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Warrants Issued for Pa. Film Office

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Warrants Issued for Pa. Film Office

Allegheny County detectives have issued search warrants for the struggling Pittsburgh Film Office, which has been linked to a similar California agency involved in a financial scandal.

Detectives are expected to take several weeks to conduct the searches, district attorney's office spokesman Mike Manko said Tuesday. Officials would not specify where the searches were taking place.

Cathy McCollom, spokeswoman for the Pittsburgh Film Office, said she had not heard about the searches and had no comment.

Investigators from Los Angeles already have searched the Pittsburgh office. In previous court documents, investigators alleged that Cody Cluff, the head of a Los Angeles agency that tries to attract film and television projects, misspent public money, including giving $20,000 to the Pittsburgh Film Office, headed by Dawn Keezer.

Investigators alleged Cluff and Keezer have been in a relationship since 1999 and worked together to funnel more than $46,834 from Cluff's agency to the Pittsburgh agency and a national film advocacy group, FilmUS, which Keezer also heads.

Allegheny County Controller Dan Onorato also said he would audit the Pittsburgh film agency.

Last week, Keezer called allegations of impropriety "unsubstantiated." She's said previously that the office would have to shut down if it doesn't find funding by Dec. 15.

Neither Cluff nor Keezer is charged with any crime, and Cluff's attorney, Tom Brown, has said that his client had done nothing wrong.

The Pittsburgh Film Office was created 12 years ago with the aim of bringing film projects to the area.

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On the Net:

Pittsburgh Film Office: www.pghfilm.org

Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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