Court rules against Hangar42 backers

The Walker location where Hangar42 was to be developed. (File photos)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) –- A state court has ruled against two men who attempted to build a film studio in West Michigan, saying they are not entitled to a tax credit after being unable to get their project off the ground.

Tuesday, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that Joseph Peters and his company, West Michigan Film LLC, are not entitled to a $10 million tax credit for the failed film studio.

The project led to criminal charges for Peters and his developer, Jack Buchanan Jr. However, those charges were ultimately dismissed.

The project, dubbed Hangar42, was to be built at the former Lear plant on Alpine Avenue in Walker.

Under the plan, West Michigan Film LLC was going to purchase the property for $40 million, using the $10 million tax credit from the state to help offset the cost.

But in 2010, Target 8 investigators learned the Michigan Film Office denied the tax credit, which killed the development.

Peters’ company sued the state for breach of contract. That lawsuit was dismissed by the Michigan Court of Claims, and on Tuesday, the Michigan Court of Appeals agreed with that decision, saying West Michigan Film LLC failed to file its lawsuit within one year and didn’t actually have a contract that promised $10 million in tax credits.

The project itself was controversial; the Michigan Attorney General claimed Peters and Buchanan Jr. inflated the value of the property in an attempt to get a larger tax credit from the state.

Both men were charged with attempted false pretenses of $20,000 or more. Those charges were dismissed by a Grand Rapids judge during a preliminary hearing in 2011, saying the attorney general hadn’t proved fraud.

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