GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A case involving two men accused of trying to rip off taxpayers for millions of dollars using the state's film tax credit has been thrown out.
Target 8 has been on top of this case from the beginning.
After two days of testimony, 61st District Court Judge David Buter said he wasn't buying the prosecution's argument that a fraud occurred. So the charges at the preliminary trial were dismissed.
The case was against developer Jack Buchanan Jr. and businessman Joseph Peters. They were accused of orchestrating a scheme to get an inflated tax credit to purchase the former Lear Plant on Alpine Avenue near Ann Street NW in Walker, and turn it into a film studio.
The credit would have been worth $10 million based on their claims that the building was worth $40 million -- far more than its selling price.
The two men claimed they made improvements to the building that boosted the value, and that the property had huge financial potential.
Key testimony came from a prosecution witness, Janet Lockwood, who ran the state's film credit office.
"How do you get around her testimony that she was always aware that the sale was to be seller financed and that it was contingent on the extension of the credit?" asked Judge Buter.
"I don't think that was exactly her testimony," said the prosecutor.
The judge said he was not convinced the defendants ever made an intentional misrepresentation.
As far as their claims about the value of the property, Judge Buter said debate could go on forever as to what the property was really worth.
Neither side had comment, at least in the courtroom Friday morning.
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