Sanborn Studios has withdrawn its request for an $500,000 grant from Sarasota County.
The half-million dollars would have been in addition to the $650,000 previously awarded by the county in September 2010.
Sarasota County Administrator James Ley sent an e-mail at 4:16 p.m. Thursday to commissioners and other county employees. It suggested founder/chief executive officer Ken Sanborn withdrew the application after learning his struggling studio, which has a facility in Lakewood Ranch, would not receive the $500,000.
“This morning I indicated to staff that I had no intention of placing the newest Sanborn request back on the board’s agenda unless asked otherwise,” the e-mail reads. “The request made it to the agenda based on the commission’s expression that it wished to see all requests. The verbal staff recommendation was going to be a negative one.
“Sanborn subsequently withdrew their request this morning,” Ley wrote.
The county administrator could not be reached for comment.
The item had been scheduled for discussion at the commissioners’ meeting this past Tuesday. Ken Sanborn called the night before and said he couldn’t make it, and county officials agreed to push the request back to another meeting when Sanborn could be there. No new date had been set.
County commissioners contacted late Thursday declined to comment and referred the Herald to Ley’s e-mail.
The half-million dollar request was for “an economic development incentive grant to purchase additional post-production equipment,” reads a recent commission report.
Sanborn’s primary project, the television show “Miami 24/7,” remains in “pre-production,” according to the studio’s website.
“Sanborn Studios aims to create and finance television pilots and reality television shows that will be picked up by leading networks,” the website reads. “Sanborn Studios has already secured distribution for its programs with Cinepro Pictures International, a well-established international distributor.”
Sanborn Studios President Karinne Behr’s brother and longtime business partner Philippe Martinez owns Michigan-based Cinepro Pictures. It was the “Miami 24/7” series’ sales agent at the annual American Film Market trade show held last November in Santa Monica, Calif. Philippe Martinez Productions, Cinepro’s sister company, had previously been listed on Sanborn Studios’ website as the show’s co-production company.
Martinez and Behr’s Bauer Martinez Studios had offices in Los Angeles, London and Largo. Bauer Martinez Studios piled up a reported $100 million in debt, the Herald noted last November in the story “Sanborn Studios’ key players have rocky bios.” Bauer Martinez filed its final annual corporate report in Florida in 2007. It listed Behr as president and treasurer. Martinez was listed as CEO and secretary. The state dissolved the company’s incorporation for failing to file a 2008 annual report, records show.
Sanborn Studios’ Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pages/Sanborn-Studios-Sarasota, has been taken down.
Google’s cache feature shows a snapshot of the page as it appeared on Feb. 1.
Sanborn Studios did not return phone calls.
Ken Sanborn did not return a message left on his mobile phone.
Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at (941) 745-7057. Visit his blog at bradenton.com/blogs.