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Trump’s Paycheck Protection Program and the future of Roosevelt Island farms

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The future for Roosevelt Island farms grew rosier when Trump’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) came through for one. Editor’s note: Not a joke.

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Researching our story on businesses that got PPP loans for Roosevelt Island, we stumbled upon something odd. Our friend, whose name shall remain nameless, got a nifty loan for his small business.

But the thing is, we never knew he had one.

The Paycheck Protection Program, administered by Trump, sent money to banks in support of loans they approved for small businesses.

Those businesses included churches and nonprofits, as we found out. The money supported two months of payrolls, keeping operations afloat.

My friend, according to the report, had only a single employee with a fairly handsome income.

About the future of Roosevelt Island farms…

My curiosity stoked, I looked a little farther into and found that my friend’s small business was… wait for it… a corn farm. Right here on Roosevelt Island.

The history of farming on Roosevelt Island is well documented. The Blackwells, after which the place was once named, were farmers. And was the custom, various prisons, poorhouses and mental institutions probably had gardens providing food.

rice field
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But the future was not so clear.

Sure, we have iDig2Learn, the Living Library and a lovely community garden, but corn?

So, I asked my friend about his corn farm, and he shot back a firm, “No.”

He did not know about any corn farm, but when I volunteered to help him go out and find it, he also said, “No.”

Unequivocally.

So, what’s going on here?

According to Reuters, the Trump administration “…failed to demonstrate sufficient ability in the program to prevent fraud and abuse.”

In just the first of two rounds of PPP loans, the Justice Department “…charged 57 defendants for attempting to steal more than $175 million from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).”

We don’t know how our friend made the loan list, five figures in cash coming from a Manhattan bank, but neither does he.

Sadly, for help, he turned to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. Sadly because Maloney’s constituent services are about as useful as a flat tire on a cold winter night. We knew that from deflating experience.

We don’t know what comes next, but if you spot a corn farm anywhere on Roosevelt Island, alert us immediately. We’ll hook it up with its rightful owner.

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