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Updated:Theater 29′s Recent 990 Tax Filings…Say Gary! Where is the “Architect” Grant?

By   /   March 26, 2014  /   9 Comments

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Public Information Requests were sent to Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt’s office in early 2012 asking for any and all documents pertaining to a “Grant” that was awarded to Theater 29 to pay for an architect to design  a new theater, as stated in  Gary Daigneault’s presentation to the 29 Palms City Council.>STORY

Mitzelfelt’s office responded to the records request stating there were NO grants from his office for such a task nor were there any grants from the San Bernardino County for this endeavor.  Related previous story>LINK

In this post, we will have a closer look at Theater 29′s recent tax filings for 2009, 2010 and 2011. (Update:adding 2008)

Can ANYONE find the “Architect” grant?

UPDATE: Providing 2008 Tax documents here> Theatre_29_2008_tax_return

2009> 990_2009_Theatre_29  According to their tax records, in 2009 they received an $18,000 grant.  See  Part VIII Line 1e. this grant had nothing to do with funding for any architect theater plans.  Please note: Randy Councell, City of Twentynine Palms Staff, was on their voting board this year.

2010> 990_2010_Theater_29  According to their tax records, in 2010 they did not receive grants or contributions totaling more than $4,246, so there is no $18,000 grant there.  Hmmmm…

2011> Theater_29_2011_990  According to their tax records, in 2011 they did not receive grants or contributions totaling over $6,137, so there is no $18,000 grant there. Hmmm…

The 2011 tax return shows that gross ticket receipts have been steadily declining every single year since 2008! (See Schedule A, Part III, Section A, Line 2 all the way across).

So why does Gary Daigneault, past Theater 29 President for nine consecutive terms claim they have “outgrown” their present location if ticket sales are diminishing?

Daigneault’s current Vice President title, which was bolded to stand out on Theater 29′s website, lists he is the only board member on the “New Building Committee.”

4.    Their 2012 tax return (which was due in May 2013) is not on file.


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About the author

Margo Sturges

Yucca Valley Editor

Note: Margo Sturges has written many articles for Cactus Thorns and is the founder of Citizens4Change.info. Email contact: MargoSturgesYV(at)aol.com "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."- George Orwell


  1. Carey Alderson Carey Alderson says:

    To all:

    Gary Daigneault and I have not always seen eye-to-eye on a few things but I think you might be confusing a few things in the article for funding that happened over two separate years.

    On Oct 21, 2008 the BOS approved 5-0 CBDG grants in which one item was $18,000 for the Theatre.

    (From BOS Staff report)
    1. Conduct a public hearing and review proposed Substantial Amendments to the 2008-2009 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Action Plan for the County’s 2005-2010 Consolidated Plan; and,
    2. Amend any strategies, actions, or proposed accomplishments identified in the 2008-2009 Strategic Plan portion of the County’s 2005-2010 Consolidated Plan that are affected by the
    amendments approved at this hearing; and, 3. Approve the following Substantial Amendments to the 2008-2009 Action Plan for the County’s2005-2010 Consolidated Plan:
    c. First District: Initiate a new project for design of a 250-300 seat indoor theater and a 1,000 seat outdoor amphitheater at Pioneer Park in the City of Twentynine Palms (No. 246-34102) utilizing $18,000 from unprogrammed funds for the First Supervisorial District (No.310-12129/0583).

    Now, in the article there is reference a Dec, 2009 discretionary fund payment from the 1st District Supervisor in the same amount of $18,000.

    I am not here to defend the accounting of the Theatre’s filings. I am just saying that you are confusing the two dollar amounts.

    • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

      Are you saying that there are two payments of $18,000.00?

      “I am just saying that you are confusing the two dollar amounts.”

      If that is accurate then why no accounting for $36,000? Why is there a county contract in the amount of $18,000 for the production of plays?

      The tax documents reflect a one time income of $18,000 as a grant but the tax documents never reflect an expenditure of $14,000 for “design” or $4,000 for “fund raising materials”.

      I tried to research this dilemma in 2009 and early 2010 with Mitzelfelt’s field representative Robert Eland. As best as I could determine they were confused also and had no explanation other than not answering the questions.

      Also I have no recollection of the city ever getting $18,000 to do exploratory work for anything to be built at “Pioneer Park”. It appears that only Theater 29 was provided funds in the amount of $18,000.

      Anyways this is old business.

      What is not old business is this $18,000 that created two drawings was the seedling for the eventually mutated Project Phoenix which generated a 31 million bond debt that is now being decided upon in the Court.

      It will be interesting to see that decision by the Judge next month.

      • Hmmm..$18K for Amphitheater,AND $18K for “architect design,AND $18K for sign?

        That’s a lot of $18K’s going around.

        Where is the accounting on all of this?

        Retired 29 Palms City Clerk, Char Sherwood, searched extensively and could not find anything except for installing air conditioning and roof repairs.

        She was VERY clear no funding for any architect design for a new Theatre29 was awarded by the city.

      • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

        Hey Carry,

        Can you help me out here and explain your thoughts?

        Was there two allocations of $18,000 or was it one allocation of $18,000 neither of which show in the expenditure page of the tax returns.

        I am just trying to figure it all out.

        After all someone that is running for council should have an answer to this I would think.

        We are looking forward to the answer that you may come upon.

        • @ Steve and Carey,

          Carey, I’m all excited about your campaign. I carefully read your essay (statement) you published in CT (thank you). I liked your statements.

          Now is the opportunity to get an early start on your bid for CC. The public is eager to hear new ideals, what worked and what didn’t, how your four years will be different that the rest of those guys that…well had it all wrong.

          Now is the time to take your campaign statements and run with it. Roll up those sleeves and get out there, kiss a few babies, shake a few hands, and tell the public why they should vote for you. Tell the public what direction you want to take the city. What is wrong with it and how your plan will fix it.

          Be very proactive now and the seat will be handed to you on a silver platter. Harris & Mintz played hide-the-ball for four years, they shut the public out. They even put on surgical gloves and took transparency out of city government.

          Your platform is really different. That’s why it is critical to not be like all the rest of them the last five years.

          Start your political engine. The GREEN FLAG is
          waving on the race track — that means the race is on.

    • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

      Wouldn’t all this be reflected in the annual 990 Tax filings with the State?

      OOPs that’s right no filings….. Move along nothing to see here….

  2. Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

    Hi Branson,

    I know. Nothing has changed just talk at council meetings and never answer any question unless the question is a “feel good” question.

    Never ever write a letter to the Editor. Never ever respond to a blog that has much influence. Just sit and talk amongst yourselves and perform the “Abilene Paradox”.

    I am in the same arena that Dan is in. All of this is for nothing because we are tilting with windmills.

    I am holding out for the election cycle which will start soon and we will see who can answer some very, very, tough questions.

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