It was perhaps a minor miracle that Carissa Carpenter, 51, actually showed up for her arraignment in Federal Court to plead not guilty to charges she had bilked investors in a movie studio that never got built out of $5 million.
Appearing in court on schedule has proved challenging for Carpenter over past decades. Public records show, according to the Sacramento Bee, she has “…blamed health concerns when seeking court delays or explaining unpaid debt, citing cancer, blood clots, heart attacks, pacemaker problems or bypass surgery for her…daughter.”
At her Federal Court appearance on November 20, she was uncharacteristically subdued, according to the Bee, and even unresponsive when approached for a comment in the courthouse cafeteria. Her courthouse demeanor sharply contrasted with her flamboyant performance at the March 12 meeting of the Dixon City Council. “We did it…It is time for Morning View to move forward.”
Morning View was a $2.8 billion concept for “an eco-friendly movie studio with multiple sound stages, influxes of A-List celebrities in the small farm town, and plentiful construction and permanent union jobs”. The 300 acres of farm land upon which the Hollywood-caliber, state-of-the-art studio was to materialize remains, today, 300 acres of farm land.
At the time, Dixon City Manager Jim Lindley announced that his office had performed exhaustive “due diligence” and then declared Morning View would be “a big boon for us.”
Carpenter claimed she had invested hundreds of millions of dollars of her own money in Morning View and had support of well-connected celebrities in her quest to bring Hollywood to Dixon. Federal prosecutors say that, in fact, a tiny number of Hollywood figures were only peripherally involved and that Carpenter took investors’ money to finance her extravagant lifestyle.
Appointed a public defender in the case, Carpenter is scheduled to return to Federal Court on February 12 for her next hearing.