VAN NUYS (CBSLA) — A private jet company catering to Los Angeles’ wealthy elite took in tens of thousands of dollars from the federal stimulus program designed to help aviation companies during the coronavirus pandemic.
Clay Lacy Aviation, a private jet company operating out of Van Nuys Airport, has reportedly received a $27 million grant through the CARES Act.
“Whenever there is a crisis that requires a government bailout, it seems that the wealthy and the well connected are take care of, but meanwhile everyday Americans and small businesses are left to fend for themselves,” said Accountability.us president Kyle Herrig.
Accountable.US, which calls itself a watchdog organization that is committed to exposing government corruption and waste, has compiled a list of the recipients of the Payroll Support Program.
According to the website, big airlines like American and Delta received billions in aid, but private jet companies also got considerable sums.
“We have to ask ourselves whether private jet companies are the ones most in need of government dollars to help them out. I think most people would say they that they’re not,” said Herrig.
Accountability.US showed Clay Lacy Aviation received the most of any private aviation company.
Herrig believes that the large grant has something to do with the company’s owner and namesake, Clay Lacy.
“This individual has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Trump and the Republican party,” said Herrig.
Public records show Lacy donated $2,700 to Donald Trump in 2016, and more than $47,000 to the Republican National Committee the same year.
A spokesperson for the United States Treasury Department said eligibility for the funds was set by a bipartisan Congress and that, “political affiliation has absolutely no bearing on the Payroll Support Program, including applicant eligibility, the amount of assistance provided, or use of funds.”
According to the Treasury Department, the $27 million figure was based on compensation paid to workers during a six month period in 2019.
A spokesperson for Clay Lacey Aviation said the money will protect the jobs of its 500 employees. The company said it has seen a 94 percent reduction in flying activity because of the pandemic.