Overseer: Liquidate film studio in Saints dispute

Published 11:03 pm Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A court-appointed overseer wants to liquidate the remnants of a movie studio tied to a $1.7 million dispute with members of the New Orleans Saints.

Fifteen current and former team members paid the money to Louisiana Film Studios LLC late in 2008 for what they thought would be state movie industry tax credits returning $1.33 for each dollar invested. State officials said the studio never applied for the credits and the money has not been returned.

A group of the credit buyers later forced the company into involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. But in a motion filed Tuesday, trustee Gerald Schiff asked a federal bankruptcy court to order a Chapter 7 liquidation of the studio’s assets.

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Schiff said the shuttered company had no cash, no employees and no source of income and “it is unlikely that the debtor could achieve a successful Chapter 11 reorganization” involving a new business plan to pay off creditors.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Magner set a hearing for Dec. 29. The AP was unable to reach studio head Wayne Read for comment. A cellular telephone number that Read has used was not working.

According to bankruptcy court filings, Louisiana Film Studios has $2.8 million in debts, including nearly $1.7 million for the unredeemed tax credits. The company also owes $700,000 to a construction company half-owned by former Saints player Kevin Houser, now with the Seattle Seahawks.

Read previously said that he was trying to line up new investors for the studio, but no plan has emerged.