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Monday, February 6, 2012

Paul Sorvino of GoodFellas fame faces trouble with PA officials after using taxpayer money for film

English: Paul Sorvino in NY
Lackawanna County, Pa., officials say Paul Sorvino better not “fuhgeddaboud” them.
A source familiar with the situation tells us the “GoodFellas” actor hasn’t exactly endeared himself to locals there after he took a $500,000 taxpayer “investment” in 2006 to make the independent film “The Trouble With Cali.”
Almost six years later, officials are wondering whether they’re going to see any of that investment back and also why, after shooting much of the film in the county seat of Scranton, Sorvino chose to premiere the picture in Sedona, Ariz.
Adding to the controversy: Former Lackawanna County commissioner Paul Cordaro , who championed the investment — and is credited as an executive producer on the movie — was just sentenced 11 years to prison for extortion and racketeering.
On Jan. 19, Lackawanna County Director of Administrative Services Thomas P. Dirkin wrote to Sorvino asking for an “update” on the movie’s “projected completion date and distribution schedule.”
Dirkin noted in his letter that “there continues to be a great deal of interest” among residents regarding the movie’s “progress.”
The 72-year-old Sorvino directed and stars in “The Trouble With Cali,” along with his son Michael Sorvino and Oscar-winning daughter Mira Sorvino .
The tragic comedy, about a difficult family, is slated to screen at the Sedona International Film Festival on Feb. 21, and, we hear, Lackawanna locals aren’t happy that Sorvino didn’t screen it for them first.
They’ve certainly been patient. Back in 2006, Cordaro championed two $250,000 “expenditures” to help finance “Cali,” and in an unusual arrangement, the county was granted a one-third stake in the movie.
Sorvino says Cordaro’s executive producer title is decorative.
“He’s not producing,” he says.
While published reports indicate Sorvino approached the county in 2005 for financing, the actor says it’s the other way around. He claims Cordaro came to him “unsolicited” and originally proposed giving him a “grant.” Sorvino insists he suggested the current arrangement.
“I probably would have been better taking a grant,” he says.
Sorvino says Lackawanna stands to make back its investment, plus 20%, “if the movie turns a profit,” but adds there are no guarantees.
“It’s a very good film and it will do well, but nobody knows,” he says.
That said, Sorvino maintains the county has already “reaped the benefits” of its investment. He says he spent $700,000 shooting the movie in Scranton in 2007, employing “hundreds of people” and generating great PR.
“If that isn’t a good thing, I don’t know what to say to you,” says Sorvino.
Lackawanna County Vice-Chairman Corey D. O’Brien did not respond to requests for comment.


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