Debt Woes Mount for Hotel Company Tied to Coronavirus Relief Loan Controversy

Ashford Hospitality Trust, one of the biggest beneficiaries of a U.S. small businesses coronavirus relief program — before it returned the money after being criticized — has a debt problem.

The Dallas-based lodging real estate investment trust, which owns properties like the Ritz-Carlton Atlanta and Le Pavillon in New Orleans, received $30 million from the Paycheck Protection Program under the $2 trillion U.S. coronavirus relief package.

Deep-pocketed companies and organizations like Ruth’s Chris Steak House and the Los Angeles Lakers received and returned their PPP loans after facing scrutiny, but Ashford Trust Chairman of the Board Monty Bennett initially held out, saying his trio of companies – which also include Braemar Hotels & Resorts and Ashford Inc. – legitimately qualified for the program and needed the money to make debt service and payroll obligations.

Bennett eventually promised to return the PPP money, but Ashford Trust is still in

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