- Associated Press - Sunday, March 5, 2017

CASEVILLE, Mich. (AP) - In a story March 5 about a failed movie-making studio in Caseville, The Associated Press reported erroneously the date that the Michigan Economic Development Corp. wrote a letter to the city saying it had completed steps to close its account on a government grant. It was January 2013, not January of this year.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Caseville gets permission to close $1M grant for film studio

Officials with the city of Caseville are hoping it won’t have to pay back a nearly $1 million grant for a film studio that flopped after the owner was evicted from the facility for not paying taxes.

CASEVILLE, Mich. (AP) - Officials from Caseville are hoping the city won’t have to pay back a nearly $1 million grant for a film studio that flopped after the owner was evicted from the facility for not paying taxes.

Michigan Economic Development Corp. wrote a letter to the city in January 2013 saying that the city had completed the necessary steps to close the grant account, The Huron Daily Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/2m9TFVs ).

In 2009, local filmmaker Robert Brown began pushing his idea to build a post-production sound studio called Charity Island Pictures. City officials signed a document in 2010 that secured $935,000 of taxpayer money to build a studio.

Brown was supposed to contribute $125,000 in “machinery and equipment” and create 15 full-time jobs. But that never happened.

The studio was an empty building in Caseville, and Brown used the signatures of family, friends and people who helped him make a promotional documentary to report them as hourly employees.

Three “part-time employees” said they remember being asked to sign a piece of paper when Brown paid them. But they didn’t think they were signing a form that said they were an hourly employee, which state records show.

“I signed something to be paid that day, but it wasn’t this,” Steve Jias said. “I was in that building once. … Did I work there 20 hours a week? Absolutely not.”

Brown said he never hired people hourly, but on a daily or weekly flat fee.

“It was a situation that I put together with the state of Michigan,” Brown said. “The state of Michigan was fine with the results. They signed off on it. The grant was closed out.”

A judge found in 2015 that Brown violated his agreement with the city and ordered him to vacate the movie studio within 10 days.


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