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Prosecutors Widen EIDC Probe

Nine search warrants are served for bank accounts and credit cards of the Pittsburgh Film Office and its director.

November 13, 2002|Anita M. Busch and Steve Berry | Times Staff Writers

The Los Angeles County district attorney's investigation into the Entertainment Industry Development Corp. expanded Tuesday when nine more search warrants were served on banks in Pittsburgh.

The move is the latest in an ongoing investigation by county prosecutors into whether the EIDC and its president, Cody Cluff, misused public funds. The agency coordinates movie permits for the city and county and promotes filming in Los Angeles.

Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, said the warrants were for the bank accounts and credit cards of the Pittsburgh Film Office and Director Dawn Keezer.

Last week, investigators seized records from a Pittsburgh art gallery, the Pittsburgh Film Office and Keezer's home, alleging in court documents that she may have conspired with Cluff to misappropriate public funds.

Keezer is chairman of Film US, the national movie advocacy group whose legitimacy is being questioned by the district attorney's office. Cluff serves as the secretary of the group of 196 film commissioners, who seek to keep film and television production inside the United States.

Since the raids last week, Pittsburgh city officials have asked for an audit of the Pittsburgh Film Office while Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn, county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Councilwoman Wendy Greuel have urged that Cluff resign or be put on administrative leave. Cluff has not resigned, and there has been no vote taken by the board.

The so-called rollback warrants for electronic searches at the banks were prompted by information gleaned from the earlier Pittsburgh raid, according to the district attorney's office. Two search warrants were also issued Tuesday by the Allegheny County district attorney's office, prompted by Pittsburgh city officials' request for an audit.

"I don't believe that she has done anything improper, and I don't fully understand the frenzy in Pittsburgh," said Keezer's lawyer, William Manifesto. "I'm satisfied that when it's all done, there will be no allegations of any wrongdoing."

Cluff's attorney declined to comment Tuesday.

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