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Federal Court Action Formally Ends Savannah, Georgia'' s Field of Dreams

Motion Picture Studio That Planned 1,560-Acre Advancement is Bought to Pay $1.8 Million After SEC Declares Fraud

Courtesy: Georgia Governor’s Office.When Medient

Studios Inc. announced five years ago it would build the country’s largest movie studio on 1,560 acres near Savannah, Georgia, it seemed like a field of dreams. In the end, a dream is all it was.

The motion picture studio, called Studioplex, never started, the federal government accused its two magnates, its chairman and its president, of trying to commit scams, and today the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said a federal court reached a judgment against the studio and its former top executive.

On Tuesday, the SEC said the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia entered a $1.8 million default judgment against Medient Studios, a business with securities that traded over the counter. The company likewise was referred to as Moon River Studios, named after the 1961 song from the motion picture “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Johnny Mercer, the lyricist who died in 1976, was a Savannah native.

The SEC likewise said the District Court entered a final judgment by permission against Joel A. “Jake” Shapiro, a former chief executive and director of Medient and its follower company known as Fonu2 Inc.

. The federal action against Medient and its executives, in addition to the failure of Studioplex, shows an unusual unfavorable side of Georgia’s push to draw significant movie studios together with movie and TELEVISION production. Simply recently, Georgia Gov. Nathan Offer said production companies spent $2.7 billion shooting a record 455 films and television shows in the state during fiscal 2018, which ended June 30. Movie and TV productions created a total economic impact of $9.5 billion on Georgia’s economy, Offer stated.

In 2008, the state signed into law the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act that provides a 20 percent tax credit for companies that invest $500,000 or more on movie and TV production and post production, whether in a single shoot or several productions. If a promotional logo design from Georgia is included in the finished item, the state offers an additional 10 percent tax credit.

Georgia benefited when North Carolina let its 25 percent tax credit end at year end 2014, and much of the production work and talent needed to make the films and TELEVISION programs moved south to Georgia. Specifically, the shift helped Pinewood Atlanta Studios, a joint venture in between United Kingdom-based Pinewood Studios and River’s Rock LLC, a trust managed by the Cathy household that owns the Chick-fil-A chain of chicken restaurants.

With 18 sound stages spanning 700 acres in Georgia’s Fayette County, Pinewood Atlanta has emerged as a top shooting location in the United States. A number of hits consisting of “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming” were recorded at Pinewood Atlanta.

When Medient Studios, a worldwide movie production company with operations in India and The United States and Canada, revealed plans in March 2013 for a big movie studio 15 miles from the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, there was reason for optimism. On that day, Medient founder and its previous chairman, Manu Kumaran, said his company’s task would be a “Disneyland meets Google” megacampus and become a model for others to follow.

Medient started its doomed effort by revealing it was participating in a memorandum of understanding with the Effingham County Industrial Advancement Authority to establish the $90 million studio complex. After that, little occurred on the site, and the business released news release that the SEC argues were developed to defraud potential financiers in the motion picture business.

In a June 2013 news release, Medient stated the advancement authority authorized a resolution to provide approximately $300 million in Industrial Development Bonds to “assist in the capital investment of the project.” In a release dated Sept. 24, 2014, Medient stated it engaged Atlanta basic professional Choate Construction Co. as its construction manager. Choate didn’t right away comment.

However the press releases were in fact part of an effort by Medient to cause financiers to buy its stock, inning accordance with the SEC. In September 2016, the SEC filed a problem versus Medient, declaring that Shapiro and Kumaran “schemed to make a selection of incorrect and deceptive statements in Medient’s press releases and business filings.” The SEC likewise said Shapiro and Kumaran “backdated and falsified promissory notes as part of a plan to issue Medient and Fonu2’s common stock in exchange for financing.”

Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia got in the default judgment versus Medient Studios after the company didn’t react to the problem. It also participated in a final judgment by authorization including Shapiro, who settled with the SEC without confessing to or denying the accusations against him. The agreement forbids Shapiro from acting as an officer or director of a public business or participating in a cent stock offering for 5 years. He likewise was purchased to pay a civil charge of $75,000.

