NEW ORLEANS—New Orleans Saints defensive end Charles Grant and tight end Jeremy Shockey claimed Tuesday that they're owed $510,000 by a movie studio at the center of an investment dispute involving current and former members of the team.
Grant and Shockey asked a federal judge to allow them to join a lawsuit seeking forced bankruptcy against Louisiana Film Studios LLC. The suit accuses studio CEO Wayne Read of selling $1.9 million in state movie tax credits to 27 people, many with connections to the Saints, but never applied for the credits or returned their money.
Read has said he intends to pay the money back after securing other investors or by obtaining credits from a broker. He said the studio ran into unexpected expenses during its startup and credits - for the 2008 tax year and due on March 31 - were not applied for because of uncertainty about what expenses qualified.
According to a list of buyers obtained by The Associated Press, Grant was the largest single investor in the credits, paying $425,000. Shockey paid $85,000, according to the court filing.
The buyers thought they would be getting $1.33 for every dollar invested, attorneys have said. Other buyers included Saints coach Sean Payton, quarterback Drew Brees and former star Archie Manning.
State film office officials confirmed that Read never applied for the credits.
On July 22, Saints linebacker Scott Shanle, former punter Mitch Berger and recently cut Saints long snapper Kevin Houser, who has signed with the Seattle Seahawks, filed an involuntary bankruptcy suit against Louisiana Film Studios. On July 31, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Magner froze most of the studio's assets.
The suit, also filed by a construction company half-owned by Houser's wife claiming it is owed nearly $700,000 for work on the studio, asks for appointment of a court-supervised overseer of the studio's finances. Read has not been named personally in the suit.
Magner has scheduled a hearing for Friday and ordered Read - or his attorney - to appear in court on the studio's behalf. Read did not attend last week's hearing after signing a consent order freezing studio assets before the hearing.
No one answered the listed telephone for Louisiana Film Studios on Tuesday. Read does not have a listed number and has not returned numerous calls for comment placed at the studio and through a spokesman.
Illinois court records show that Read paid $452,000 on Jan. 21 to settle a dispute over another failed investment involving plans for a New Orleans-area movie studio.