More on Emanuel 'Car Wash' Cleaver Coverage: AP Does Local Story, Doesn't ID Party or Black Caucus Chairmanship

April 9th, 2012 3:27 PM

Well, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, apparently has Missouri Democratic Congressman and Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver's back. As of 2:40 p.m., there is no national story relevant to Cleaver's unpaid $1 million-plus loan at the wire service's national site, even though information published by the Kansas City Star late Friday evening (interesting timing; HT to KC Star's David Helling, who later informed me that the story made Page A-1 of the Star's Saturday print edition, while the original received the same placement on Friday) indicates that taxpayers could be out up to $1.1 million because the Small Business Administration-backed a loan to Cleaver's car wash business back in 2002 which is has been seriously delinquent for years. The Bank has sued for repayment.

There is an unbylined local AP story which appears to have been published shortly after midnight on Monday (shown in full because of its brevity and for fair use and discussion purposes):


Predictably, the AP doesn't identify Cleaver as a Democrat, or as CBC Chairman, even though an earlier KC Star report at least did the former. Here's more detail from the late Friday the KC Star report by Helling and Steve Kraske:

Taxpayers could have to cover Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s bad loan Taxpayers could be on the hook for up to $1.1 million to cover a bad loan for U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s car wash in Grandview, the Small Business Administration said Friday.
SBA officials said the agency had guaranteed roughly 75 percent of the 2002 Bank of America loan to the firm that owns the business, Cleaver Company LLC. In a lawsuit filed March 30, Bank of America said the company — along with Cleaver and his wife, Dianne — owed more than $1.46 million in principal and interest on the loan.
That means the SBA, a federal agency charged with helping small businesses, could end up paying the bank three-fourths of Cleaver’s principal and interest debt, or roughly $1.085 million, if the Democratic congressman’s company cannot meet its obligations.
Officials cautioned that the exact amount of the SBA’s responsibility might not be known for months, and could be substantially less.
The bank’s lawsuit asks a Jackson County court to appoint a receiver for the car wash, who could sell or lease it to satisfy at least part of the debt, incurred before Cleaver was elected to Congress. Any of those proceeds would be used to reduce SBA’s exposure on the loan.
... If the SBA has to pay its loan guarantee, the funds will come from taxpayers and fees charged to lenders and borrowers. In its fiscal year 2012 budget request, the agency asked Congress for $161 million to cover higher than expected loan subsidy requirements.

The last paragraph indicates that SBA loan defaults, which have generally been a problem during almost the entire existence of the agency's loan programs, are increasing, or are at least expected to -- and these aren't "subsidy requirements," they're guarantee payments on defaulted debt.

As I asserted earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), "There is virtually no doubt that a Republican or conservative in similar circumstances would have had his or her party tagged early, would have had his or her congressional leadership capacity promptly identified, and would have been the recipient of national AP coverage."

Cross-posted at