Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. $12 for 12 weeks.

Trustee Wants Contempt Citation In Saints Dispute

A movie studio head tied into an investment dispute with members of the New Orleans Saints should be found incontempt because of missed deadlines to file vital financial documents, a court-appointed overseer told a federal bankruptcy judge Thursday.The case involves a group of 27 people, including past and present team members, who paid $1.9 million to Wayne Read, chief executive of Louisiana Film Studios in suburban New Orleans. They thought they were getting state movie industry tax credits that paid $1.33 for each dollar invested. State officials said Read never applied for the credits.In documents filed with the court, the trustee also said a search of the Louisiana Film Studios office failed to turn up computers and financial records, despite Read's statement to a judge on Aug. 21 that the material was there and available for the trustee's examination.Trustee Gerald Schiff asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Magner to hold a hearing quickly on his contempt motion. No date had been set late Thursday.Schiff, a former federal bankruptcy judge, said Read also missed deadlines to file three required documents in the studio's case: alist of the 20 largest creditors and the amounts they are owed, the studio's assets and a mailing list of creditors. On July 22, Saints linebacker Scott Shanle, former punter Mitch Berger and former Saints long snapper Kevin Houser, who has since signed with the Seattle Seahawks, filed a lawsuit to push the studio into involuntary bankruptcy.On Aug. 20, Magner placed the company under Chapter 11 financial reorganization.Houser has said he told at least some of the Saints about the tax credits, but doesn't believe that resulted in his release from the team. Another creditor in the lawsuit is a construction company half-owned by Houser's wife. The company claims it is owed nearly $700,000 for work on the studio. Defensive end Charles Grant and tight end Jeremy Shockey have since been allowed to join the lawsuit. Other tax credit buyers included Saints coach Sean Payton, quarterback Drew Brees and former star Archie Manning. At various times, Read has said he planned to repay the credit buyers after finding additional investors for the studio. At the Aug. 20 hearing, he told the judge that he hoped to file a repayment schedule within a week. That did not happen.Through a spokesman, Allan Katz, Read said he had been unable to hire an attorney and had been "unaware of the proper format" for his responses to trustee question. He said he planned to forward that information to the trustee on Friday.Read said he planned to have a full debt repayment schedule filed with the court by Sept. 15.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun