- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) - A film studio that has been in Chicago since 1979 is suing the state, accusing it of unfairly steering productions to a newer rival that hosts shows such as “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.”

Chicago Studio City filed the lawsuit in federal court last week against the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The company says the department, under the administration of former Gov. Pat Quinn, worked with Cinespace Chicago, which opened in 2010, to steer work to Cinespace.

The department “conspired with Cinespace Chicago to direct Chicago-oriented producers to Cinespace Chicago and implement an illegal boycott of Chicago Studio City,” the lawsuit said. Chicago Studio City also accuses the department of steering millions of dollars of state grant money to Cinespace “through political and labor union influence.”

The lawsuit also says Cinespace received five grants worth $27.3 million from the Quinn administration, including a $10 million grant that it returned when it was found that some of the properties it was to purchase with the money weren’t for sale.

“For many years, Chicago Studio City successfully competed in the Chicago Film Production Market, receiving repeat business from Hollywood studios and other Chicago-oriented producers for dozens of productions,” the lawsuit said. “As a result of the defendants’ actions, business has declined precipitously, to the point that it is in danger of going out of business.”

A spokeswoman said the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity had no comment. A Cinespace spokesman said, “Cinespace is not a party to this lawsuit.” A Quinn spokesman said the lawsuit was without merit.

Chicago Studio City is seeking damages and reimbursement of attorney fees and court costs.

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