The former Director of the Iowa film office was sentenced yesterday to probation on one count of official misconduct yesterday. The Des Moines Register reports:
Polk County District Judge Douglas Staskal granted Wheeler a deferred judgment following a Tuesday morning sentencing hearing. The decision means Wheeler, who faced up to five years in prison after his September conviction for felonious misconduct in office, will have that conviction sealed from public view if he successfully completes two years of probation.
Considering that Mr. Wheeler was charged with 10 felony counts, that’s a pretty good result for the man who seems to have been designated the goat for the disastrous film credit program.
In contrast, there will be no accountability for the Governor who delegated the administration of a huge new state subsidy to a man who’s prior relevant experience was as a film tech at Walgreens. There is no public accounting for Mr. Wheeler’s supervisor, who showed little curiosity about all of the money being given away as long as there were photo ops with starlets to be had. There will be no public apology by the 143 legislators* who eagerly voted for this misconceived and poorly-designed program that sent millions of taxpayer dollars to Hollywood.
One film figure has received a ten year sentence for defrauding the credit program. Two other filmmakers and a film credit broker are scheduled for trial next year. As it has led to no charges, the state has apparently concluded that it was perfectly legal for a filmmaker to drive home with a taxpayer-funded Mercedes. Maybe what was legal under the program is the biggest crime.
*Only three legislators voted “no.”
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