Maine Farm No One Has Heard Of Receives $ 1.2 Million P3 Loan | Maine News
BRIDGTON, Maine (AP) – A nearly $ 1.2 million Paycheck Protection Program loan granted to an organic farm operator purportedly located in western Maine has raised suspicion after the massive disclosure of Federal files on the Small Business Assistance Program.
According to documents released by the US Small Business Administration, Common Ground Organic Farm LLC, based in Bridgton, received the loan. Records show the company claimed to have 91 employees.
There is no company of that name registered in Maine and the local insurance company that owns and operates the business address used by Common Grounds said they had never heard of the company, reported the Portland Press Herald.
The loan sparked suspicion when it was discovered in a database of companies in Maine that had received loans in excess of $ 150,000. Members of Maine’s organic farming community noticed the large staff and their address that matched an office building far from areas best known for large-scale farming.
A spokesperson for the SBA said the agency could not provide any further details regarding the reported loan.
“The agency is unable to provide a timeline for the resolution of many identity theft complaints,” SBA spokeswoman Elizabeth Moisuk said in response to an email. “Evidence of waste, fraud and abuse with any of the SBA’s loan programs is not tolerated and should be reported. “
A small business in DeLand, Florida was found during an online search that was previously called Common Ground Organic Farm LLC.
In a telephone interview with the newspaper, the co-owner of that business, Pat Joslin, said that she and her husband not only ditched the word “organic” from the company’s name in 2011, but her business was not eligible for PPP because of the way they do their taxes.
Joslin said the couple ran the farm themselves, did not have full-time employees, and did not have any significant debt.
“We couldn’t even have applied,” she said. “There is no way – I have no pay.”
The couple received a notice from the SBA last month saying that starting next September, the farm is expected to start repaying $ 730 per month on their loan.
“As a farm, we’ve never taken out a loan on anything,” Joslin said. “We’ve been here 12 years, so we understand this. We went, ‘Holy shit.’ “
The couple immediately contacted the SBA and are awaiting a response.
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