Newly released document shows which Brookfield companies are receiving COVID relief grants


BROOKFIELD — A DJ, a photographer, a tutoring center and a handful of restaurants and salons are among more than a dozen local businesses that have received federal grants handed out by the city, according to a newly released document.

After initially saying the information would be kept confidential, the city provided the list of 42 local businesses that applied for the grants following a Freedom of Information Act request from Hearst Connecticut Media. The companies applied for financial assistance through a small business grant program funded with $200,000 directed to the city under the US American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA.

Funds for the grant program were approved by Brookfield voters in April and come from a portion of the $5.26 million in federal taxpayer money distributed to Brookfield through the ARPA program.

Brookfield Small Business Grant Program by Trevor Ballantyne on Scribd

Republican first-team coach Tara Carr previously claimed that the names of the companies, and the amount of grants given to those approved under the program, “are very private information” and “no company has said they want that this information be disclosed.”

But in response to Hearst’s request for public records in early May, Brookfield attorney Dennis Kokenos provided a document last week listing the 18 companies that have received or been approved to receive up to to $5,000 in federal aid, along with a list of the 24 companies that were denied a requested grant and those whose applications are still awaiting final approval.

Among the businesses that have already received funding is JJ Stacks, a restaurant on Federal Road that opened in August 2020 and has since faced challenges including staff shortages and a kitchen fire. The Risha Corporation, which runs the local metro, also got a grant.

Nine companies, including Brookfield Auto Care and Sounds Incredible Mobile, a car audio store, were rejected.

According to the document, the city had sent checks to five local businesses for $5,000 as of May 23, with 12 other applications approved to receive individual grants of the same amount, as well as another business set to receive a grant. check in the amount of $2,500.

Fifteen applications for the grant program were due for review on June 2, while nine applications were declined, according to the list.

Per grant program rules, applications are checked for eligibility to ensure they qualify as a Brookfield business or certified non-profit organization that is “physically located and registered” with the city. . Applicants must also have “pre-COVID-19 annual gross income of less than $1 million.”

Additional qualifications state that the applicant “must be currently active and open for business; and applicants must be in good standing and current on their federal, state, and local tax obligations and have no liens or judgments.

Brookfield community development specialist Greg Dembowski noted that at least five of the businesses deemed rejected for the grant program, “are not even in Brookfield, they [are] Danbury Businesses.

“We’ve spent quite a bit of time validating that they’re not a Brookfield company, they’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to convince us that they are, but they’re not registered with Brookfield, their address commercial is in Danbury – in our mind they are ineligible,” Dembowski told the Selectman board last month.

In addition to wanting to protect the companies’ privacy, Carr said names were removed during the review process to maintain objectivity by a special commission formed to review applications. A special commission reviewed the companies’ qualifications and ranked their priority, then Carr decided who should win the grants based on that review.

“The process was to be free from outside interference,” she wrote in an email Tuesday. “In an effort to maintain the integrity of the process and not poison the well, so to speak, by releasing the names of candidates, we, [the Board of Selectmen] agreed that maintaining the confidentiality of the selection was the best way to ensure the purest process.

“Just as there are individuals who have struggled for [COVID] and seek redress, maintaining confidentiality can protect them from possible unfair judgment by their community,” she added.

The finance president asked for the same information

About a month before Hearst submitted his request for records, Finance Council Chairman Glenn Rooney, a Republican, requested information about the candidates from the city with his own request for records, but was told that the document he was looking for listed the names of the candidates. did not exist.

“I’m a little lost because we don’t have a register of companies that have applied? Is it just a stack of apps? What happens if an application is misplaced? We would have no record of this,” he wrote in an email to Kokenos before deciding to withdraw his investigation.

On Tuesday, Rooney explained that he had asked for “information so I could see if the word was coming out and who seemed to be responding”.

“Many small business owners had asked me if we were going to release ARPA funds to support them and I wanted to make sure [they] were aware of the timelines and also who, and how many applied for this grant,” he said.

Rooney said he was “confused” why his request was denied when the city returned a similar request submitted by a reporter, but didn’t seem surprised.

“I also asked our first coach for more information and [the town’s attorney] and encountered resistance to these demands,” Rooney continued. “That makes it very difficult as a member of the Finance Council to do our job effectively.”

Checks cashed as of May 23:

1. Spin Doctor Entertainment – $5,000

2. JJ Stacks – $5,000

3. Stanford Bernard Schupper, Brookfield photographer – $5,000

4. The First Bite – $5,000

5. Golden Leaf Chinese Restaurant – $5,000

Applications approved; but checks not yet cashed as of May 23:

1. The Hummus and Pita Company – $5,000

2. Risha Corporation, Metro – $5,000

3. Gluten-Free Oasis – $5,000

4. Ladybug – $5,000

5. Sylvan Learning Center – $5,000

6. TITL Ventures, LLC, Expedia Cruises – $5,000

7. Fine print image, no ink possible – $5,000

8. Lauren Edwards, LLC, Eurolux Salon and Day Spa – $5,000

9. Tree For You, LLC, Worthy of You – $5,000

10. Diamond Nail Beauty – $2,500

11. Brookfield Cleaners – $5,000

12. LB of Brookfield, LLC – $5,000

13. Ship Shape Cleaners – $5,000

Applications awaiting approval:

1. Candlewood Foods and Beverages

2. New hair studio

3. A living room for you

4. Sportography

5. All professional windows

6. Reach Western CT

7. Magical grooming for dogs and cats

8. True colors and painting

9. Rx-Vitamins Foundation and Supplement Store

10. CONWEB Manufacturing

11. Shala Kisling, LMT

12. Brookfield Moms Club

13. J&J Fine Wines and Spirits

14. Ultimate Welding Products

15. Auto de Lang

Applications refused:

1. Washaz Ice Co.

2. Plaza Lounge

3. Kamco’s true value

4. Village Florist

5. Brookfield Car Care

6. Incredible mobile sounds


8. Fine print images

9. Brookfield Auto Care, LLC


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