The SEC’s lawsuits versus Kumaran is continuous. E-mails sent to representatives of Medient noted on some business news release did not get instant replies.

Is education reform formally dead in the United States?

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018|2 a.m.

View more of the Sun’s opinion section

One year into the Trump presidency, it’s hard to find severe conversation in Washington about education reform. In a Jan. 16 speech at the American Enterprise Institute, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos stated: “Federal education reforms have not worked as hoped,” in spite of costs billions of dollars.

Under President George W. Bush, the Department of Education stressed standards and testing for all students as cornerstones for enhancing schools. The Obama administration used federal financing to stimulate education reform; at one point offering more than $7 billion to states.

Congress changed the federal role in December 2015 by passing the Every Trainee Succeeds Act. State and local teachers invited the remedy for federal regulations, mandates and test-based responsibility. While getting higher versatility to develop innovative methods to enhance schools, states lost federal funding and political cover for education reform policies.

The funding loss is significant. In the first Trump administration budget plan, education funding for disadvantaged children was cut 12 percent. The 2018-19 spending plan will likely make much deeper cuts.

According to a November 2017 report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, public funding for K-12 education “has decreased drastically in a variety of states over the past decade.” The report mentions 29 states that spent less in 2015 per trainee than prior to the economic downturn in 2008. There is little enhancement the past few years in spite of a robust economy. A lot of states are unable to replace lost federal funding.

State education firm capacity also has suffered. At a February 2017 hearing, New york city State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia called the state education department “the most staff-deprived education firm in the nation.” Lots of other state leaders would echo that evaluation.

Nonetheless, states have proposed enthusiastic objectives in strategies sent to the Education Department. For example, states have devoted to increase the four-year graduation rates (90 percent four-year graduation rate in Minnesota by 2020); considerably increase the portion of trainees who excel in English Language Arts and mathematics (75 percent efficiency in Rhode Island by 2025 and Kentucky by 2030); and close the achievement gap by reducing the variety of nonproficient trainees by HALF (Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio).

Nevertheless, a December 2017 review of 35 state strategies by Bellwether Education Partners concluded that a major weakness is “objectives that are largely untethered to the state’s long-term vision, historical performance or other unbiased standard.” In other words, states are proposing enhancements in trainee efficiency that far exceed any levels they have been able to achieve in the past.

In the face of serious financing obstacles, why would mention leaders devote to education reforms that require unprecedented enhancements in student efficiency levels? Are state education leaders setting themselves up for failure and blame by politicians and the public? Why not develop more practical, attainable goals?

Initially, political pressure for school enhancement is growing at the state level. Governors wish to contend for business that will bring high-wage tasks and enhance the economy. A poor carrying out K-12 system is a liability. An outstanding prepare for enhancing schools can assist states make the case to future companies.

Second, a 2013 National Center for Education Data study discovered that a lot of states define efficiency levels at exactly what National Evaluation of Education Progress calls fundamental. Since that time, some states are making state proficiency standards higher. However efficiency levels differ from one state to another, potentially making attaining considerable trainee gains possible if levels are at first set low.

Finally, 80 percent of the state education commissioners have actually been on the task for 3 years or less. Assuming the turnover rate continues, practically none of these leaders will be on the job when the state is held liable for achieving its goals. It’s easy to set enthusiastic goals for your successors.

Where does that leave the concern: Is education reform dead?

The federal government has actually punted education reform to the states. Faced with lessened resources and leadership turnover, states will have to figure out the best ways to sustain implementation of curriculum and guideline changes had to meet the original ambitious ESSA efficiency objectives. If they fail, specify education leaders will as soon as again redefine the goals and timelines. Then the term “education reform” may simply vanish in the education policy conversation.

James A. Kadamus was New york city sate deputy commissioner of education for 11 years and now is an education expert and writer in Rhode Island. He composed this for InsideSources.com.

