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

February 9, 2010

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 tax incentive program for filmmaking. The scandal has prompted state officials to review the effectiveness of all Iowa tax credits 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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