Bellosguardo Showing Small Signs of Life

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Bellosguardo | Credit: Paul Wellman (file)
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This story was originally published by the Santa Barbara Independent and is reproduced here in partnership with Edhat.


By Tyler Hayden of The Independent

After seven years of stubborn silence and relative inactivity, the Bellosguardo Foundation appears to be taking its first baby steps toward opening the late Huguette Clark’s palatial estate to the public.

The Foundation formed in 2014 and officially took possession of the property in 2017, but besides hosting a Great Gatsby–themed fundraising gala and a handful of private tours, it has not made any real progress in transforming the historic 27-room mansion and its 23 acres of manicured grounds into a modern community center to promote the arts, as Clark, an avid art collector herself, dictated in her will.

Foundation president Jeremy Lindaman submitted an application to the City of Santa Barbara’s Planning Division this March stating the organization would like to start offering small guided tours and holding special events. In order to install the necessary access ramps, portable restroom trailers, and roughly 90 parking spaces, Lindaman is seeking conditional-use and coastal-development permits from the city.

While planning staff said they were in “general support” of the proposal, according to their written response to Lindaman, they took issue with the lack of detail in his application and deemed it “incomplete.” How many guests would be on each tour, they asked? How frequently would tours be conducted? During what hours of the day? Would a shuttle service be offered for those who park offsite? How many docents would be employed? Would any of them live on the grounds? How often would events be held, and how many people would attend? Etcetera. “You have not directly answered any of our questions,” staff said.

Even basic information about the ramps and restrooms was omitted, staff noted. “The project plans would benefit by being better organized, especially in regard to the location of the proposed ramps and restrooms,” they said. “It is unclear how many ramps are proposed and where they would be located.”

Lindaman ― who, according to the Foundation’s latest tax records, collects a $120,000 salary ― was given the opportunity to amend and resubmit his application. It’s not clear if or when he plans to do so. In a previous hearing before the Historic Landmarks Commission, Lindaman briefly discussed other vague ideas for Bellosguardo, including “potentially adding structures.”

Since his appointment, Lindaman has more than once promised to hold “press events” to publicly outline the nonprofit’s long term strategic plans for its $85 million in assets, including capital campaigns and potential partnerships with arts organizations. So far, none of those events have materialized, and Lindaman has declined repeated requests for interviews.

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a-1622238046 May 28, 2021 02:40 PM
Bellosguardo Showing Small Signs of Life

What experience does he have ?oh that’s right he’s friends with the mayor. Who’s in charge of accounting on the $85 million one person or multiple?

ChillinGrillin May 28, 2021 02:46 PM
Bellosguardo Showing Small Signs of Life

It must be nice to get a $120k salary for sitting on your hands waiting for permits and hosting a party 3 years ago.

mp805 May 28, 2021 02:51 PM
Bellosguardo Showing Small Signs of Life

Have zero confidence in the leadership of the Bellosguardo Foundation run by President Jeremy Lindaman. Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't Lindaman proposed by his good pal former S.B. mayor Helene Schneider? He has no business running this foundation... More info from 2018 piece here. https://www.independent.com/2018/03/22/bellosguardo-legacy-limbo/

Alexblue May 31, 2021 04:25 PM
Bellosguardo Showing Small Signs of Life

It's totally corrupt and has been sitting idle for years--yes I know they had to negotiate out the tax issue but that was done, what, three or four years ago?

It's a ridiculous and corrupt hand out from Schneider to Lindaman.

Byzantium May 28, 2021 03:16 PM
Bellosguardo Showing Small Signs of Life

State Attorney General provides oversight for legacy-created charitable non-profits, since the original donor is now deceased and can no longer monitor its operation. There is a complaint form online on the Attorney General's website. There appears to be reasonable concern this oddly neglected and perhaps even mismanaged charitable foundation might be slipping through the cracks and not meeting the donor's original intent. Pass on your concerns to the state AG and let them take it from there.

Crystalandmaui May 29, 2021 07:38 AM
Bellosguardo Showing Small Signs of Life

I too have always wanted a look inside. I’ve only peeked over the cemetery wall, and wonder about how beautiful it must be inside and the people who lived there. Party there was a party there, huh, I wasn’t invited. Well it’s a great piece of history here, and so why hasn’t it been made available to the public? This has been to many years already. People are making how much money keeping the doors closed. For what? What do these people do? That entitles them to make so much money, hire a gardener? Wow so much fake jobs and money being paid unnecessarily for nothing, hymmm thieving from the foundation! Till when, there’s no more money? What utterly nonsense. Come on people, you can do better. This is what happens to rich people’s estates when you leave it in the hands of dishonest people.
This belongs to Santa Barbara, let’s get with it, and make it work.

Luvaduck May 29, 2021 08:00 AM
Bellosguardo Showing Small Signs of Life

Will tours and events go only to VIPs? If so, it is not entitled to be a tax-exempt foundation but should be taxed as a private Country Club.

El Barbareno May 29, 2021 01:22 PM
Bellosguardo Showing Small Signs of Life

No No No! Adding 90 parking spaces? Having cars try to pull in and out of the estate onto Cabrillo Blvd? Have the guests park in one of the city lots (city makes money) and use a shuttle to bring them to the estate.

a-1622356979 May 29, 2021 11:42 PM
Bellosguardo Showing Small Signs of Life

First, have facts, gather data. Someone needs to make and publicize a FOIA information release.
Any news source in SB up to it? If so, those of us who are concerned need to support them with money.
Or do the work yourself.

At the least, research them online. I personally ignore a non-profit like this, I'm only interested in medical care and food for the needy.
I'm all about health and welfare non-profits and non-profits in general! Like Neighborhood Clinics, SB Food Bank, PP, and many more.
So: Where is this group's accountability?
If this is your issue, you have research work to do to make a case against Bellos Guardo.
All involvement beyond sending a check involves work -- or should.

a-1622357218 May 29, 2021 11:46 PM
Bellosguardo Showing Small Signs of Life

I apologize for mentioning FOIA.

I assume a private non-profit is not subject to that act.
There's a lot of law you'll have to learn if you want to work with or against Bellosguardo.

chico berkeley Jun 01, 2021 10:40 AM
Bellosguardo Showing Small Signs of Life

When we had contracts with the Clarke Estate, we had to wear socks only and absolutely no photography was allowed.
The art works and entire home were bought from a french estate and the whole thing dismantled and transported to the current site.
Flashes from photogs are destroying the irreplaceable art.
National Geographic showed up and was told absolutely no story or pics.
NO ONE will take care of the estate in the correct way it seems.
People are curious, but that would be the end of the estate.
As an example-The music room and most of the furniturf had 3,yes 3 custom covers per item.
I will be fine if the public isn't allowed.
Do you think tourists care about the most treasured piece of real estate in town?
If it is only opened for the snooty part of the world, that is even worse than letting the public in.
Keep it's mystique or turn it into Disneyland?
Drooling realtors are a greedy bunch.
SB should keep some of its secrets.

LDK57 Oct 18, 2021 05:45 PM
Bellosguardo Showing Small Signs of Life

Does anyone know WHAT WE CAN DO about this problem? Seriously, what is needed to fix it? Who can do what? How can Lindaman get fired and replaced by a President who will do the job right? Someone who will honor Huguette's wishes.

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