Legal action prevents minority-owned businesses from obtaining financial assistance in the event of a pandemic – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana weather



INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Diana Bryson is one of nearly 3,000 small businesses from minority groups that will not receive financial assistance in a pandemic due to an injunction against the US Small Business Administration.

The owner of Tilly’s Pub in Indianapolis said, “I did everything I was supposed to do, and now I’m not going to get it.”

The more than $ 27 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund prioritizes bars and restaurants owned by women, veterans and minorities. Bryson says she qualified and was approved to receive nearly $ 153,000 to help keep her afloat.

“I’m down 65% from 2019 to 2020,” she said. “The playing field on which women are seen if they are strong and the men who are seen if they are strong are not equal, and this gap needs to be closed.”

However, three lawsuits filed by a conservative legal group founded by Stephen Miller and Mark Meadows, aides to former President Donald Trump, represent white small business owners in Texas and Tennessee who say the fund’s priority is one. discrimination.

The North District injunction of the Fort Worth Texas Division states: “The Court finds that the plaintiffs will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a preliminary injunction because the plaintiffs suffer racial and gender discrimination from Government officials and the evidence submitted by the complainants indicate that the entire $ 28.6 billion RRF could be used up before the complainants’ claims can be considered for relief under the program. ”

the Restaurant Revitalization Fund prioritizes minority groups during the first 21 days of the program. Due to the injunction, the federal Small Business Association does not send any relief payments.

In a statement from the Small Business Administration, a spokesperson said, “While we cannot comment on the details of the litigation, it is the North Star of the US Small Business Administration in helping underserved small businesses, and we will continue to do so. We remain committed to doing all we can to help disadvantaged businesses get the help they need to recover from this historic pandemic and restore their livelihoods. “

While Bryson, a white female homeowner, has secured another bank loan to help her in the meantime, homeowners of color have historically struggled. Data from US Federal Reserve shows that black business owners were turned down for loans at twice the rate of white business owners.

“What these people can’t see is the economic influence and the infrastructure is still good for everyone,” said Anita Williams, board member of Indy Black Chamber of Commerce. “They generally understand the economy, and the money that goes into any city is good for everyone in that city.”

Bryson says, despite the odds, that she will never give up fighting for her business.

“It’s the home of a lot of people, not just me. You know, the people who come here are good people, it’s their second home,” she said. “But it’s been too long. can’t make my money stretch any further.

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