McCrory/Chick-fil-a connection confirmed by Georgia State Senator – Pinewood Studios grabs Marvel Contract


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By: Michael G. Plumides, Jr. JD 

I’ve been sitting on this for a few weeks now. Over the past several months, I’ve spoken with a lot of news outlets, all begging for my take on the whole McCrory/Chick-fil-a connection.  The problem was, many were reluctant to write a story based on my findings because there was no “smoking gun” – my theory was mostly conjecture, therefore they didn’t want to print it, no matter how correct I was or how much sense it made. (Go here for the story: https://michaelplumides.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/governor-pat-mccrory-and-chick-fil-a-conspire-to-send-north-carolina-jobs-to-georgia/) – I mean, let’s face it, I’m that guy who went to jail with GWAR, not Wolf Blitzer.

Although I’m not the “mainstream media” (but the original blog did get 40,000 hits so I ain’t no schlub AND Oderus was the “intergalactic correspondent” on Fox News’ Red Eye), I think that fact works in my favor because it affords me the opportunity to speak the truth without a filter, so I have carte blanche to say whatever the hell I want about cronyism and crooked politicians in my state. Anyway, my theory was confirmed in such a random way that I feel the necessity to share it with you, dear reader. This will really blow your mind.

According to a North Carolina “Actor” (I will not name at this time) who was on a location in Georgia where a feature film was shooting in January, he randomly struck up a conversation with the Representative of District 25 named Burt Jones (a close friend of the Cathy family) who just happened to be on set (and wouldn’t you know it – it was his house). Unwittingly, the State Senator confirmed my theory regarding campaign funding, film incentives, and interests adverse to job creation in our state otherwise known as the “Chick-fil-a/McCrory Connection”:

(1) The Cathy Family are supporters and dear friends of Governor McCrory,

(2) The Cathy family are also campaign financiers who donated a considerable amount of money to McCrory’s gubernatorial candidacy and other GOP campaigns in North Carolina,

(3) The position of the North Carolina GOP to let the film incentive lapse was partly engineered by the Cathy Family (who funded Pinewood Studios in Atlanta),

(4) The public posturing by the North Carolina GOP to not support the incentive has influenced production work to no longer consider North Carolina and choose Georgia instead,

(5)  The Republicans in the NC Senate posturing to not support the incentive renewal and let it lapse in 2015 also influenced Marvel Studios to sign a four-year contract with Pinewood Studios (if you remember – Iron Man 3 was shot in Wilmington, NC, the top grossing film of 2013) thus solidifying Marvel as the much needed anchor tenant, guaranteeing the Cathy’s investment.

The funny thing is,  the “actor” hadn’t read my original blog until two months afterward, so there was no collusion between he and I.  The noob “State Senator” offered the information after the actor indicated he was from North Carolina, and commented on the state of affairs regarding some film projects bypassing NC and going to Georgia due to the incentives flux. What’s even funnier is, the Senator went on about it, laughing and carrying on as if it were common knowledge.

Republicans take care of each other. Of the few Republicans in the film business – the Cathy Family just happened to be the closest to North Carolina’s GOP who actually benefit from the industry… with a disposable income in the billions. They donated money to McCrory, and in turn McCrory appointed Marcella Ramirez-Savage (Chick-fil-a Marketing Director) to the North Carolina Board of Education as a little token of appreciation.  The big delivery was the GOP’s overt negative position on the film incentives and creating instability in North Carolina regarding film and television production.  It was a brilliant play.

Now it’s a moot point for the North Carolina GOP to scuttle our film incentives. Whether it was a ruse or not I cannot determine – but as the GOP are serving masters outside of our state, and those masters have now benefited from that service, it would behoove them to vote for extending the incentives, as most of their policies are highly unpopular right now in the wake of the “coal ash”, “cutting unemployment benefits” and “teacher’s salaries” controversies. The incentives have been proven a viable economic boost for our North Carolina economy. http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/03/09/3687545/north-carolina-deciding-again.html

Think about what “Bridge-gate” did to Chris Christie… this is a helluva lot more egregious than that. I will release the names when the time comes.

