Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

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By Ernest Salomon

The Clark Estate (Bellosguardo) was left to the people of Santa Barbara by Ms. Hugette Clark. It was to be used for their benefit. Former Mayor Helene Schneider was tasked with guiding this wonderful gift for all to enjoy to fruition but wound up giving her former campaign manager and boyfriend Jeremy Lindaman a cushy six-figure job as Executive Director of the foundation without one minutes' experience of running such an enterprise.  Along came Dick Wolf and his rich pals and it became a wedding and party spot on the Pacific.

"Bellosguardo’s promotional and event expenses for 2018 and 2019 totaled $472,098, while event rentals only generated $190,650 in income, the records show. One of the nonprofit’s primary expenses, in addition to insurance, maintenance, and utility costs, is Lindaman’s $150,000 annual salary, a raise from previous years, as well as the $60,000 and $55,000 salaries of a house supervisor and groundskeeper, respectively." (Source)

Several of us, including Tyler Hayden of the Independent, have kept a light shining on this travesty over the eight unfulfilled years it has gone on.  After eight long years Bellosguardo is still shut to ordinary people, as Jeremy Lindamen, Dick Wolf & Co. continue to use it as a venue for the rich and famous to entertain themselves.

The Santa Barbara City Council should bear some of the blame as Ms, Clark turns in her grave. This is not what she intended as her legacy.   They have done nothing to open up this jewel to Mr. and Mrs. Gonzalez and their children!  The way this place is being run reflects de-facto racism against the working people who live here.  There have been a few "house" minority people allowed to attend the lavish events along with predominantly white attendees.  There's something really wrong here. 

This should be a lavish estate that is open to the public for their enlightenment, just like those that Donna and I have visited in Europe.  If the most famous residences in the world like Versailles, King Ludwig's Castle, Fontainebleau. Loire Castles, etc. can be opened to the world, then after eight long years, the band called "Lindaman-Wolf and The Elites, should find another venue to hold their gigs!

Let my people in!


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ZBHotep Jun 12, 2022 10:32 AM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

What's unreal is that Lindamann has been in charge for all this time and when they submitted their plan it was incomplete and scant on details. Eight years and Lindamann had nothing to show for his salary. That is completely pathetic and I hope the attorney general is auditing to determine how Lindamann justifies his salary for a non-profit.

Golffoxtrotyankee Jun 12, 2022 10:58 AM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

The Clark Estate (Bellosguardo) was left to the people of Santa Barbara by Ms. Hugette Clark. It was to be used for their benefit. What has transpired over the past 8! Years! Is disgusting… would love to take my kids there. Who has the authority to correct this??

MarcelK Jun 13, 2022 05:04 AM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

You are simply wrong; it was not left to the people of Santa Barbara. Clark bequeathed it to a private foundation of her own making, the Bellosguardo Foundation. Neither you nor I nor your kids have any claim to it. You should stop listening to serial liars like Salomon and zbhotep, whose lies have been exposed every time this has come up. And contrary to some basic human garbage dump in the 805, I say this not to defend Lindamen, whom I know nothing about but his behavior does seem questionable, nor Schneider, who hasn't been mayor or otherwise involved in Santa Barbara affairs for years and for all I know no longer lives here, but simply because it's true:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellosguardo_Foundation

a-1655172806 Jun 13, 2022 07:13 PM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

Marcel, you oversimplify. The vision of Bellosguardo is, in part: "Now, Huguette has bequeathed the property to the Bellosguardo Foundation, which is committed to both honoring the Clarks' past, and building a future where the estate can be enjoyed by all as a focal point for the arts." Key words, enjoyed by ALL.

Babycakes Jun 13, 2022 08:03 PM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

The foundation is in the process of defining the word "all"... the argument is that 'all' means only them, their families, and others with money who support their political views. Just kidding of course, but some truth about those who are not us. LOL!!!

