HAMMOND, Indiana (CBS) “You’ve heard of David vs. Goliath—now how about Landlord vs. Feds?”
A Hammond, Indiana man fought for nearly a year to get a grant he was approved for after it was paid into a closed bank account. CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas went looking for answers.
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Owner Mike Atchison is focused on improving his property and his life. But lately, he says it hasn’t been so easy.
“The biggest issue is the issues I’ve had with tenants not wanting to pay their rent throughout the pandemic,” Atchison said.
Before inviting us to his fixer in Hammond, Atchison joined us via Zoom to explain how he applied for a small business grant last winter to stay afloat.
“It was like an emotional roller coaster,” Atchison said.
Shortly before being approved, he changed banks — then notified the Small Business Administration.
“I went ahead and changed the info over email, and called them,” Atchison said. “However, it went to the wrong one – the previous bank account.”
It sparked a 10-month back-and-forth of phone calls and emails between Atchison and the SBA as he tried to find a solution.
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“Very frustrating – the most,” Atchison said. “You know, I’m a very simple person, and I believe in a direct answer to a direct question.”
But Atchison said that was far from what he had. He turned to us a few weeks ago after an SBA employee wrote to him, “Due to high volume, there is no timeline” for a fix.
“It’s been physically, psychologically and emotionally – it’s been exhausting,” Atchison said.
So we contacted the SBA several times to ask what the problem was. They didn’t get back to us – but lo and behold, days after we investigated, they finally started helping Atchison, who was working on a property in Hammond.
“I guess whatever communications you had with the SBA, they eventually started calling me fairly frequently and making sure that was happening — and I’m very grateful for that,” Atchison said.
Now, finally, the loan is processed – this time for the correct account.
“I can’t tell you how relieved I am,” Atchison said.
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Despite our numerous emails to the Small Business Administration, no one has ever responded with an explanation for the mess of Mr. Atchison’s case.