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Maxwell loan settled - principal mostly paid

interest debt waived

The filmmaker borrowed the money from Washington County to film 'The Last Full Measure'

July 22, 2012|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com
  • Film director Ron Maxwell has repaid almost all of the $300,000 he borrowed from Washington County 10 years ago. As part of a settlement, the county agreed to waive at least $80,000 in unpaid interest Maxwell owed.
Herald-Mail file photo

Film director Ron Maxwell has repaid almost all of the $300,000 he borrowed from Washington County 10 years ago.

As part of a settlement, the county agreed to waive at least $80,000 in unpaid interest Maxwell owed.
County spokeswoman Sarah Lankford Sprecher wrote in an email that Maxwell made payments of $60,000 apiece on Dec. 15, Feb. 15 and April 15, and the county is considering his loan “paid in full.”

Maxwell’s overall payments total $298,214.52.

As of October 2011, Maxwell owed the county $181,786 on the principal and $81,255 on the interest, which accrued at 4.5 percent annually.

Maxwell borrowed the money in 2002 to start working on “The Last Full Measure,” the third film in a Civil War trilogy.

He never made the movie, but said in an interview in October 2011 that he’s “absolutely” confident he still can.

“As long as I’m walking around and breathing, there’s hope,” he told a reporter.

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Maxwell did not respond to interview requests for this story Thursday and Friday made to an email address he provided to a reporter in October.

The county and the city of Hagerstown loaned Maxwell $300,000 in 1997 to help make “Gods and Generals,” the second installment in the trilogy, which started with “Gettysburg.”

“Gods and Generals” was filmed largely in the Tri-State area.

Maxwell’s film company repaid that loan. It’s not clear how long the repayment took, but based onHerald-Mailcoverage at the time, it appeared to be no more than five years.

For the “Last Full Measure” loan, the money came back to the county much slower.

From June 2006 to June 2008, Maxwell repaid about $118,000 in principal.

He objected to a 2007Herald-Mailstory about the pace of the repayment, writing in a letter to the editor,

“The loan is being repaid. The entire amount will be paid in the most amicable manner ... I have too much respect for the people of Washington County to do otherwise.”

Maxwell stopped paying the loan back for about three years — going past the 2010 repayment deadline — until making a $60,000 payment in December 2011.

That was two months afterThe Herald-Mailreported that Maxwell still owed $263,000 on his overdue loan — $181,786 in principal and $81,255 in interest.

During an interview while in Hagerstown for a film festival in October, Maxwell said he met with the Washington County Board of Commissioners earlier in the year “and everybody understands that it’s gonna be solved.”

But a majority of the commissioners were losing their patience by then.

“He’s not on track, and he owes Washington County taxpayers,” Terry L. Baker, the president of the commissioners, said in October. “He hasn’t lived up to his obligation.”

County officials did not announce when Maxwell’s loan was considered paid.The Herald-Maillearned about the settlement this month after asking about it.

Last week, Sprecher was not available to provide the final total of interest Maxwell owed but did not pay.

Asked on Wednesday about the county waiving Maxwell’s interest debt, Commissioner William B. McKinley said, “I believe it was seen as much better than not getting anything.”

County Administrator Gregory B. Murray said one consideration was the legal costs if the matter went to court.

There also was no guarantee of the outcome, Murray said, since the corporation through which Maxwell borrowed the money no longer exists.

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