What is the future of Medient studios? - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

What is the future of Medient studios?

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EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

The Securities and Exchange Commission is halting trading of Medient's stock, and now the company's executives have gone silent.

A year ago Medient announced plans to build a $90 million movie studio, the biggest in the world, in Effingham County.

Amid much fanfare, they signed a contract to build the studio on a 1,500 acre tract of land owned by the Effingham Industrial Development Authority. They broke ground, but the building never began.

Medient investors are now fearing their dreams, and their money has evaporated.

"A company's board of directors and its management team have a fiduciary responsibility to take care of their investors and this company has done everything but. They've trampled on the investors rights," Medient investor David O'Hearn said.

Local film students are also worried about Medient's future. They said they were excited to have what seemed to be a big career stepping stone right in their own backyards.

"It's almost like we've gotten this amazing opportunity sort of ripped away from us before we ever got the opportunity to take advantage of it," Rachel Dotson said.

The man that sold the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority on that dream, former CEO Manu Kumaran, has been ousted from the company in a hostile takeover.

Now Kumaran is suing Medient, and shareholders are questioning decisions made by the new CEO, who was granted 250 shares of preferred stock when he took over.

The SEC's halt on Meident trading lasts from June 25 until July 9. What happens after that depends on what the SEC finds as they investigate the company.

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