Mateel Community Center Board Gets a New Member and Wrestles With Its Finances

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The Mateel’s Board of Directors met Tuesday the 15th of May, for nearly three hours. They seated a new board member, discussed finances, and spoke about fundraising efforts. 

News Board Member Seated

A new Board Member, Andrea “Annie” Pergens, was seated. Board Member Marcus Schaible has stepped down, the Board explained.

Reggae News Still Not Solid

High Times Production remains uncommitted to Reggae on the River 2018. At the Board meeting last week, Event and Talent Coordinator Eryn Snodgrass reported all the snags had been resolved and that High Times Production would be signing the contract forthwith. However, Monday May 21st, Snodgrass texted to say “…the [ROTR] contract is hung up on their end because they want more budgetary information from our side so they can green light the project.”  But NOW, this very morning, Eryn Snodgrass texted again to say “We signed last night.”  Details will be published here on RHBB later this afternoon.

Financial Consultant’s Recommendations

Tuesday night’s agenda covered the financial recommendations from Patrick Schwartz, the financial consultant; the potential for a Headwaters Fund loan, the use of funds from the Mateel Meal Juice Booth that may be raised at Summer Arts next month. And during the Public Comment period, the Board heard questions from longtime Mateel member and Briceland Fire Chief Jim Fulton.

The financial recommendations from Patrick Swartz, of North Point Financial Resourcing and Solutions LLC of Arcata were released at last week’s Mateel Board meeting.  Swartz notes that the Mateel Community Center is “beloved by the community but appears to have lost its trust.” Swartz recommends rebuilding that trust and involving the community in the fundraising strategy and recovery effort.

In the accounting arena, Swartz recommends that the Mateel “build a reporting system that accurately captures the economic activity of the organization on a macro and micro basis ie as a whole and by event.” Treasurer Eryn Snodgrass says the Mateel is beginning to implement that recommendation through improvements in its Quickbooks bookkeeping categories.

Swartz recommended the Mateel consider bankruptcy protection although he is concerned the Mateel may be ineligible for reorganization. The Board, however, has not yet met with a bankruptcy attorney to formally explore the possibilities. Board Member Anna Rogers explained bankruptcy isn’t something the Board wants to explore, “We aren’t comfortable with that. Obviously, at some point that might become necessary, but we’d rather pay back the local businesses we owe money.”

Swartz also recommended the Mateel strive to better define its role outside of event production.

Cherney Not Optimistic

While remaining open to a turn-around, during his Fundraising Report, Darryl Cherney said the Adopt a Debt campaign is unlikely to be successful. Cherney said,

The Adopt a Debt program, as I see it, is not working. And the Pillars of the Mateel is not working.


I would say to you that we have a convergence of problems, a kind of perfect storm. I don’t need to tell you, but we are having a crashing economy. We have an economy that is in a free-fall. When I… talk to local shopkeepers, some are doing less worse than others, but I think it is very fair to say that we are experiencing, that we are on the verge of a local depression.  


So, one, we have a failing economy; and two, people are not happy that the Mateel ended up in this kind of debt. So, they don’t have money, and they’re bummed that you guys don’t have money. And there’s also other good causes out there that people want to contribute to.


I also have a faith, and an experience… that sometimes things happen, like [a supporter] just offered a thousand dollars worth of merchandise. So, it wouldn’t surprise me if someone showed up….and said ‘I saw this and I want to contribute.’

In the meantime, Cherney said he has been in communication with the Headwaters Fund which meets on June 12th. Cherney is recommending the Board pursue a combination of a grant and a loan from the Headwaters Fund. “The Headwaters Fund does give up to a million and a half [dollar] loans…to non-profit organizations. They also give grants, generally speaking, five thousand dollar grants, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we got a fifty thousand dollar grant.”

Cherney has requested the Mateel be put on the agenda of the Headwaters Fund Board Meeting happening June 12th. Cherney informed the Mateel Board that if it wants to move forward, the Board will need to present a clear vision of how the Mateel stimulates the local economy and therefore how a large loan paying off their debts benefits the community at large.

Cherney says the Headwaters Fund is more likely to be interested if the Mateel has a new project to develop in addition to paying off debts.

And Cherney stressed the need for a business plan to show how the Mateel plans to use a loan and to repay it, as the Mateel moves into the future.

Finance Woes Deepen

In the meantime, The Mateel’s debt situation is getting even more serious because it’s employee withholding taxes haven’t been paid. The Mateel recently received a $5,000 penalty on these unpaid withholdings. Board President Garth Epling said, “That’s the taxes we owe on….all those crews at Reggae. Now the fees and interest are starting to hit, and I believe we just got a $5,000 bill on that….It started at 70 [thousand dollars] now it’s 80 [thousand dollars] and its only going to go up from there.”

