“The administration has very serious concerns about the lack of supporting documentation and the failure of the Quinn administration to abide by normal procedures for issuing grants,” Rauner spokesman Lance Trover said. “Following a review, Gov. Rauner has ordered the $10 million grant to Cinespace be terminated and the funds returned.”
Cinespace applied for the grant on Nov. 13, less than two weeks after Quinn lost the governor’s race to Rauner. The former governor’s administration approved the grant on Dec. 1, and the $10 million grant check went out on Dec. 19, records show.
There’s no evidence that the studio has spent any of the grant money to date. Rauner is giving Cinespace until May 7 to return the all the money, plus interest.
Cinespace President Alex Pissios didn’t return telephone and email messages seeking comment about the grant — one of five grants totaling $27.3 million that his studio got while Quinn was governor.
Quinn said through a spokesman that while he didn’t personally play any role in awarding the most recent grant, his administration supported expansion of Cinespace’s North Lawndale campus because of the jobs it would create.Angie's List says it deserves an $18.5 million grant because it will create jobs, and that's apparently enough of an assurance for our Indianapolis City-County Council, which has given away hundreds of millions of tax dollars to private developers and businesses over the past decade. The company has never turned a profit in its two decades of existence and runs a business in a manner that anyone with the least of business ethics would have serious misgivings about. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that our elected officials aren't representing the taxpaying public when they pick and choose winners and losers in a Lottery game that is fixed for a small group of political insiders, the people they really view as their masters.
UPDATE: Wow. I had this one pegged right. Cinespace wasted no time returning the $10 million to the state with interest. Mr. Pissios acknowledged that the other parcels were already under contract to be purchased by other
Cinespace Chicago Film Studios returned a $10 million grant, plus interest, to the state of Illinois on Tuesday — a day after Gov. Bruce Rauner demanded repayment in the wake of a Chicago Sun-Times investigation that found the money wasn’t being used.
Cinespace was given the state grant a few weeks before Gov. Pat Quinn left office to help it buy seven industrial properties around its North Lawndale campus, where the hit series “Chicago Fire” and other TV shows and movies are filmed.
But in a letter to Rauner’s administration, Cinespace president Alex Pissios acknowledged Tuesday that six of the properties “have been sold or are under contract to other third parties” since the state sent Cinespace the grant check on Dec. 19.
The Sun-Times reported Sunday that Quinn’s administration awarded the grant without any appraisals to justify the projected purchase prices or any other documents to indicate that Cinespace had been in negotiations to buy the properties.Yep, a classic property-flipping scheme was in the works before the whistle blower tipped off the Chicago Sun-Times reporter.