“#Looted Bronx businesses need more than token help from the city and state”
June 23, 2020 | 8:10pm
At right, Tim Chen, manager of Wine and Liquors in the Bronx, which was looted back on June 1.
Yes, Mayor Bill de Blasio days later announced a $1.25 million grant fund to help out. But the $10,000 grants cover just a fraction of the losses — and are dead slow in coming.
The City reports that only five of 125 applications had been approved as of Monday. And many victims only received the forms a week or so ago.
Jessica Betancourt’s Bronx Optical Center lost over $170,000 in cash and merchandise to looters. She told the website the city’s response was “B.S.”
Most of the businesses weren’t insured for theft on this scale, and even those that were (like Planet Pharmacy, owned and operated by Nigerian immigrants) are struggling with the paperwork.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. slams the state as well as the city. Economic-development agencies should’ve rushed in to offer low-interest loans to these hard-hit small businesses, he says, calling it a lost opportunity to help minority-owned enterprises in a borough that was on the comeback trail.
“Mayor de Blasio — and Gov. Cuomo, too — are missing the opportunity to send a strong message to looters and vandals that they won’t surrender to destruction,” Diaz told The Post.
We’re no fans of economic-development programs, precisely because the benefits flow mainly to the politically connected. If they don’t work to help these shops now, that’s one more reason to zero them all out.
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