Meanwhile, the Board has accepted yet another loan from a community member for about $35,000 to put on Summer Arts and Music Festival.

Cherney’s report examined the option of selling the hall. He would like to see the County buy it as it is looking for a building for their county offices and vets hall replacement. Cherney acknowledges the hall would not serve that need very effectively due to its poor parking, and large open space floor plan, however.

Summer Arts

Regarding the Summer Arts and Music Festival, coming up on the first weekend in June, Briceland Fire Chief Jim Fulton had questions about the Mateel’s plans for fire and medical at the show. Briceland Fire has traditionally provided those services but had not yet been asked this year.

The Board had been under the impression that the Briceland VFD wasn’t interested in helping this year, but didn’t seem to have actually asked. In a phone conversation after the meeting, Fulton said the timing for Reggae on the River has been problematic because a lot of the department is out on strike teams around the state in August, but that June’s Summer Arts is less problematic.

On Friday the 18th, Fulton said Briceland VFD was in the process of writing an MOU with the Mateel to provide those services again this year.  Snodgrass confirmed this.

Mateel Meal Issues

And the Mateel Meal coordinator Babette Bach addressed the Mateel Board with Mateel Meal volunteer Babette Kurtz.

Babette Bach had thought the Mateel Meal would use the proceeds from the Mateel Meal Juice Booth to rent the kitchen for preparing a meal to be served off-site as food trucks are doing.

However, the Board said they had decided to offer her a trade of 24 hours of kitchen time for the 24 hours the juice booth will be open during the Summer Arts Festival. The Board increased that credit to 48 hours during this discussion.

Bach did some math and said that given historical earnings of the juice booth, that 48 hours of kitchen time would mean her team would be paying around $60 an hour while the commercial food trucks will be paying around $20 an hour.

Board Members indicated that the time credit in the kitchen was a “nod of respect” to the longtime program. Board member Anna Rogers said the Board needs to prioritize securing every dollar it possibly can to pay off its monumental debts.

When Bach asked if the Meal is still under the umbrella of the Mateel as she seeks funding for it, Board Member Meghan Gomes said she thought the Meal is better off looking for another organization to umbrella its fundraising.

In a phone interview Friday after the meeting, former Board Member and former Juice Booth coordinator, Jackie Pantaleo said she was “disgusted.” Pantaleo expressed frustration because she said that the Mateel Meal program purchased all its equipment itself and created the booth signage and décor. She said, “So who owns the juice booth? You tell me.”



  • I have a question for Darryl Cherney or the MCC Board; If the MCC owes County Line Ranch $15,000 for parking during ROTR; was that amount over and beyond the face value of ROTR tickets and tax credits the MCC agreed to pay County Line Ranch (aka Outraged Orangutan LLC) in lieu of cash as stated in this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)?

    • This isn’t directly related but Outraged Orangutan was the unlucky recipient of a notice to abate a few weeks ago.

  • Here is the 2016 tax return and audit from the MCC, the latest and greatest made public:

    Please note the MCC generated $2,564,299 in total revenue for 2016 and paid out $684,383.00 in “Salaries, other compensation, employee benefits”; and that’s up from $612,138.00 in 2015, up from $567,354.00 in 2014 and up from $517,841.00 in 2013, but down from $217,918.00 in 2012.

    How can you be in debit for approx $700,000.00 (which includes deed(s) against the MCC assets) and pay out $2,381,716.00 in “Salaries, other compensation, employee benefits” from 2013 to 2016? Can the MCC account for this?

    And lets not forget who that $700,000.00 debit represents:

    “Southern Humboldt Community School District for shuttle buses $3,962; Piercy Fire Department $9000; Board of Equalization for sales tax $17,097; California Highway Patrol $7285; Salmon Creek Fire Department $8912; EG Ayes for Ice $645; Just Rent It for Equipment $3757; Action Rental for tents $4340; Humboldt Redwoods Inn $6238; Michael’s Transportation for Shuttle $24,000; Two Brothers for bridge installation and road grading $48,150; Payroll Taxes $67,238; 6 Rivers Portapotties $25,989; Randall’s Sand and Gravel $5769; Northcoast Journal for Reggae Insert $4192; Renner Petroleum for fuel $4819; Workman’s Comp $9050; Eco Imprints $14884 for Reggae souvenirs; Brian Rohan for music licensing $3500; True Value Hardware $2146 Arthur Family for site rental $42,926; Jesse Parsons for property $1000; C&K Market for food $1,132; ASCAP and BMI for music licensing $2950 & $3470; Greenway as Engineer $3500; Kaati for Festival Guide Ad $3611; Lotus Mountain $4,502 for t-shirt printing; Cash & Carry for Food; Blu for Shuttle $6500; Bede Smith for kids entertainment $3000; Benbow Inn $8305; One Log House for Parking $10,000; Recology for Garbage removal $9795; Shiloh’s traffic crew $9000; Magic Communications for 2-way radios $17,960; Misc. Advertising $16459; Jammin’ Coffee $3772; Humboldt Bay Coffee $1348; County Line Ranch $15,000 for parking; Loans from good hearted community members to keep the Mateel afloat: $187,850.”

