San Jose church repeatedly fined for defying health order received $340K in taxpayer money

Calvary Chapel San Jose, a church that faces more than $1 million in administrative fines for defying the state's public health order, received a sizeable taxpayer-funded loan through the Paycheck Protection Program.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Calvary Chapel San Jose, a church that faces more than $1 million in administrative fines for defying the state's public health order, received a sizeable taxpayer-funded loan through the Paycheck Protection Program.

According to newly-released data from the Small Business Administration, Calvary Chapel San Jose received a $340,400 loan on April 15. ABC7's analysis found that's nearly three times more than what the average Bay Area religious organization received.

RELATED: SJ church continues defying COVID-19 orders with plans for indoor Christmas Eve service

It's frustrating to those who are playing by the rules.

"I made a decision to lockdown, a complete lockdown," said Pastor Kangse Lee of Calvary United Methodist Church. "Safety comes first."

Lee received close to a $28,000 PPP loan to retain four people. But, it wasn't enough.

"We had to furlough three staff, it was very painful."

Indoor worship services are prohibited under the Santa Clara County Public Health Order. Yet, Pastor McClure is seen in this YouTube clip preaching to his indoor congregation this past Sunday Dec. 20 at 11 a.m.

WATCH: San Jose church fighting back against county as pastor faces fines, jail time for holding indoor services
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Several pastors made impassioned pleas Friday to keep their churches open to those suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite legal action from Santa Clara County after one church held indoor gatherings in violation of public health orders.



"If we each do our part and stay just within our household bubble, we can prevent people from dying," said Santa Clara Public Health Director Dr. Sara Cody.

According to Santa Clara County counsel James Williams, Calvary Chapel San Jose has continued to hold indoor services, without masks, since August - racking up more than $1 million in administrative fines.

"It's beyond disappointing, this situation there is shameful," Williams said.

RELATED: South Bay church moves services outdoors after racking up $112K in COVID-19 fines

SBA's data indicates, Calvary Chapel San Jose received their loan on April 14 to retain 70 employees.

"It's troubling to hear that an institution that is thumbing its nose at the courts and at the public health orders from the state and local levels is simultaneously turning around and taking taxpayer money from the federal government," Williams added. "That's quite concerning and a bit ironic."

According to the SBA, churches that can prove an economic need due to a direct impact from COVID-19 can qualify for PPP loans.


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"Our role is really to keep the economy going to help it recover so with that came helping churches be able to keep employees on payroll," said Miryam Barajas, SBA Region 9 Communications Director.

"Even to churches that aren't abiding by the rules?" ABC7's Stephanie Sierra asked.

"That's outside my scope to be able to comment on."

ABC7 reached out to Calvary Chapel four times over the past four days for comment and further clarification on how the $340,400 loan was spent. We specifically asked how many employees were retained with the loan.

The I-Team was told over the phone:

"Our finance staff was unavailable until January 5."

The ABC7 I-Team will stay on this story and follow up with Calvary Chapel San Jose when their staff can answer our questions.

ABC7's Lindsey Feingold contributed to this report.
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