DES MOINES, Iowa – Criminal charges have been filed against two filmmakers, their companies and the former manager of the Iowa Film Office in connection with the alleged mishandling of tax incentives.
The Iowa attorney general's office filed first-degree theft charges Monday against Wendy Runge, of St. Louis Park, Minn., and Matthias Saunders, of Minneapolis. A charge of nonfelonious misconduct was filed against former film office manager Thomas Wheeler, of Indianola.
Runge is part owner of Polynation Pictures, LLC, and Saunders owns Maximum Productions LLC. They are accused of unlawfully inflating values on applications for tax credits totaling more than $10,000. Runge and Saunders also created The Scientist, LL, as an Iowa company to make a film that would use Iowa film tax credits.
Gov. Chet Culver fired Wheeler last September. He's accused of failing to verify eligibility of applicants for tax credits.
Wheeler's attorney, Gordon Fischer, says the charges against Wheeler aren't supported by facts or state law.