    • Thanks Ed!

      From my point of view, something very funny has gone on here!

      $700,000 in SALARIES, on a 2.5 million gross, at your local NPO!?? Employee taxes unpaid? WHICH business school did you go to, was it Babson or Harvard or Rape’n Run?

      Lost the communities’ TRUST?

      Good advice, how much did THAT cost?

      Jeeze, all of you MCC board Members, just resign, already.

      (Are you SURE MCC isn’t part of SHCHD?)

      • Alt Right For Life

        Seems worse than Enron, possibly criminal to come up with a balance like that.

        Maybe we’ll see some of these people jailed in the future.

  • Metal on the Mattole!

  • A quick response to dear Jackie Pantaleo’s question:

    The Mateel owns the assets of every project that it sponsors. Any nonprofit organization that fiscally sponsors a project is legally recognized as the owner of the assets of that project.

    If the Mateel Meal finds a new fiscal sponsor, then the Mateel has a moral obligation to transfer those assets (physical or monetary) to the new fiscal sponsor. Then those assets are recognized as the property of the new fiscal sponsor.

    When it comes to monetary assets, the duty of the Mateel is to separately account for funds raised by the project, to ensure that the funds are used as required by a donor or grantor at the time that a donation or grant is made; to ensure that work is completed in a timely manner and reports are made in a timely manner as required by the donor or grantor. Neither the Mateel nor the Meal should use funds for work or equipment that hasn’t been mutually agreed upon or required by the donor or grantor.

    How do I know all that? Because I worked for years to develop fiscal sponsorship policy and agreements that are compliant with state and federal law, and I established and administered fiscal sponsorship relationships for the Trees Foundation, which maintained dozens of these relationships at that time.

    More than happy to answer any question that you or the Mateel may have, if you need clarity on your respective responsibilities.

    With love and respect,
    Kate Juliana

    • Taurus Ballzhoff


      Looks to me like the MCC owns approximately nothing, and the tubes are sucking the MCC down fast!

      I am reminded of the Gary Larsen cartoon, where the building is going over the falls, while in flames…

      Don’t hold your breath waiting for the meals to come back.

      The vig on the unpaid taxes alone is greater than the per-capita income in Redway.

      If the MCC had a policy, it would probably be stolen.

      • Dear Taurus B,
        Thanks for your opinions. They’re relevant to the Mateel, but not to the question of fiscal sponsorship, which is what I was commenting on.

  • This seems to be a perfect case of history being his-story …here endeth an era

  • Hillbilly girl

    Jeezzz Ed Voice, [edit] Why don’t you show your face at a meeting so all can see your spiteful eyes. And don’t give everyone lip service by saying you are doing it for the greater good blah blah blah bullshit. [edit] If you are a truly concerned member of the greater public, then please show up, put up or if not then please shut the fuck up.

    • Hillbilly girl: been there, done that, it would not benefit anyone, let alone me. It would be like putting out fires with gasoline. The one and only time I was at a public meeting at the MCC, I was asked to leave, or my truck might blow-up. Sorry, but one visit was good enough for me…

  • Kinda surprising that Darryl, the great showman that he is, seems to be ready to throw in the towel so soon.
    Not that I think his plan is the only thing needed to ‘Save the Mateel’, but it does have some merit.
    It’s mainly that while Darryl administers the plan it is best that he gets his persona out of the way! And NOT be the pitch guy (“….When I… talk to local shopkeepers….” he says).
    At the MCC Board meeting(s) Darryl has said that ‘other, (generally non-controversial) respected people of the community’ would best be the spokespeople and/or the “faces” of the /a fundraising campaign(s). That is smart and and astute observation!
    Darryl has been a generally productive member of the community. Yet he has developed a lot of distain and disregard towards himself in the meantime.
    So, DC: Take a step back and find those more loved faces to have help plead a tough case (for good fundraising programs) in this challenging time. Eh??? 😉

  • Veterans friend

    Dear Matteel,

  • Mateel Board: Let’s get some professional financial advice from a consultant, because we really need help.

    Consultant: I made an extensive review of your present financial situation and potential future earnings, and my recommendation is that the Mateel file for Bankruptcy.

    Mateel Board: No, we don’t want to.

    Mateel Board: In fact, instead of tightening our belt until we figure this out, let’s borrow another $35,000 that we can’t possibly pay back, or that will be paid back before the other debtors are paid, so we can put on an event that doesn’t really matter in the big picture. We have to keep up appearances, after all.

