(Ryan Millsap, along with other Atlanta power brokers, for an article in Atlanta Business Chronicle)
Blackhall Studios provides everything a movie production may need.
On their website, the studio boasts that it, "offers complete services for all types and sizes of productions – from small independent films to scripted television series to tent pole movies. The ever-expanding in-town Atlanta studio complex spans nearly 150 acres across two adjacent campuses."
It provided studio space for such blockbuster hits as Godzilla, Jumanji the Next Level, Venom, and Stephen King's Doctor Sleep.
Its sale, earlier this year, was covered extensively, including by CNBC.
Millsap, the founder, is the sort of person one would expect to be in the middle of a successful nine figure deal.
An ABC article from 2020 noted.
Even as Millsap was managing the studio and finalizing his nine figure deal, he has been hounded by a curious lawsuit with a character who would normally not be part of such a transaction.
He is currently being sued by Martin James Schulz. Schulz is much less likely to be on the business pages than in the police blotter.
He has at least fifteen criminal convictions, including one in Georgia in 2017, for stalking an ex-wife.
Here is part of the transcript from his guilty plea.
The court: DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT YOU'RE CHARGED WITH THE FOLLOWING OFFENSES. YOU'RE CHARGED WITH THREE COUNTS OF AGGRAVATED STALKING AS FELONIES AND YOU'RE CHARGED WITH ONE COUNT OF VIOLATION OF A PROTECTIVE OFFERED AS A MISDEMEANOR?
Schulz: I AM.
Schulz wound up pleading guilty to this charge; it was the latest in a life which has taken him on a criminal path that spans more than two decades.
My name is Kate Whitlock. I represent John Da Grosa Smith and SMITH LLC.
On March 26, 2021, Judge Joseph Iannazzone granted Mr. Smith’s and SMITH LLC’s request to withdraw as counsel of record in the case of Schulz, et al v. Millsap, et al, Superior Court of Gwinnett County, Civ. Act. No. 18-A09182-11. Defendants are now represented in that pending civil action by Thomas Tate, Esq. of the law firm Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C. (copied).
After receiving that response, I asked this follow up question, "I'm confused. Mr. Smith is a lawyer. What are you representing him on? Why would a lawyer need another lawyer to issue a statement first lawyer could figure out how to draft on his own?"
Ms. Whitlock did not respond to my follow up question.
According to Taylor's letter, he filed the previously mentioned notice of lis pendens on February 18, 2020.
A lis pendens, "is an official notice to the public that a lawsuit involving a claim on a property has been filed," according to Investopedia.
With that lis pendens filed, a sale of Blackhall Studio could not move forward as a lawsuit on the property was coming.
In order to remove the lis pendens, Millsap agreed to pay Schulz $6.7 million.
The parties have remained tight lipped with none of the principles agreeing to speak with me.
This may be because there is an arbitration coming up for this lawsuit, which will be binding, later in September.
Though it seems hard to believe that a claim based on an oral contract would win out, the case has made it this far, and so it's possible that a drug addict with a long rap sheet could be entitled to tens of millions of dollars from a successful CEO based entirely on a purported oral contract.