Ashford Hospitality Trust to Return PPP Loan, Appoints New CEO

by Taylor Williams

DALLAS — Ashford Hospitality Trust (NYSE: AHT) announced this weekend that it will return all funds from loans it received from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), citing recently changed rules that would have put the Dallas-based company at compliance risk. Ashford, whose portfolio includes some 120 U.S. hotels totaling nearly 25,000 rooms, has also made a change in leadership, replacing CEO Douglas Kessler with J. Robison Hays III as the company’s new president and top executive effective May 14. According to The Dallas Morning News (DMN), Ashford originally applied for $126 million in PPP loans, seeking relief for each hotel with 500 or fewer employees. Per the DMN, the company originally said that it had laid off or furloughed 90 percent of its workforce and would be using the funds to help get those employees back to work. The PPP was established as part of the CARES Act to provide relief to owner-operators amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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