Gonzales councilman operated business without a license, records show

Tyler Turner (Courtesy:  The Advocate)
Tyler Turner (Courtesy: The Advocate)(WAFB)
Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 1:49 PM CST
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GONZALES, La. (WAFB) - Gonzales City Councilman Tyler Turner operated a business for nearly three years without a required business license, according to city officials.

The elected official has since paid penalties and interest for the time period during which he operated the business without a license, City of Gonzales officials told WAFB.

The business in question is a pressure washing business that Turner told city officials makes him about $5,000 per year, emails show.

The revelation came to light as WAFB recently started asking questions about $41,666.00 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that records show the councilman applied for earlier this year.

Turner, who is also coach at East Ascension High School, owns Applying Pressure, Pressure Washing and More, Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office records show.

In April 2021, federal records show Turner applied for a PPP loan in the amount of $20,833. The next month, he applied for another loan in the same amount of $20,833. For both loans, Turner indicated the business he was applying for had just one employee, the records show.

Much of the information about the PPP loan program is not subject to public records disclosure, including the actual application itself.

The Small Business Administration only releases basic details about each loan including the name of the person applying, their address, and the amount(s) they applied for. In Turner’s case, the name of the business that his PPP loans were intended for was not part of the public record.  Therefore, it is not possible to determine if the PPP loan was to be used for Turner’s pressure washing business or something else.

Turner’s pressure washing business is the only business listed under his name with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office.

WAFB first asked the City of Gonzales for a copy of Turner’s business license for the pressure washing company on Nov. 8, 2021.

At that time, we were told that he did not have a license, despite a city ordinance that requires it.

However, records show Turner actually obtained a business license the very next day, on Nov. 9, indicating his business had been operating in the city since 2018.

In an email to city officials, Turner explained how much he makes from his part time pressure washing business. “I probably made around $4,000-$5,000 per year,” the email said.

The Paycheck Protection Program offered loans to businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic to help keep them afloat.

The loans are “forgivable,” meaning business owners are not required to pay the money back if they later attest that at least 60 percent of the proceeds were spent on payroll costs.

Turner did not personally respond to numerous phone calls, text messages and emails over a period of weeks from WAFB seeking information about his business license and which business the PPP loan applications were for.

His attorney, Travis Turner, who is also his brother, contacted WAFB saying he was responding on behalf of the councilman.

 “We are not making any statements regarding the PPP loan,” Travis Turner said.  The attorney declined to answer any questions.

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