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Washington County: Director still owes $300,000

May 11, 2007|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Director Ron Maxwell has stopped repaying a $300,000 loan from Washington County for a movie project that never materialized.

Maxwell paid almost $40,000 but missed other payment deadlines, Budget and Finance Director Debra Murray said.

County Attorney John Martirano said the county is working out how to collect the money. Unless Maxwell responds soon, the county might file a lawsuit, Martirano said.

The county loaned Maxwell the money in 2002 on the condition that he begin producing "The Last Full Measure," a Civil War movie, by December 2005.

He didn't make the movie.

"The Last Full Measure" is the third book in a trilogy of Civil War novels by Michael Shaara and his son, Jeff.


Maxwell made the first quarterly payment on the loan - $19,107 - on June 26, 2006, Murray said.

After Maxwell missed other quarterly payments, he and the county worked out a schedule for him to catch up. Murray said Maxwell was to pay $20,000 every week and a half or so until he caught up to the quarterly cycle.

Maxwell paid the first $20,000 on April 4 but has paid nothing since, she said.

Maxwell didn't return a message left at a Virginia phone number. Martirano provided the number Thursday after leaving a message for Maxwell first.

An Internet directory lists a Culver City, Calif., address - without a phone number - for Ron Maxwell Productions.

Maxwell was in the Tri-State area, mostly Washington County, in 2001 while filming "Gods and Generals." Shortly after, the county approved his loan.

The county has been sending past-due notices to a Flint Hill, Va., address, Martirano said.

The Washington County Commissioners voted 4-1 in 2002 to loan Maxwell the money. Commissioner William J. Wivell voted no.

Martirano said Thursday that the loan was to be repaid quarterly over five years, at 4.5 percent interest, meaning the total amount due to the county was about $340,000.

Murray said Maxwell owes $37,321 that is 60 days past due and $19,107 that is 30 days past due.

The exact total, Martirano said, is $56,429.04.

After paying that amount, Maxwell would be caught up; his next quarterly payment of $19,107 would be due in June, Martirano said.

Murray said the county is trying to collect from Maxwell in the same way it would seek payments on any late debt.

The county typically has Hagerstown attorney Chris Joliet handle its collection cases, Martirano said.

This "high-profile" case, though, involving a larger amount of money, probably will be handled by the county attorney's office, Martirano said.

Know more in 15 seconds

What happened: Washington County is trying to collect money that director Ron Maxwell owes on a $300,000 movie loan. The county loaned Maxwell the money in 2002, at 4.5 percent interest, on the condition that he start working on a Civil War movie by December 2005. He didn't make the movie.

What's next: The county is planning how to collect from Maxwell, possibly through a lawsuit.

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