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County likely to extend loan to Maxwell

April 08, 2006|By TARA REILLY

HAGERSTOWN

The Washington County Commissioners likely will discuss a deal with director Ron Maxwell to extend a $300,000 loan agreement after hearing there's a chance the Civil War movie, "The Last Full Measure" will be made, County Attorney Richard Douglas said Friday.

But Jeff Shaara, who wrote the novel, "The Last Full Measure," said he's not aware of any developments that indicate a movie with the same name will be produced.

"No one has approached me with a deal or with a contract or with any news ...," Shaara said by phone Friday. "I would be thrilled if that were the case."

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The County Commissioners in January asked that the $300,000 loan to Maxwell be repaid after a time limit on production expired and after uncertainty over whether Maxwell could find financing for the film. The agreement, approved in October 2002, stated Maxwell had until December 2005 to begin production, or the money would have to be paid back with interest over five years.

A previous board of commissioners, which included President Gregory I. Snook and Vice President William J. Wivell, loaned the money in return for much of the film being shot in the county. Wivell was the only one at the time to vote against the loan.

Douglas said Friday that Snook has been in touch with Maxwell since the commissioners requested the county be paid back. The talks contained positive news about the movie, but details were slim, he said.

"There's a pretty good shot at production now," Douglas said.

Douglas, however, said there was no further information available about who would finance, direct, produce or write the film. He guessed Maxwell would produce and write it.

As a result of the talks, Douglas said he expected the commissioners to discuss a loan extension, but he didn't know when that would be.

Maxwell could not be reached for comment Friday.

Commissioner John C. Munson on Friday adamantly opposed extending the agreement.

"I think we're getting the runaround," Munson said. "We should never get into a mess like that again."

Wivell said he didn't think the county would be repaid, and that, unfortunately, the commissioners would have to choose between extending the agreement or "racking up legal fees" by going to court.

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