SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) is calling on Veritas, one of the city’s largest corporate landlords, to return its $3.6 million small-business loan.
Pelosi issued a statement on Saturday that read in part:
“The Paycheck Protection Program is designed to be a lifeline to help vulnerable small businesses retain their workers and pay other expenses during the devastation of the coronavirus crisis. PPP loans should be directed first and foremost to the small businesses with the greatest need, particularly minority, women and veteran-owned businesses that are struggling.
Larger companies like Veritas, one of San Francisco’s largest corporate real estate management firms, which has billions in assets and access to liquidity through other sources, were not the intended beneficiaries of PPP loans. I join San Franciscans in calling on Veritas to return its PPP loan.”
In an email Saturday night, Veritas officials defended their loan.
“Many assume we are a $3 billion business based on the value of the buildings we manage, however that is far from the truth. In reality, we have many investors who are the owners of the buildings in the Veritas portfolio,” the company said. “To be clear, we are a management company, committed to maintaining our buildings – many of which are more than 100 years old – and making sure our residents have the best living experience possible, especially during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic. The entire family of Veritas brands – Veritas, GreenTree and RentNowSF – owns zero real estate.”
Unlike others who are seeking ways not to repay the loan, the company said that was not there plan.
“We are committed to repaying the PPP loan back in accordance with the Federal rules,” the email read. “We understand that some recipients of the loan are applying to make it a grant, however that is not our intention. This is merely a bridge to keep people employed and help their families, including making sure they have continued access to healthcare. The PPP loan is currently being used for its intended purpose – to save the jobs of our frontline workers – but we will not keep it.”
In a series of reports, KPIX has profiled dozens of tenants who are suing Veritas, accusing the company of harrassing rent-control tenants with constant renovations.
Other tenants say they’ve endured rent increases as Veritas has passed along its mortgage debt.
Veritas claims it qualifies for the loans because it has fewer than 200 employees. The company told KPIX recently that it plans to use the PPP loan money to bring back furloughed employees, ranging from maintenance workers to building managers.