Editor's Note

The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

FOI at work: Johnny Depp's entourage partially funded by Wis. taxpayers

An FOI request for a tally of the expenses that the filmmakers of "Public Enemies" submitted for state tax breaks uncovered the need for improvements in the tax credit law. Taxpayers covered percentages of the cost for costume cleaning, stuntmen's living expenses, Johnny Depp's entourage of chauffeurs and hair stylists, among other expenses. The Commerce Department did prevent filmmakers from claiming the wrap party, the AP reported; however, they were allowed to submit expenses and salaries paid outside of Wisconsin. The film cost the state more in tax credits than it generated in economic activity.

Wisconsin taxpayers contributed $450,000 toward Hollywood director Michael Mann's salary when he came to the state last year to film the big-budget Johnny Depp movie "Public Enemies."

Records obtained by The Associated Press show the state's film tax credits not only covered a quarter of Mann's $1.8 million salary, they paid for a portion of his assistants' salaries, entertainment, meals and stuntmen's living expenses.

The state's tax credits even covered about $100,000 of the cost of Depp's entourage of chauffeurs, hair stylists and assistants, said Zach Brandon, executive assistant at the Wisconsin Commerce Department.

More here.

No comments: