Sanborn requests additional $500K

SARASOTA -- Sanborn Studios wants more money from Sarasota County.

A half-million dollars.

That’s in addition to the $650,000 grant previously awarded by the county in September of 2010.

“Sanborn has indicated that scope of the project has expanded and is now requesting an additional $500,000 for purchase of additional post-production related equipment,” reads the memorandum to the Sarasota County Commission from the county’s chief financial planning officer Jeffrey Seward, regarding the agenda of Tuesday’s public meeting. “Sanborn understands and agrees to enter into a subsequent financial incentive agreement with the county outlining the new conditions of this additional request.”

The number of jobs to be created as part of Sanborn’s expansion totals 117 throughout the next three years with a projected three-year economic output of $164 million, according to the memorandum.

Nearly six months ago, Sanborn also promised 60 employees hired in the first year.

The Sanborn Studios website’s “team” page lists Chief Executive Officer Ken Sanborn, President Karinne Behr, Chief Financial Officer Alan Bailey, Senior Vice President of Program Development Dan Forman, Vice President of Production Glen Cole and Executive Project Manager Dana Warning.

Sanborn Studios’ flagship television show “Miami 24/7” remains in “pre-production.”

Sanborn did not attend the county commission meeting Tuesday to discuss his half-million dollar request. The commissioners removed the item from the agenda shortly after the 9 a.m. start time. Moments later, the Herald spoke outside the commission chamber one-on-one with Jeff Maultsby, county manager of business and economic development.

“Ken Sanborn called me yesterday and said that circumstances had arisen that didn’t allow him to be here,” Maultsby said. “(Sanborn) requested we push the meeting back until when he could be in attendance.”

Multiple phone messages were left with Sanborn Studios starting around 11 a.m. Tuesday. None were returned by 7:30 p.m.

The $500,000 would come from the Sarasota Economic Development Incentive Monies. A second performance-based contract agreement with Sanborn Studios regarding job creation and length of stay in Sarasota County would be required.

Seward also did not return an early afternoon phone call by 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Jeanne Corcoran, director of the Sarasota County Film & Entertainment Office responded with an e-mail: “You’ll have to speak directly with the Sanborn folks or the county, as I don’t know the particulars.”

A mass e-mail sent by Sarasota County government just past 5 p.m. Tuesday echoed Maultsby’s comment. “Sarasota County commissioners removed from the agenda a request from Sanborn Studios for $500,000 in an economic development incentive grant to purchase additional post-production equipment,” reads the message. “The removal of the agenda item came at the request of company officials who could not be present for the discussion.”

No date has been confirmed for when Sanborn’s request will be back on the agenda.

Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at (941) 745-7057.

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