    Other Board members: Awesome! Groovy! Let’s eat!

  • Mateel Board: Let’s enlist the advice of a professional financial consultant. You know, someone who knows way more than us about finances, who will give us an honest, responsible way to help fix our debt issues.

    Financial Consultant: After an extensive review of your present financial situation and your potential future earnings, taking everything into consideration, my recommendation is that the Mateel file for Bankruptcy.

    Mateel Board: No. We don’t want to. La la la la laa.

    Mateel Board: In fact, let’s borrow another $35,000 that we can’t possibly pay back, to fund another event that really doesn’t matter in the big picture.

    Other Board members: Awesome! Glad that’s solved. Groovy! Let’s eat!

  • I have an idea live within your means. And way to go asshats’ for not doing such.

  • And. Lest we get all too caught-up in our opinions and critiques…..
    WELCOME to new Board Member, Andrea “Annie” Pergens!
    Thank you for your willingness to serve the community!!!

  • Here is the MCC Reggae on the River 2018 Plan of Operation that was submitted this past week to the Humboldt County Planning Department and tentatively scheduled to be reviewed by the Planning Commission on June 21, 2018.

    Please note, at the top of page 5, “Summary of 2017 Event”:

    “The 2017 Reggae on the River Music festival was the 33rd anniversary of this event. It occurred on August 3-6, 2017. Live music was performed on an elevated stage in the concert bowl at French’s Camp. Food beverages and arts/crafts vending booths were also located in the bowl. Approximately 9,000 people attended the event- nearly 6,500 ticket holders and 2,500 staff, volunteers, performers and vendors (comps). Approximately 5,000 camped on the site and at neighboring properties. Others stayed at nearby accommodations and commuted to the event. Nearly 3000 cars/trucks and 150 RVs were parked onsite and in various planned offsite lots. There were no major incidents or accidents reported by the Humboldt County Sheriff or the California Highway Patrol. Offsite traffic on Highway 101 was not significantly impacted”

    With that being said, I guess in reading this report, you would never know just how bad they did in ticket sales for 2017,which pushed the MCC over the proverbial financial cliff; at least that’s what they say.

    So, which narrative or alternative facts are the public to believe…. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe!

  • We paid someone to tell us that trust has been lost . Wow

    ….”Mateel strive to better define its role outside of event production…”

    Never happened . Phase two? No . Instead they re-mortgaged the hall! It’s never going to happen now. The mateel is a Party /funeral hall. With the occasional theater gig ( but not without the labor-intensive task of blacking out all the windows oh and no dressing rooms .) That’s pretty much it.

    It is like some weird toxic marriage finally giving up it’s last dying gasp , yea there was good times, but oh boy the fights! And manipulation! And debt.

    Now Daryl suggests that Humboldt County buy the hall? What kind of ironic defeat would that be? Regulation and enforcement offices nice and close to the fire. WTF happened sohum!?!

  • Jackie Pantaleo

    Reply to Kate Juliana Dear Kate, thank you so much for your response to my dilemma… I now see that the Meal’s survival depends upon us finding another fiscal sponsor. I deeply appreciate you sharing your experience and educated opinion, there are many souls out there that are in need of food support and an overwhelming amount of surplus, free food gets thrown away instead of filling the bellies of hungry individuals, and the increasing numbers of local families that are being devastated by the collapsing economy. Now is not the time to take this truly beneficial program away from our community. I deeply appreciate your caring heart. To all Others: The Mateel Meal program was created 23 years ago by Paulie Henniger as a member of the Mateel board. The program was operated by volunteer chefs and kitchen volunteers and the juice booth was created as a fundraiser for the program at least 14 years ago and worked as a demonstration to granting organizations that we had a viable fund raising element which aids in securing grant funds. The Meal was granted funding by Cal Fresh which brought to the Meal the ability to pay our chef and Hall assistant, money for food to round out our offerings, and over $30K for kitchen improvements, the first money to go into the Mateel kitchen since its construction. Between grants, donations and the juice booth, this program did not cost the Mateel anything. The current board has been misrepresenting the reality of the toll on Mateel finances, as a majority of current board members despise the Meal. To quote from the Kelley Lincoln article, board member Dusty Houghston said in response to a question from the gallery about where the $9K went from the Meal account he responded “(it went) into the general fund to repay the massive debt load incurred by programs like the Meal”. I feel compelled to correct this misunderstanding by countering with the facts. Thanks for the opportunity Jackie Pantaleo Mateel board 2012 – 2017

  • CON- cerned Community Member

    A “nod of respect” to the Mateel Meal, my a**!!! MCC Board is stealing profits from a booth run by Mateel Meal volunteers that feeds poor, hungry people! WTF kind of math is 48 hrs “kitchen time?” where’s the dollars and SENSE? sounds shifty and downright despicable!

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