Apr 7, 2010

Newspaper cites "Saddle Up" in tax-credit misappropriation case

Pubcasting show Saddle Up With Dennis Brouse is caught up in a tax-credit controversy, reports the DesMoines Register. The director of the state film office, which lures film and TV productions companies to Iowa to generate revenue, was fired last September. He's charged with official misconduct and goes on trial Friday. The state wants to hold him responsible for approving what the attorney general's office calls "blatantly false, fraudulent and exaggerated" claims for state tax breaks. The newspaper obtained documents detailing the projects involved, which include Saddle Up. The paper reports that Brouse's show was awarded the most tax credits of any production in the past two years, some $9.3 million. Filmmakers do not typically pay cash or taxes on sponsorships, and prosecutors say sponsorships should not qualify for subsidies under Iowa law. The newspaper had Ross Johnson, an industry rep for producers and financiers, look over Brouse's records. "I've seen hundreds of budgets, but this takes the cake. I've never seen anyone trying to claim these (sponsorships) as a cash transaction." The paper said Brouse did not return its calls; Current also left a message for his publicist. The show, produced by Changing Horses Productions, is distributed by Executive Program Services and carried on more than 100 stations. UPDATE: EPS told Current in an email: "Our agreement with Changing Horses Productions was for distribution of Saddle Up With Dennis Brouse. We had no involvement with the production or financing of the series and no involvement with, or knowledge of, any dealings with the State of Iowa."

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