Scott Walker formally drops out of GOP race

Walker, reading a statement in the Wisconsin capital of Madison, decried the negative tone of the Republican politician campaign in remarks seemingly directed at New York billionaire Donald Trump.

He contacted a few of his competitors for the Republican election to join him in leaving the race to offer voters a possibility to rally around a front-runner that can win the November 2016 governmental election.

Walker returned the late Republican President Ronald Reagan as a model for the celebration due to the fact that “he was an optimist.”

“Sadly the dispute happening in the Republican politician Celebration today is not focused on that optimistic view of America. Instead it has actually drifted into individual attacks,” he said.

“In the end I think that the voters want to be for something and not versus somebody. Instead of talking about how bad things are, we wish to hear how they can make them better for everybody. We have to get back to the essentials of our party,” he said.

Walker’s fall was dramatic and swift. He electrified conservatives in Iowa in January by promoting his record in Wisconsin of having actually beaten back public unions and survived a recall election.

When he formally revealed his campaign in early July, he was amongst the leaders for the Republican election. But the 47-year-old guv quickly struggled on the campaign trail despite a strong conservative record and a warm personal story as a Harley bike enthusiast.

Walker’s lack of experience on the nationwide phase was apparent. He offered shifting responses to questions about illegal immigration and once suggested a wall in between the United States and close ally Canada might be in order, in an evident effort to double down on competitors’ require a wall on the Mexican border.

He did not do much to reassure fans with lackluster performances in the first two Republican governmental arguments.

Walker’s battle for traction, incorporated with the rise of Trump, took its toll. A CNN/ORC survey released on Sunday provided him less than 1 percent assistance among Republican voters. In a current Reuters/Ipsos survey of the Republican field, he received 3 percent of support.

In a preliminary indication of problem, Walker recently canceled occasions in California and Michigan to concentrate on Iowa, the crucial early ballot state that shares a border with Wisconsin.

In recent days, he had actually sworn to focus solely on Iowa.

Walker will be the second Republican to drop out of the race. He follows previous Texas Guv Rick Perry, who left on Sept. 11.

Legal medical marijuana formally introduced in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) –

Ecstasy Wellness opened Monday to select, preregistered patients, marking the main introduction of legal medical marijuana to the Las Vegas Valley.

The dispensary located at 7780 S. Jones Blvd., near Robindale Road, is providing simply the little buds of plants in its early run. Laboratory-approved pressures range in cost from $17 a gram to $336 an ounce.

RELATED: See pictures from opening day at Ecstasy Wellness

Ecstasy followed the opening of Stimulates’ Silver State Relief in July, which was viewed as Nevada’s very first legal medical marijuana dispensary to open. Disagreements over county regulations and possible legal battles held up the opening of legal medical marijuana operations in Southern Nevada.

SPECIAL REPORT: Medical pot in NV: Uncharted, however profitable, area

According to Darlene Purdy, general manager of Bliss Wellness, the dispensary will certainly offer oils, concentrates and edibles as soon as production centers open. Purdy estimates October as the time for a complete menu providing.

Purdy also estimated as many as 200 people will certainly come through Ecstasy Wellness through the first few days of its opening.

Though Monday was only a grand opening occasion for a choose couple of, Euphoria is set to open to all patients registered with the state on Wednesday.

Obviously, in order to buy from the dispensary, a patient should have a valid prescribed from a doctor.

“Their physician that they see will suggest them for being a client of medical marijuana,” Purdy discussed. “They send that recommendation to the state, and they go through a procedure with [Nevada]”

But, some physicians do not plan on sending out any recommendations for their patients.

Steven Saxe, a oral and maxillofacial specialist, said the prescribed for medical cannabis is patient-specific. He explained while some of his patients may gain from the THC in the product – those who have actually had cancer and are going through chemotherapy, he stated he is among a number of Valley doctors who do not plan on recommending the medical cannabis.

Saxe stated marijuana can cause cancer with cigarette smoking the drug being the most quick delivery approach of THC.

A number of more dispensaries are anticipated to open by the end of the year. In all, the Las Vegas Valley can anticipate to have 40 to 50 dispensaries.

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