MarcelK Jun 13, 2022 11:20 PM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

Those words, which are from the Foundation's own PR, and is a statement about *their* intent, and in no way refute anything I said or show that I oversimplified anything. The full language on their web site is "Now, Huguette has bequeathed the property to the Bellosguardo Foundation, which is committed to both honoring the Clarks' past, and building a future where the estate can be enjoyed by all as a focal point for the arts. Realizing that future will take time and commitment, but the fruits of that labor will be well worth the effort."

My personal suspicion is that the estate is a big mess, with huge insurance and logistical problems, and they will probably never be solved. But that's the Foundation's problem--again, they are a private foundation and those resources do not in any way shape or form belong to "the people of Santa Barbara".

MarcelK Jun 13, 2022 11:23 PM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

Yes, Bird, after I posted that I found her twitter profile which states "Regional Coordinator for U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. Based in Santa Barbara, CA. " But the fact remains that the action she took in appointing Lindamen (and I'm not defending it) was an official act as mayor; she is now a private citizen.

Alexblue Jun 12, 2022 11:09 AM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

It's entirely corrupt. The fact that Lindaman sits up there collecting 150k from a non-profit which has failed to implement its mission--he started out at 75k to do next to nothing five years ago and now he has doubled his salary by also achieving almost nothing relevant to the mission. The state is auditing them right now--in fact, the foundation should be stripped of its 501C3 status. Beyond that, I don't know. Force a sale, give the money to the City of SB as the asset was intended to go originally. Or maybe just carry out the wishes of Ms. Clarke.

Alexblue Jun 13, 2022 04:49 PM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

MarcelK, I've been throughout the place. Yes, it needs a lot of work to deal with the state of the primary home. Do you have a shred of evidence that the estate has been used to "foster the arts" in any way at all?

I don't think you do, because it hasn't. It has been eight years, plenty of time to launch programs to foster the arts, nothing has happened. Their tax exempt status should be revoked.

MarcelK Jun 13, 2022 11:11 PM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

Alex, there is no legal basis to revoke their tax exempt status. They are a private non-charitable non-profit 501(c)(3) foundation, and while they seem to have done a poor job of executing their charter (which I think in part is because the estate is not suitable to the purpose), that's beyond the scope of government regulation.

el_smurfo Jun 14, 2022 08:58 AM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

A crumbling mess where the rich and famous host lavish parties? Seems that maybe there's something worthwhile up there that could be opened to the public. We recently were at the Getty and large portions of the museum were closed for renovation...people would be happy to stroll the grounds, see a few of the rooms displaying a lifetime of collected art, yet all we hear about is the latest event that you and I are not invited to.

Alexblue Jun 14, 2022 09:02 AM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

MarcelK, sorry but claiming the condition of the estate somehow makes it impossible to fulfill their mission is nonsense. You could have an outdoor concert or performance there tomorrow. Like I said, I've been through the place--doing things inside the mansion wouldn't make sense, but the rest of the property is perfectly fine. There's no excuse.

a-1655076091 Jun 12, 2022 04:21 PM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

This commentary is timely and the allegations are of wide community concern. But the attempt to bring "racism" into the criticism seems stretched. Can't we just act on the failure of the non-profit to meet its legal justification and the apparent insider profit that is taking place to the detriment of our community's legal and moral reasonable expectations?

a-1655080229 Jun 12, 2022 05:30 PM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

I wrote that it is de-facto racism because it has denied our blue collar workers and their kids, a great percentage of them Latino, a chance to see a great home, art and estate that was bequeathed to all of our local people for their enjoyment. Most will not be able to enter and be in awe of such a home elsewhere. So far, a huge majority of people who have been allowed to enjoy the estate have been the white, the rich and the famous. That's de-facto racism! (de facto definition: existing in fact, although perhaps not intended, legal, or accepted.) Ernest Salomon

biguglystick Jun 13, 2022 06:51 PM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

Marcel, you seem pretty intent on refuting the claims of this article. WHY? Why is it important to you? Do you have some stake in this property? Where is the proof that this is a lie? I, for one, would like to know if Mrs. Clark did bequeath it to the people of Santa Barbara, or just the entitled elite wealthy snobs of Santa Barbara.

