‘Studioplex’ Vision Collapses on Ex-NY Gov.

     (CN) — Executives from Moon River Studios sold investors on the Hollywood dream of bringing the nation’s largest movie studio to Georgia, but as “Studioplex” got exposed as a chimera, the Securities and Exchange Commission knocked on the door of the company’s directors, including ex-New York Gov. David Paterson.
     Paterson, whose brief stint as the Empire State’s 55th governor lasted between 2008 and 2010, is not accused of defrauding investors, but he agreed Friday to pay $25,000 for paperwork violations connected to the company.
     Businessman Charles Koppelman, the current CEO of CAK Entertainment who once served as an EMI executive, paid the same amount for administrative violations.
     Michael Ference, a partner at Sichenzia Ross Friedman Ference, emphasized that the SEC cleared both men of any fraud.
     “The SEC acknowledged in its press release that Gov. Paterson and Mr. Koppelman were not complicit in any alleged wrongdoing by the company,” he said in a phone interview. “As it relates to Gov. Paterson and Mr. Koppelman, it was an administrative issue which was resolved, and they’re happy to have it behind them. And it’s important to note that Gov. Paterson and Mr. Koppelman never sold a share of the company.”
     The SEC says that is not true for three other executives from the film production company: Manu Kumaran, Moon River’s CEO; Jake Shapiro, his successor; and Roger Miguel, who ran a successor company called Fonu2.
     Studioplex never came to pass, and never released a single movie or video game. But regulators say that didn’t stop Kumaran or Shapiro from trotting the globe on investors’ money.
     Kumaran spent $1,700 a day on travel and personal expenses between April 2014 and June 2014, after telling investors he did not draw a salary, according to the 68-page complaint.
     The SEC says that Shapiro, his successor, used company money to buy a house worth nearly a million dollars.
     Kumaran and Shapiro’s charges have been filed in the Southern Georgia federal court.
     Miguel settled his charges without admitting or denying the allegations, and agreed to be barred from participating in any penny-stock offerings or serving as a public company officer or director for five years.
     A judge will determine Miguel’s monetary sanctions at a later date.
     The SEC opened an administrative action against Matthew T. Mellon II, a scion of the Mellon banking family who once served as chairman of the New York Republican Party Finance Committee.
     Edward Little, who heads the white-collar division of the firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed, called the SEC’s action against his client “ridiculous” in a phone interview.
     “Matt Mellon was an outside independent director who actually resigned because of what is going on at the company,” the attorney said. “He’s being sued for a technical matter relating to not filing a form for the receipt of stock, which ultimately turned out to be worthless.”
     Attorneys for Kumaran and Shapiro did not respond to telephone requests for comment by press time Friday.

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