Attorney: SEC inquiry still open

Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK – A federal inquiry into the city’s handling of its former studio property remains open, but a determination of wrongdoing has not been reached, a city representative said Tuesday.

Assistant City Attorney Chris Forsyth updated city council members briefly about a letter they received in February from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and replied to in March. SEC representatives asked follow-up questions about the letter in August, but have not contacted the city since, he said.

“More importantly, there hasn’t been a determination of any wrongdoing by the SEC at this point,” Forsyth said.

The letter asked questions about the city’s failed deal with Jimmy Lifton and Unity Studios, including whether the city gave money to Lifton to influence his decision to locate the company in the city and whether it misled investors in a bond measure to pay for the $25 million complex.

Lifton and his two companies, Unity Studios and the Lifton Institute for Media Skills, left the 104-acre complex in 2010 after a year in the city, which now faces a $4 million budget deficit due in part to a $2 million annual subsidy of the studio property.