People in economically depressed areas desperate for jobs will place their faith in almost anyone who promises a miracle to end their suffering. Unfortunately, scam artists are taking advantage of the recession to deplete the little that is left in hard hit cities such as Allen Park, Michigan outside of Detroit. As if things couldn’t get any worse for Detroit, right?
Last summer, Allen Park residents celebrated what seemed to be the answer to their prayers. A wannabe studio executive by the name of Jimmy Lifton (gawd, doesn’t his name just scream scam artist?) wanted to open a movie studio and film school in their town that promised to create hundreds of jobs and bring Hollywood projects to the area.
According to The News-Herald, the city sold $25.3 million in long-term general obligation bonds and $3 million in Wayne County-issued recovery zone bonds last fall to pay for the property.
Eight months later, the city has revealed that Lifton failed to pay the base rent of $25,000, along with an additional rent of $17,000 on April 3. More:
It also said Unity failed to separate utility meters and to provide information on Lifton Institute for Media Skills’ curriculum and a list of students and instructors to the city. It said that Unity failed to provide on a quarterly basis a balance sheet, a profit and loss statement and a payroll report for all people for any Unity entity that generates a W-2 and/or 1099 tax statement.
I did an online search for any information on Lifton Institute for Media Skills and came up with little other than the school's website which didn't provide any tuition rate information and a comment that was left under the Oakland Press article:
Jimmy Lifton as well as all the other clown shoes "film schools" that have mysteriously popped up in the last 2 years are just a bunch of scam artists. They use Michigan WORKS! tax payer dollars to line their pockets.
Jimmy Lifton charges up to $12,000 a class for "film training"- you will never see a true film camera in his classes- you will never be taught by an industry professional. He holds his "classes" in beat up abandoned automotive office space with free rental equipment that he has borrowed from local rental houses- the gaff house and william f white.
He is stealing power from the plant next door, clearly a fire hazard as well as thievery. (please investigate if you have the means)
I don't know how this jerk sleeps at night. no rent, no audit, poor excuse for a business, stealing tax payer dollars..
only saving grace...
You will make a short video on a prosumer digi camera starring JIM LIFTONS DAUGHTER!!!- hope its worth 12 grand!
Good luck finding a job "graduates" !.... Lifton Institute! WHAT A JOKE!!!!!!!!! you will be viewed at as a moron, untrained, or "one who has been scammed"
Keep up the DENILE Jimmy.. its a great tactic for liars, thieves and cowards!
Who knows if the school even has more than a few of
What was supposed to be a joint project with Unity Studios and Allen Park has instead become a $150 million bad investment paid in full by the city with Lifton pocketing every loan and grant he could get from taxpayers. I wonder how long Lifton will be able to continue this scam with the assistance of Allen Park city officials who need pretend everything is on the right track to save their jobs in the next election.
This story should be a reminder that if someone pops up out of nowhere in your Podunk town with an offer that sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Honestly, why would a legitimate, big name Hollywood studio exec want to invest over a $100 million in a studio outside of Detroit instead of a bigger city like Chicago or even Minneapolis? Any competent city official ought to have questioned this guy’s motives. Now, their constituents will suffer for their million dollar mistake.