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As a way to help answer questions and concerns weighing heavily on the minds of members amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) tapped the legal team at Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC of Woodland Park, N.J., to address association members via an interactive Zoom meeting on April 16.
Led by attorneys Joshua Bauchner and Rahool Patel, the 45-minute virtual discussion covered various issues and inquiries regarding the CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and insurance and landlord/tenant concerns.
Bauchner and Patel gave members an overview of how the PPP loan works. Those who applied for the loan can get the equivalent of two-and-a-half times payroll expense for a single calendar month. Patel explained the interest rate of the loan is one percent, the term is two years and no payment needs to be made within the first six months. However, loan repayment may not be an issue for most; the loan is forgivable for employers showing proof that 75 percent of the funds are used for payroll, health insurance or retirement account contributions. Employers have eight weeks from the time the funds are received to use the funding as intended by the government.
“If you use at least three-quarters of that loan for this, I believe 100 percent of that loan is forgivable,” said Patel. “Essentially, this gives employees a strong incentive to pay their employees at least 75 percent of their salary or, if they were laid off, to return them to work.”
Many members expressed concerns over reports stating that funding has already been exhausted. Bauchner noted that if this became the case and the government provides extra funding, everyone who had not yet received funds will have to apply again.
Bauchner also shared advice on the topic of insurance and business interruption claims.
“We’ve been advising our clients to file under any policy they have,” said Bauchner. “Don’t be shy. Worst-case scenario, they deny coverage. But if you don’t file a claim, you waive the right to get anything.”
Members also learned about pending legislation coming down the pike in New Jersey that can aid business owners who are having a hard time paying rent. This would allow tenants to defer rent payments for the time being, allowing them to use any funding they have to pay employees by eliminating the expense of rent. This would not be a forgivable loan, as rent payment would be due at a later time.
AASP/NJ President Jerry McNee (Ultimate Collision Repair, Inc., Edison) was thankful for the information provided in the special meeting.
“This was new advice outside of what we may have heard before,” said McNee. “This was a whole other take as it came from a legal standpoint. We were given some good ideas on how to look into saving some money.”
Added AASP/NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant, “Many thanks to Joshua and Rahool for putting on the webinar to inform and assist the members of AASP/NJ. The information was eye-opening and helpful to better understand the many options being made available.
“Because of the many complicated requirements that must be met on the applications, I strongly recommend that members obtain the assistance of professionals like the people from Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC rather than deal with it on their own. The association is here for our members during this difficult time, and the AASP/NJ hot Line is available to answer your questions and assist with issues and problems all day, every day. Stay safe.”
For more information on AASP/NJ, visit aaspnj.org.