That’s pretty much it. I discovered this. If my findings ever grab Vice‘s attention, please know that crazy Plumides guy figured it out before everyone.

Update: 10/2/2014

Deep throat finally exposes himself! Wilmington actor, David Schifter, recently owned up to his whistle blower status, who stated that McCrory was bought and sold by Georgia in the comments section on a similar article by a Georgia resident, Ryan Felton, on the “Casting Exchange” website:

“I am the actor who had that conversation with the GA senator, Burt Jones. It took place at his lakefront home. A beautiful log style home that was the day’s location for a film I was working on in January. We talked and made simple conversation which quickly turned to the NC/GA state of the film industry. He said straight out ‘Gov. McCrory had “handed over his state’s film production industry to Georgia.’ As he should have been, Sen. Jones was thrilled. He made the Chick-fil-a connection as well.

I voted for McCrory. It was a mistake I won’t make again nor will I allow speaker Tillis a shot at re-election. Power corrupts, and these men do not have the interest of the majority of North Carolinians and choose to sneak out back doors at public events where film proponents attend. What does that say about the men who destroyed a two-generation industry here?”

Schifter, and admitted Republican, went on to say:

“I had a first hand conversation with a GA senator at his lakefront log home in January about the industry in NC and there in GA. I was at his home filming scenes for a faith-based film called “Virtuous.” He was very clear that NC Governor McCrory, and I quote; “handed the (North Carolina) film industry over to Georgia.

Another interesting fact about NC’s dear leader is that Chick-fil-a often caters McCrory’s state house events. But McCrory will be a one term governor who is already tied up in a couple scandals. It’s just a damn shame he will have ruined a great industry that positively affected so many. How’s the real estate market around Atlanta? I may be packing it up and heading where people understand when they have a good thing and aren’t abusive and selfish.”

So there you have it folks – your smoking gun. There were people that doubted the validity of my claim. I will be honest with you, I embellish sometimes to make a story interesting but I’m not a good liar. Here’s the link:

http://www.castingexchange.com/blogs/did-chick-fil-a-kill-north-carolinas-film-incentives

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25 Responses to McCrory/Chick-fil-a connection confirmed by Georgia State Senator – Pinewood Studios grabs Marvel Contract

  1. Ric Reitz says:

    What happy horseshit, Michael! There is no conspiracy between the Cathy family, Chick-fil-A, Pinewood Studios, or anyone else in Georgia to crush the NC Entertainment Tax Incentive. The people in the entertainment industry in Georgia like and respect our North Carolina brothers and sisters. Truett and Dan Cathey may be odd bedfellows for the business in general, and they may be friends with McCrory, but they do not have the power, influence or desire to undermine your entertainment incentives. Make your case to the legislature and take control of your own destiny You have our best wishes!

    • No one thinks the Georgia grips, PAs or DPs are plotting and planning against North Carolina film folks. This is about MONEY. And the Cathy family found their ace in the hole… Pat McCrory. It was a rigged game but they only needed it until they signed the deal with Marvel. I have the name of the Georgia Senator who confirmed my theory and the district he represents. My beef is not with Georgia, or the Cathy Family – if I invested several million in an enterprise I wasn’t too familiar with, I’d want a rigged game too. And the Cathy Family sponsor a bowl game at the Georgia Dome and spend millions in advertising. Don’t kid yourself into thinking they don’t have influence. AND they are big GOP supporters, donating millions to PACS and candidates. They donated 1.3 million in 2010 to one group alone! http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/01/29/memo-to-media-chick-fil-a-hasnt-ended-its-anti/192434. Please leave your ad hoc, opinion-based rhetoric at the door, but we do appreciate your concern.

  2. That is debatable. One could argue that the Marvel deal was already in negotiations – but that’s still not the point. This is about taking measures to guarantee that the Cathy investment would be secure. It didn’t have to be Marvel. It could have been Bollywood for all intents and purposes as long as an anchor tenant was secured. By influencing the GOP in North Carolina (who coincidentally sent out press releases in 2013 that they would not support the tax incentive) who were poised to allow the “Sunset Clause” to take effect, by creating instability in our state, Georgia, the Cathy family, and Pinewood benefit. You could also argue that’s overkill, but these tactics are performed daily with oil and gas prices. It’s a way to manipulate the market through propaganda.