MarcelK Jun 13, 2022 11:06 PM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

@biguglystick Why is truth important to me? Well, that's a long story. And no, I have no stake or interest or connection. And I have repeatedly pointed out the facts: that Huguette Clark bequeathed to the Bellosguardo Foundation, a private non-charitable 501(c)(3) foundation that she set up under vague terms to "promote the arts". The Bellosguardo Foundation is neither "the people of Santa Barbara" not "the entitled elite wealthy snobs" of Santa Barbara (there are a lot of those, the vast majority of whom have no connection to the estate). It's disingenuous of you to claim that you "would like to know".

edney Jun 12, 2022 06:20 PM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

Yeah, well there are people of color that want to enjoy your car, truck, money and home and if you do not give those things up to them then you are a defacto racist by your own definition.

But I do agree that the way the estate is run is complete BS, but we probably disagree as to why.
I think elites are really all the same right or left. They'll shut out the poor, common people and keep all the good stuff for themselves. Just look at the old Soviet Union for example, or look at how China is run today

AwareHuman Jun 12, 2022 05:27 PM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

This is such a blatantly nefarious set-,up. Shame on Helen Schneider (if she can even feel a bit of shame). A pity that that non-profits are such big business here....and little oversight. This situation is a snub to ALL of us. Hope the audit shows the wickedness.

Ahchooo Jun 12, 2022 06:26 PM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

Were Sac and Marcel pro-Schneider? That was a long time ago—were they even on Edhat back then? Did they ever write comments saying they supported her in all her decisions? Are you trying to somehow blame Sac and Marcel for the Bellosguardo problem? Don’t be absurd.

MarcelK Jun 13, 2022 05:14 AM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

Sorry, but this op-ed is a lie: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellosguardo_Foundation

"Huguette Clark died in New York in 2011 at the age of 104, and in her will, directed that the property be given to a new Bellosguardo Foundation for the fostering and promotion of the arts. The nonprofit foundation, which was formed after a contest over the will with the help of the New York Attorney General's Charitable Division Bureau, will work to determine the future of Bellosguardo."

Nothing there about being bequeathed to the people of Santa Barbara, because it wasn't.

MarcelK Jun 13, 2022 10:53 PM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

You're usually better than this, biguglystick. Since the Bellosguardo Foundation isn't making a profit (they aren't even selling tickets, right? so what could they be profiting from?), then it isn't "masquerading" as a non-profit, it is a non-profit. Like most non-profits, it is *not* a charitable organization ... it's a private foundation with a private purpose. If you're looking for "the rich and corrupt", look at Huguette Clark's father, William A. Clark, who was the source of the funds that bought the estate and the funds bequeathed to the Bellosguardo Foundation by his daughter.

Babycakes Jun 13, 2022 07:08 AM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

Bellosguardo was left to the "people" of Santa Barbara, and the Bellosguardo Foundation have found some loopholes to get around this fact. Ms. Clark clearly wanted her property to be enjoyed by the general public, and her wishes have simply not been followed by those who are in charge. Funny how people are defending the illegal actions of the foundation "leaders" (who are not leading...they are simply taking/taking/taking for themselves and their rich friends). It's the ol' "Fox guarding the hen house" story here. We deserve what was given to us, and no one is asking for anything more than that. So sad.

Babycakes Jun 14, 2022 07:31 AM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

There very much is a loophole that allows them to keep the property from being used by those that Ms. Clark wanted to use it. I do not understand why anyone thinks this is not true. I'm no lawyer, but the foundation should do the right thing and open the place up to the public as it was intended. Funny how the law applies to some, but not everyone....especially those who are keeping Bellosguardo away from the good people of Santa Barbara to enjoy. No wonder so many people are upset.

Alexblue Jun 13, 2022 05:42 PM
Op-Ed: After Eight Long Years Bellosguardo Still Shut To Ordinary People

It's really true. The interior of the place has some really wonderful examples of old world craftsmanship, but the estate itself is not terribly interesting. It's really a waste of resources. Better that it be knocked down and given to the people as a park or something. Or just sell it and donate the money somewhere that it can do some real good.

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