May 12, 2021
A lawsuit has been filed against President Joe Biden’s administration for prioritizing restaurants and bars owned by women and minorities in its COVID-19 relief package, arguing white men are being ‘pushed to the back of the line’ for aid for their eateries.
The lawsuit, which names U.S. Small Business Association Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman as the defendant, was filed by a conservative legal outfit on behalf of Antonio Vitolo, the owner of Jake’s Bar and Grill in Harriman, Tennessee.
The suit comes after the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan Act established the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund – which the SBA said ‘would only process and fund priority group applications’ from May 3 to May 24.
Those ‘priority groups’ include businesses majority-owned by women, veterans, or those who are ‘socially and economically disadvantaged’ such as applicants ‘who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias,’ the SBA said.
‘In March 2021, the United States pushed aside equality under the law by enacting a grant program that gives special treatment based on race and gender,’ the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty wrote in the lawsuit.
The suit added that the business was harmed in a number of ways.
‘First, they have been pushed to the back of the line, regardless of when they applied, for a limited fund that may run out before their application is processed,’ the lawsuit reads.
‘Second, even if the fund does not run out, Plaintiffs are harmed by being treated differently because of their race and gender during the application process for a grant under the Restaurant Revitalization Fund program.’
The lawsuit claims that the SBA ‘adopted a firstcome, first-serve queue to process grant requests until the money runs out, but has then re-sorted applicants within the queue based on their race and gender.’
The suit claims Vitolo immediately applied for aid May 3 when the SBA started accepting applications but doesn’t qualify to receive aid yet because he’s a white male. His wife is Hispanic and owns 50% of the restaurant, just shy of the 51% requirement to be considered a women-owned business.
‘I do not want special treatment. I just want to be treated equally under the law. I am opposed to race and sex discrimination, and I would hope my government lived up to the same principle,’ Vitolo said in a press release from the legal group.
The group argues the gender and race distinctions are unconstitutional and is seeking an immediate halt to payouts under the program until the government starts processing them on a first-come, first-served basis.