YOU ARE HERE: HeraldMail HomeCollectionsFilm

County OKs loan guarantee for movie

February 04, 1998



Staff Writers

Washington County took another step on Tuesday toward securing the local filming of the movie "Gods and Generals."

The Washington County Commissioners voted 4-1 to approve a $250,000 loan guarantee for the movie during a Tuesday meeting.

Farmers & Merchants Bank and Trust has approved a $500,000 loan for pre-production costs, said Robert E. Ernst II, a bank vice president.

So far, pledges of $382,000 have been raised to cover the loan if the movie is not made, Ernst said in a telephone interview last week.


Organizer Michael Callas said his campaign for pledges slowed during the holidays, but will start up again soon.

City Council members voted last week to pledge $50,000 for the guarantee.

The city and county are using Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation as an intermediary for the pledges, said City Attorney John Urner.

Commissioner James R. Wade voted against the guarantee.

"I just don't think government has any business guaranteeing loans to private businesses," Wade said in an interview after the meeting.

"Since when does a major movie need a $250,000 loan guarantee from local governments?" he asked.

"It's outrageous ... I just don't believe that it's our role to get involved with speculative film investments."

Wade criticized the use of the foundation as an intermediary.

The foundation is being used because government officials weren't certain whether the local governments' structures allowed them to directly fund the guarantee, Urner said last week.

The deal allows the local governments to place a lien on the movie if filming doesn't occur within Washington County or to recoup the guarantee money if the film isn't made, Urner said.

If the movie isn't filmed in the county, the local governments could assume control of the film, Urner said.

The Herald-Mail Articles