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If the Central New York Film Hub was a movie it would be Gigli. Actually, that’s an insult to Gigli.
Gigli may have been a terrible flop, but it didn’t cause corruption scandals, waste taxpayer money, or owe $1 million in back rent.
The taxpayer-financed film production studio in Central New York did cost taxpayers $15 million – at least. Now the hub faces eviction after falling way behind on rent.
The Governor announced plans to build the facility in 2014, claiming it would attract 350 high-tech jobs and $150 million in private investment in its first seven years. But the 52,000 square-foot facility failed to attract permanent filmmakers or productions.
Incredibly, the anchor film production company that was supposed to drive the facility’s success NEVER got one of its films to theaters. The company’s executives are in all sorts of legal trouble as well.
Oddly, one person who has offered some defense of it is actor Ron Perlman. He may be the only person in the world who actually got any benefit from this thing. Needless to say, it was not built to help one actor/producer make a few films.
It was supposed to be another spark to Upstate’s resurgence via government subsidies. Instead it sparked another high profile implosion for the Governor’s “economic development” programs.
Now, COR Development Co. wants to evict the film hub from its building in DeWitt, seeking a judgment of $934,849 in back rent, according to the Post-Standard.
COR built the facility for nearly $15 million in taxpayer funding. The development company also owns the land under the building, and agreed to lease the land to Fort Schuyler Management, a corporation created by SUNY Polytechnic to operate the facility.
But COR says Fort Schuyler has failed to make any payments on the ground lease and owes $143,265 in property taxes.
Empire State Development now controls Fort Schuyler after the former President of SUNY Polytechnic Alain Kaloyeros resigned after being indicted on federal corruption charges.
It was alleged that Kaloyeros and two COR executives were involved in a bid-rigging scheme to ensure that COR secured the contract to build the film hub. The Post-Standard reports that ESD has not commented on Fort Schuyler’s failure to pay back rent to COR.
If you’re tired of failed, wasteful economic development programs that are just an excuse to pay off political insiders, join Reclaim TODAY.