    • Ric Reitz says:

      Nope, don’t buy it. Marvel needed more studio space. They like NC and EUE Screen Gems, but NC didn’t have enough studio space for “Ant Man”, nor enough direct air access, let alone cheap airfares. It’s too costly to get in and out of Wilmington. And I love Wilmington. Pinewood made the decision to plant in GA long before the 2013 press you cited. Here’s some friendly advice. Do not make the state GOP your enemy. Georgia’s administration and legislature are controlled by the GOP. Yet, we do not have your same problems. You need to work with the NC GOP to navigate the process successfully. The Cathy’s didn’t destabilize the NC market. The market was unstable to begin with, considering the original 5-year plan and its “sunset clause”. Georgia has no “sunset clause”. Many states are without a “sunset clause”. Producers can read between the lines. There are a hundred reasons why the NC market is not currently viable for the long term, not one. Secure your market by working within the system, and blame no one but your own team for not learning how to fight the correct fight.

  3. First, Georgia politicians are delighted at the prospect of the loss of the incentives. Just ask Representative Ron Stephens: http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130804/ARTICLES/130809870?p=1&tc=pg Secondly, if you had read my first, more comprehensive article, you would know there are other issues that I address, namely Phil Berger’s (Rep. of Rockingham County) hard on to scuttle the incentive (over the film, Hound Dog) and I indicate that OUR GOP is unique in that both Louisiana and Georgia are Red States and the Republicans support those incentive programs respectively. https://michaelplumides.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/governor-pat-mccrory-and-chick-fil-a-conspire-to-send-north-carolina-jobs-to-georgia/ None of this changes the fact that McCrory, et al are puppets for billionaires with hidden agendas.

  4. John Smith says:

    Ric you are brainwashed, never to think rationally again.

  5. Dope Fiend says:

    So the film incentive music stopped in NC… and everyone got off the merry-go-round. The same thing that will happen in GA, LA and everywhere else. The incentives are shackles on a state to a business that will run at the first sign of the money spigot being turned off. NC is better off without it- more pain in the short term, yes, but in the long run the state is weaned off the teat. A “studio” is nothing but a big empty box. And a “production” is a bunch of big white trucks full of gear. And under the trucks are wheels….which roll from state to state, following the money.

    The idea of a “local film industry” is farcical. Ask yourself where the headquarters of all these companies are? Where do the real power players live? Until Jerry Bruckheimer or Brian Grazer move to Atlanta with their families or Sony Pictures relocates to Shreveport (which, if it was going to happen would have by now, after over a decade of giveaways) there is no ‘local’ film industry. There is only a 10-20 person team coming from Los Angeles to set up a production office and then pack it all up when principal photography is finished.

    I am interested to know what the exit strategy is in the financing of Pinewood Studios for when it goes bankrupt if/when the incentives are cancelled. It’s there somewhere….taxpayer guaranteed bonds? Up front credits already resold for hard cash? It has to be something- hell, there are billionaires involved. Because the day the incentives are cancelled is the day Hollywood loads up the big white trucks and rolls away. And anyone who doesn’t believe that is both lying to themselves AND blind…it happened in New Mexico, Michigan, (now) North Carolina and someday, when taxpayers in Georgia and Louisiana see that and get spooked, they too will decide that they should take the pain now. Better that or bribe Hollywood forever.

    Michael is right in following the money to find out who wins when the incentives fold. Nobody is committing to any film industry in any meaningful way in the South. Marvel’s production executives have their offices where? On the lot at Disney. In Burbank. That’s California.

    • Well, there’s always Canada.

    • Rob says:

      Hey Asshole, the industry was plenty beneficial to the state economy as well as local cities. There were thousands of us working in this industry who now have to either move or find new careers. We’re real people, not hollywood big wigs, and the businesses we support locally will be feeling the pain as well.

