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Criminal Charges Filed Against Ex-Head of Iowa Film Office, Filmmakers

By: Joseph Bishop-Henchman

From the Des Moines Register:

The Iowa Attorney General’s office on Monday charged the former manager of the Iowa Film Office with misconduct in office and filed first-degree theft charges against principals involved in the making of a 2008 film in Council Bluffs.

The charges are the first after an almost five month probe of mismanagement and abuse of the state’s taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. incentive program for filmmaking. The scandal has prompted state officials to review the effectiveness of all Iowa tax creditA tax credit is a provision that reduces a taxpayer’s final tax bill, dollar-for-dollar. A tax credit differs from deductions and exemptions, which reduce taxable income, rather than the taxpayer’s tax bill directly. s programs.

Deputy Attorney General Thomas H. Miller said preliminary hearings would be scheduled in the next 20 days for Tom Wheeler, who was fired in September as manager of the Iowa Film Office; Wendy Weiner Runge, an Omaha native and executive producer of “The Scientist;” Matthias Alexander Saunders, another business owner and photography director; and three limited liability corporations tied to the movie.

We’ve been following the travails of Iowa’s film tax credit program, which suffered from a lack of oversight and inflated claims about success common to many other state film incentive programs:

And, of course, check out our report on the problems of film tax credit programs.

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