Saturday, April 11, 2015

Hollywood South Hayride

The latest episode begins next week. Here's some background but see if you can spot the one interesting fact that is missing.
Meanwhile, periodic scandals have marked the program - like the one in which prominent players and coaches for the New Orleans Saints were victimized by a man, sentenced to prison in 2010, who sold tax credits he never actually obtained.

In the trial that opens Monday, the defendants are Peter and Susan Hoffman, identified in court documents as an estranged husband and wife and principals in Seven Arts Entertainment and related companies; and Michael Arata, a New Orleans lawyer also involved in the film business.

The law at the heart of the case allows movie production companies to get a tax credit - at the time of the alleged crime it was up to 40 percent - of certain infrastructure costs, defined as the "purchase, construction and use of facilities that were directly related to and utilized for motion picture production in Louisiana."

If tax credits earned exceed the business's actual tax liability, the credits can be sold to another party that wants to use the credit to pay off its liabilities.

Federal authorities say the Hoffmans and Arata, through companies they owned, purchased a dilapidated mansion just outside the French Quarter in 2007, with plans to turn it into a post-production facility. The alleged crime was using fraudulent documents to obtain tax credits for work that was not actually done on the renovated mansion, credits that Arata purchased at a discount from his partners, then sold at a profit to local businesses and people.
Okay, I'll just tell you.  Arata is married to one of our handsomely compensated Deputy Mayors.  You really aren't anyone in this town until you've made a little something in the movie biz. Which is why, despite all the hand-wringing over the tax credit, you can rest assured the legislature is going to leave the program largely intact.

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