      • What’s really funny here, is the Koch Brothers have been very effective in demeaning the “Art of Filmmaking” as a way to earn a living in North Carolina. However, they support the “Art of Filmmaking” in the States they or their associates most benefit from. Don’t forget about the next Charlotte Film Anarchists meeting to discuss how we plan to disrupt the Koch Brothers’ takeover of our film and TV program here in North Carolina. The present “Grant Program” is an attack on the indie filmmaker just as much as it is against established production companies. We will also be registering voters and handing out materials so you know who to vote for in November. The meeting will be held at Common Market located at 2007 Commonwealth Avenue on Monday, September 29th at 8 PM until 10 PM. There will be a beer special. All are invited and there is no entry fee. Come join us! http://commonmarketisgood.com/

      • Dope Fiend says:

        Asshole? Me? Meh. Welcome to the club of runaway production…feels good, doesn’t it? I live in CA and work in the actual Hollywood. You may have heard of it, where there are tens of thousands of square feet of vacant soundstages (and the best trained film crews in America.) You’ve all been taking our jobs for years- ever stop to think where all those jobs came FROM? And now that CA has a decided to give my tax dollars to the people who are employing me we’ll see what happens to the local film “industry” in other states. Nobody WANTS to go to the various incentive states. They go because states are paying them.

  6. Roger Franks says:

    I’ve been following this story for a while, and with the announcement yesterday to let film incentives lapse in 2015 along with UA in Wilmington rethinking their position within the NC film industry, it would seem our government misanthropes (I use this word because they are self serving and hate everyone but their rich constituents) along with the most ineffective governor this state has ever seen, have purposely dealt a death blow to the future of film projects here. My producer and I have finished our first short film and have had a successful run on the festival circuit. We want to pursue a feature project now, but have decided we will focus on Louisiana as a viable location. They are a Republican state but they know the value of having good tax incentives to entice film productions to shoot there. This Republican controlled state has effectively turned the clock back on every progressive move made in the past 50 years and this is one more item that has turned NC into a laughing stock across the nation. Thank you, Michael, for sticking to this story and being an advocate of the film industry here. I hope you name names and we have even a better picture of the corrupt nature that exists between the politicians that are suppose to serve the public but instead serve the rich that pull their obvious puppet strings.

  7. Drew Schenck says:

    Read the whole story and all the comments. The leaps of logic are huge; Because the Cathy’s invested a tiny portion of their billions in a GA studio they would invest in a governor in NC to kill the film industry, the fact that they are friends and are conservative is a coincidence. The NC Legislature is SO beholding to the Governor that if the Governor gets a campaign contribution from a wealthy family the members of the House and Senate will automatically support that wealthy contributors out of state business to the detriment of NC, the fact that the GOP and conservatives are against corporate welfare and committed to equal playing field for businesses is a coincidence.

    • I guess South Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana must be run by a bunch of socialists who see television and film production as a viable industry. And you didn’t read the the blog, either. The tax incentive doesn’t single out film production as a unique beneficiary. Film falls under “Qualified Business Ventures” defined by the state tax laws as such: A Qualified Business Venture (QBV) is a business organized to engage primarily in manufacturing, processing, warehousing, wholesaling, research and development, or a service-related industry. To be eligible for registration as a QBV, the business must have been organized in the same year as the year in which it applies for registration, or it must not have generated more than $5,000,000 (five million dollars) in gross revenues as of its last fiscal year.

      So tell me, what’s this big tax plan the GOP has for your development business in Raleigh that will “end corporate welfare” and level the playing field that doesn’t kill too many jobs or pollute any rivers?

  8. Don Alan King says:

    Michael,
    ‘Bitter-sweet’ your article that you (sweet) finally articulated what I thought was a spot on appraisal of NC’s Film Incentive predicament. ‘Bitter’ because of the negative consequences that we now feel in our state based on the corrupt NC elected officials and their agendas. Indeed there is certainly a ‘smoking gun’ and the killer shot has been fired.
    What disturbs me is just that, ‘your smoking gun ‘. Don’t misunderstand, I happen to believe all this and why? Ironically Republicans and Democrats alike are (at least the ones I know) are very confused and frustrated with all the ‘Why’s’ of our legislative body killing a viable industry that will affect so many other businesses and people across the state. George’s past will become North Carolina’s future. Having known the man who started it all Frank Capra, Jr. must be spinning in his grave. His legacy and our film industry (yes real people I know) thrown to the curb.
    And I’m sorry regarding your ‘smoking gun’, but to claim one is a ‘Republican’ in the political environment we now find ourselves, well I will keep my opinions to myself…
    Still great article my friend!!!

  9. Pam says:

    McCrory, Tillis and assorted other powers are doing the same thing to the film industry that they are doing to education. You get what you vote for. Unfortunately, the damage being done by this administration will take years to correct or possibly never be corrected.

  10. M. Johns says:

    You lost me at “between he and I”.

  11. Rylin55 says:

    You voted for McCrory the first time?!!! Was that because you hoped you’d get some help with your professional activities? Or do you actually support an agenda that includes raising taxes on working class people while lowering them for the rich, and undermining rights of minorities to access to the polls, not to mention the intent to destroy Planned Parenthood and criminalize abortion? If you actually do believe in his values, why are you making films about/for hipsters, who would not be caught dead and diced into itty bitty pieces voting for someone like McCrory? (I am not a hipster – I am just a lowly elderly artist, but then many hipsters are artists, too, so I suppose I have that much in common with them…) Would you just be shamelessly profiting off the characteristics/money of a sub-culture you had no affinity for/with whatsoever? I guess if you are a Republican, that should not surprise me at all – the modern-day Republican ideology seems to be just plain unabashed revelling in sociopathy and lack of any discernible sense of principles, other than the principle of making money.

  12. Michael C. Hagerman, Esq. says:

    Interesting theory if one believes in conspiracies and in politics, I wouldn’t be shocked. However one piece of your puzzle falls flat on its face: Marcella Ramirez-Savage (a resident of my hometown in Waxhaw, NC) is the marketing director for BOJANGLES, not Chik-Fil-Eh. Right meat, wrong company. Conspiracy or no conspiracy, the whole film tax credit in North Carolina debacle is sad all the way around, both for those of us who work in the industry (even if part-time) and the state as a whole. The recent effort to raise the film grant might be a step in the right direction, but the Governor seems to have drawn a hard and fast line in the chicken, er, sand. On to South Carolina and Georgia, I guess….

    • I verified my information from the Governor’s website. If Mrs. Savage no longer works for Chick-fil-a, she did work for them, according to the North Carolina Government website. Read Below:

      “Appoint Marcella Ramirez Savage (Union County) – Savage is a member of the Union County Board of Education. She was elected Vice-Chair of the Board in December 2012. Savage serves as Marketing Director for Chick-fil-A. Savage will replace Melissa Bartlett on the Board, serving as a member-at-large.” – See more at: http://www.governor.state.nc.us/newsroom/press-releases/20130322/governor-mccrory-announces-appointments#sthash.xulqPRsI.dpuf

    • This was a quote by Mrs. Savage, dated August 3rd, 2014 in the comments section of this weblog, “I reside in North Carolina. I am merely a grass roots marketing director for an incredible owner operator that supports my state and local involvement. That is also part of what Chick-fil-A embodies: “to be a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us.” “US” sounds a lot like Chick-fil-a to me.

  13. One thing they did was to roll over all monies out of the program that gave incentives to film productions into a “emergency fund” that turned out to be a slush fund for Berger,Tillis and all the “darlings” there in the NCGA.
    It hit The News and Observer and some other local papers…and then when Tillis grabbed onto state senator, not a peep was heard anymore about it.
    By all accounts Berger, Pope and Tillis were all energized and vocal about ridding the state of that “libraul” riff-raff that was those dang Hollywood types, chortling as they grabbed up the remaining funds in that coffee for themselves.
    Many businesses and people that were bolstered by the filmmakers being there have suffered, like our state governor and GA really cares….
    So just about a year after that debacle these asshats have set their sights on the UNC family of colleges to inflict as much harm on them as possible.
    I pray they good people in this state remember theses shenanigans and vote accordingly come November…

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