MARKHAM, Ill. (CBS) — Remember when Chicago-based restaurant chain Potbelly’s returned $10 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans?

The company took heat because the loans were intended to keep small businesses and companies afloat while they had to close for the COVID-19 pandemic.

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There are plenty of questionable small businesses that got the free funds too – and when CBS 2’s Jermont Terry started digging into the data specifically in south suburban Markham, the math just didn’t add up.

The licensed businesses in Markham number 311 in all. A list of them can be printed out on just a few pages.

But the businesses in Markham with owners who got PPP loans with your tax dollars is heavy and a few hundred pages thick. Every one of these owners claims to run some type of business in Markham, and now, the city wants to know where its own cut is.

A quick glance around south suburban Markham reveals signs of economic growth. The nation’s largest Amazon robotic fulfillment facility operates there – generating jobs and much-needed revenue.

“We have some good momentum because Amazon is here, but we also focus on our small businesses as well,” said Markham City Administrator Derrick Champion.

Yet on 159th Street, you can still find plenty of vacant storefronts – available for any small business to move in. It is a prime opportunity, perhaps, for the more than 1,000 small business owners who applied…

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