Antonio Vitolo, the owner, and proprietor of Jake’s bar and grill has taken to the courts suing the government for discrimination. The Tennessee-based restaurant owner has filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration and the Small Business Association Administration. Mr. Antonio Vitolo argues that white men have not been given priority when issuing COVID-19 relief to eateries and restaurants. Vitolo, working with a right-winged legal group, has named Isabella Casillas Guzman and the United States Small Business Association Administration as the defendants to the lawsuit. Through his legal team, the restaurant owner drafted his lawsuit, targeting President Joe Biden and other political leaders. This lawsuit comes after the Biden administration announced its decision to only process and provide relief to priority groups and marginalized communities. The relief funds released under the American Rescue Plan were aimed at helping military veterans, the business owned by individuals who have been faced discrimination based on their race, ethnic background, or cultural practices. Socially and economically disadvantaged business owners were also included in the relief plan.

Compared to male and white-owned businesses, those owned by these priority groups were greatly affected by the recent pandemic. Antonio’s lawsuit has attracted the attention of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty. In support of Vitolo’s case, the institute stated that the US had abandoned the push for equality by implementing a relief program that gave priority treatment based on gender and race. In his lawsuit, Vitolo mentioned the losses and challenged his business faced when funds were released to women, veterans, and minority-owned businesses. He goes on to argue that the white male has been pushed over to the back of the line regardless of the time period they applied. He further states that the limited funds issued by the government may exhaust before their applications are processed. Aside from being pushed to the end of the line, Antonio points out that the plaintiffs may feel discriminated against based on their race and gender when applying for funds under the Restaurant Revitalization Fund program.

Antonio Vitolo originally applied for the COVID-19 relief funds when the Small Business Association opened up the platform for application on the 3rd of May 2021. However, his applications did not go through since he didn’t fit under the priority groups given priority. To settle his grievance, Antonio sought the help of a conservative legal group to help push for the extension of aid to all groups affected by the pandemic. In his statement to the press, Vitolo said he wasn’t after any special treatment. All he wants is equal treatment before the law. He also stated that he was strongly against discrimination based on race and gender and hoped the government would observe the same principle. In his lawsuit, Vitolo included a clause that stated that ‘’Given the limited pot of funds, this puts white male applicants at a significant risk that, by the time their applications are processed, the money will be gone.’’ Some of the priority groups included in the relief program include Black American, Hispanic American, Native American, and women-owned businesses.
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