Sanborn Studios is suing Sarasota County for acting in bad faith.
The county filed a suit against Sanborn Studios LLC July 28 for failing to provide 117 full-time jobs to Sarasota employees in exchange for an incentive loan for relocating to the county.
Sanborn stated the county had told the company it had met its obligations at a meeting last year.
In response, the company is suing the county for: breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, slander of title, disparagement of property, trade libel and injurious falsehoods, tortuous interference with contractual relations, and intentional interference with an advantageous business relationship.
Sanborn claimed that county staff had undermined the company’s reputation, specifically to Sweet Tomato Films, a client with whom Sanborn had done previous business. Sanborn was lined up to assist in the production of a film in Sarasota with this company, but Sweet Tomato backed away and moved the production to Tampa.
According to Sanborn’s press release, Sweet Tomato Films sent a letter to Sanborn July 26, 2013, stating praise for previous work done for Sweet Tomato, but that the film company had been hassled by the county about doing business with Sanborn.
“We were told by folks at the County that our association with Sanborn Studios was creating a prejudice against our production company,” said Dori Sperko, Sweet Tomato Films producter, in the letter.
Sanborn also said that the county suit goes against the two audit reports that the county made in 2011 and 2012.
Sanborn has made documents that support its claims available for the public on their website, including the letter from Sweet Tomato Film and the audit reports. Sanborn Studios is not listed by name in the 2011 audit.
In the 2012 audit, the county identified that there was several problems with the financial incentive contract, including a lack of provisions to measure a company’s performance, to require companies to submit documentation that allows for reconciliation of jobs created during the contract, and to require the company to routinely submit relevant financial data to the county. Sanborn was not mentioned directly.