Archive for November 18th, 2010

WWE a Beneficiary of Connecticut Film Tax Credits

World Wrestling Entertainment, a Stamford-based company that is being investigated by the Connecticut Department of Labor for alleged misclassification of employees as independent contractors, is a significant beneficiary of a tax credit program to lure television and movie production to the state.

A study of these film tax subsidy programs in 43 states, undertaken by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, concluded that they were bad investments, according to an article about the study in the Hartford Business Journal. See “CT, other states’ film credits panned,” http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/news15646.html.

See also the comments of Connecticut’s governor-elect, Dan Malloy, in today’s Stamford Advocate, “Malloy says ‘jury still out’ on whether film tax credits worth it,” http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/local/article/Malloy-says-jury-is-still-out-on-whether-film-819329.php.

According to its most recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the publicly traded WWE received $6.1 million in film tax credits in the last quarter. These revenues are not broken down state-by-state, but the bulk surely came from Connecticut and Louisiana (where WWE’s film division shoots low-budget movies that go quickly or directly to video). WWE also is believed to receive film tax subsidies from some states where it travels to shoot its weekly Raw and Smackdown TV shows.

 

Irv Muchnick

Muchnick’s Public Records Request in Connecticut Investigation of WWE

Yesterday I reviewed the little that is known so far about the audit by the Connecticut Department of Labor of World Wrestling Entertainment’s alleged independent contractor misclassification (https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/what-is-the-status-of-the-state-of-connecticut%E2%80%99s-wwe-investigation/).

This morning, by fax, email, and snail mail, I sent a letter with the following text to Linda Agnew, the state’s acting commissioner of labor:

 

Dear Commissioner Agnew:

I am an author and journalist based in California. For more information about me, please see my website, http://muchnick.net.

This is a formal request for public records under the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act.

I am cc’ing Attorney General Richard Blumenthal in the hope that he will use his good offices to expedite this request. According to an article in the Hearst Connecticut Newspapers on September 15, the State of Connecticut is auditing World Wrestling Entertainment for alleged misclassification of employees. The Attorney General’s office told reporters at the time that such work is conducted by the Department of Labor.

If I am correctly reading Public Act 10-12, as explained in the public materials of the Joint Enforcement Commission on Employee Misclassification, inquiries regarding misclassification are to be directed to any of five agencies, including the Department of Labor and the Office of the Attorney General. When those investigations culminate in litigation, they are referred to the Attorney General.

The Commission’s public resources include a Form DOL-83 Referral Form, which is to be sent to the Stop Work Unit of the Connecticut Department of Labor.

By this letter, I am applying for copies of all Forms DOL-83 which have been filed with the State of Connecticut and which list “World Wrestling Entertainment” or a variant (“WWE,” “World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.,” etc.) in the top line, “Company Name.”

Please acknowledge this request and advise me of its status. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Irvin Muchnick

 

*****

Later this morning I received an email from a Labor Department staffer. The email made no reference to my FOIA request and simply said, “What can I do for you?” I replied with a copy of my letter.

A Connecticut source who would know gave me the name of the Labor official (not my email correspondent) who is likely playing point in the WWE investigation.

Stay tuned.

 

Irv Muchnick


Irv’s Tweets

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