Mac Parker's film has taken an unexpected plot twist -- from inspirational movie to courtroom drama.
"'Birth of Innocence' is a film and story of hope, about beauty and the wonder of who we really are," he told reporters at a Friday press conference.
But Vermont banking officials are investigating whether the Addison County storyteller broke state law by selling unregistered securities to finance the film. Tom Candon, deputy commissioner of the Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care, says Parker raised $10 million from nearly 700 investors. At issue is whether this money was in the form of investment securities, which would need to be registered with the state but were not, or loans.
"I do know the difference between securities and loans," said Sharon Gutwin, a supporter from Williston who joined Parker at the press conference. "This has always been a personal, and in my opinion, a very personal loan to a friend."
"I didn't buy a security from this man," said supporter Christopher White of Vergennes. "I took out a loan. I get a fixed rate of interest, a term. It's as simple as black and white."
The state says it's not that simple. Deputy banking commissioner Tom Candon pointed to contracts that identify them as investments.
"It talked about the investor invests how much money," Candon said, reading from documents filed in court. "Mac Parker commits to repaying the investment in full and goes on and on using the word investments."
But he says it's not just a matter of terminology.
"Our job in the securities division and the department is to be aware of what is being sold to the public, making sure we protect the public and investors," Candon said, calling this the largest securities investigation he can remember in Vermont.
The case is now in Washington Superior Court. The state has frozen Parker's assets and blocked him from raising more money until a judge determines whether he is doing so legally.
"We're not talking about a loan between you and I or a few friends," Candon said. "We're talking over 700 people, 2,400 contracts and millions of dollars, and there's also an expectation of gain here or return, and therefore we do feel this does fall under our securities laws."
Parker's supporters say they think the state is overstepping its bounds.
"It is representative of the very worst of what a government body can take on," White said. "And it's enough. It quite simply is enough."
And a new twist in this case -- a co-producer on the movie, a doctor from Connecticut who Parker says is jointly responsible for paying back investors -- has disappeared. Candon says he too is interested in locating this person.
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-03-10 02:43:23 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:56 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:56:33 GMT
Flags were flying on the Statehouse steps Sunday afternoon as more than 500 people gathered for the Gun Owners of Vermont Rally."Vermonters -- not just hunting Vermonters who happen to have firearms forMore >>
A trio of gun control measures may have gotten the green light from Burlington voters on Town Meeting Day, but the charter changes face strong opposition across the state, and a possible uphill battle at the Statehouse.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:43 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:43:32 GMT
Is the marketing behind Electronic Cigarettes aimed at kids?New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) says the industry's trendy packaging and flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy aren't foolingMore >>
Schumer is co-sponsoring a Senate bill that would ban e-cigarette marketing aimed at kids.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:42 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:42:02 GMT
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.Members of the so-called Senate Climate Action Task Force -- nearly two dozen in allMore >>
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:40 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:40:46 GMT
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.The owner of the home on Pike Drive called for help a little after 9:30 a.m. Sunday. When firefighters arrived theyMore >>
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:38 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:38:52 GMT
Jazz fingers, dance moves -- and plenty of passion. The Urban Reach Dance Convention is giving aspiring dancers the chance to learn from some of the music industry's most acclaimed teachers, who have workedMore >>
Aspiring dancers hit the floor this weekend at the 8th annual Urban Reach Dance Convention.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-03-09 22:08:59 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
Sunday morning CCTA officials announced that after a marathon negotiation session they delivered a complete contract proposal to the union.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 2:52 PM EDT2014-03-09 18:52:05 GMT
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend. His office says the Governor was at Brown University in Providence taking part in a forum with the Rhode Island Governor. He is expected toMore >>
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend.More >>