More charges could be forthcoming in studio fraud case

By TEREASA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK – Others could be charged in a fraud case regarding the failed Unity Studios, a federal judge said Tuesday.

U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan Avern Cohn gave the Securities and Exchange Commission an additional 30 days to continue their investigation into a fraud case that came to light Nov. 6, with charges issued against former Mayor Gary Burtka and City Administrator Eric Waidelich. Burtka was ordered to pay $10,000.

The pair was charged with using misleading and outdated budget information to lure investors into a failed endeavor, deemed Unity Studios. Both were ordered not to participate in any municipal bond offerings. Without admitting or denying the allegations, both consented the final judgment of inappropriate behavior.

Cohn vacated the charges on Nov. 7, saying that no mention was made in the SEC complaint of financial advisors, underwriters and law firms in connection with the alleged deed.

Another status hearing is expected next month.

City Administrator Karen Folks said the matter has nothing to do with the city and she wants to see to city and its residents move forward from the matter.

(Tereasa Nims can be reached at tnims@bewickpublications.com.)