Mateel Exploring RREDC Loan to Pay Its Debts

UPDATE Thursday: After the RREDC and the Humboldt Area Foundation reached out, we have delved into a loan the Mateel is applying for and what that means. See here for what we learned: Explaining the Loan that Might Help Save the Mateel Community Center.


A wire and gemstone sculpture by Turtle Tom created in honor of the Mateel Meal.

At its August 21st meeting, the Mateel Board of Directors said it may be eligible for a RREDC loan that would cover all the outstanding debts (yet, the board may also present the November Membership Meeting with a plan for selling the hall to pay off the Mateel’s debts,) gave a rundown of its successes at the High Times Reggae on the River, heard from one member about the importance of the Mateel Meal in light of the failing economy, and announced it will be hiring a new caretaker.

The Board has made headway in its debt, but is currently accruing penalties on $70,000.00 of unpaid employment taxes which may undermine their hard fiscal work this year. The Board says it must take action.

The Board announced that Redwood Region Economic Development Commission (RREDC) may extend the Mateel a loan to cover its debts. A loan would provide the Board the opportunity to “stop the hemorrhaging” caused by penalties and prevent a lien from being filed by unpaid creditors. The terms would likely be 26 years at 6% fixed interest, with no penalty for early payments. The monthly payment would be around $3,900 a month. And in case of default, the hall and its property would go to the Humboldt Area Foundation.

When asked, board members also said they are contemplating the necessity of selling the hall to pay off their debt, and acknowledge that it must be a topic of discussion at the Annual Membership Meeting in November. Actions such as selling the hall, or taking a loan against it, require a vote of the membership.


Reggae on the River Saturday afternoon [Photo by Kelley Lincoln]

Later, the Board gave an update on their positive experience with Reggae under High Times management. The successes the board listed include being thanked by High Times for the opportunity, the fact that no money needed to be invested with the potential of being lost, that the event only cost the Mateel Board it’s time and effort, and that Jah Mall generated about $8,000 for the Mateel.  They felt that income level could increase in future years based on what they learned this year.

While the “working backstage” environment was a welcome improvement to the stage crews, Board Member Pleasure Strange said she had received feedback from artists that they miss the unique atmosphere of the old Reggae, that performers felt they could hang out in an RV ‘at all the other shows.’

According to the Board, despite low turnout this year, High Times expressed optimistic plans for the future of Reggae. Snodgrass said High Times expressed plans to resume having the show broadcast locally again next year. According to the board, the radio broadcast could not happen this year due to the late date of entering the contracts, which didn’t leave time to negotiate permission for the broadcast from the performers this year.

The board also reported that High Times said they are interested in having an “eco-village” for non-profits at a lower cost than for-profit booths.


The board noted staffing changes at the Mateel. The current caretaker is moving on after the 3rd of September. The board will clean and paint the caretaker cabin next to the office before posting the position. Also, the Mateel’s Sponsorship Coordinator is leaving the area has resigned.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming events at the hall include the State’s Cannabis Open House on August 30th. The workshop is directed at cannabis cultivator permit applicants who need assistance with their water rights or their Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreements, also called Fish and Wildlife’s 1600.

On October 2nd, the California Alcohol Beverage Control agency will hold training for employees of businesses who sell alcohol.

And on October 6th the Mateel will hold its annual Hoedown at the hall. There will be no outside bands. The stage may be used for a kids performance area.

And the Halloween Boogie will be held at the hall on the weekend before the 31st. The Board will coordinate with Salmon Creek School to avoid having the events conflict.

The Board will also be hosting a gathering of Mateel “founding members” on September 8th. It will be a family style gathering designed to give pioneering members of the Mateel an opportunity to give input on the history and feedback on the future of the Mateel ahead of the membership meeting.

Mateel Meal

One Mateel member was present to show board members a wire and gemstone sculpture he created in honor of the Mateel Meal. He told them, “I told you last time in a joking way, but I’m not kidding, food is good for most people.” He asked what the Mateel’s plans are for providing space for the meal to be prepared in the future.  Board Member Anna Rogers said the Board is waiting for a proposal from Babette Bach or another member of the public in regard to the Meal.

For full disclosure, the sculpture artist is the partner of the reporter.



  • You guys really only made 8000 doing reggae? Seriously if you have to sell the hall to pay your debt you might as well just shut down as an organisation. My dad and his ex wife tried that whole paying credit cards with credit cards things to get out of debt, didn’t work out so well.

  • Maybe some of your problems can be figured out a different way. borrowing the least amount possible is usually the best way to get out of debt. Get your taxes paid so you not accruing huge amounts of Interest. Talk to your creditors and figure out which ones might be willing to donate their loans in exchange for a tax credit or trade for use of the center and its resources.
    It’s time to talk to these people and work with them as part of your community.
    Many of the people who gave you loans are upstanding people in the community and even in hard times may be willing to make some kind of concession so you don’t have to go belly-up.
    Although this board is not one I tend to agree with I surely do not want you to lose the mateel for future Generations.
    On the 7th Day of a fast, and I can still see clearly that you may be headed down the wrong path.

    • And maybe some of the creditors might be willing to just carry their debt at no interest are very low

      • If you allow the fire departments and different organizations that you owe money to, to have fundraisers at the Mateel until they’re able to get their money back, it might be a really fun thing for the community. supporting local artists and the fire departments and the schools and others that you owe money could start bringing some life back into your community center and could be a good time for everyone.

  • Sell the fucking hall. Great. Just fucking great. Might as well, it is only being used to promote christian cult music (reggae). No musical acts this whole year except raggae artists. Nada. The Mime troupe was a good bet but the board clearly only knows of one type of music and it aint jazz, or country, or bluegrass, or rock, or jam, or EDM, or anything. We built a concert hall that could showcase anything and all we get is reggae. All my hard work gone. Sell the hall.

  • What a mess J Crellin got us into

  • Nice attempt at positive spin. I won’t bother blowing too many holes in it because…it’s over anyways. Made $8000 at Reggae and talking about taking on $3900/ month payments for 26 years?! At least the Humboldt Area Foundation will use the hall properly. You’ve already given away Reggae on the River. So if you sell The Hall…to a private party? …they will do whatever they want. (Possibly a rich permitted corporate cannabis farm tasting room can gloat down upon us- that’s wonderful) So you can pay debts and…get a better credit report? Sounds like you’re trying to get RREDC to pay out the vendors you ripped off so Humboldt Area Foundation can get The Hall. That’s pretty much the only way to bow out with a shred of dignity. A tiny shred…I will not forget the community effort we put in to buy and build that hall. Good times! That move back to French’s Camp was astoundingly stupid. I still want to know who decided on that, nobody will admit.

    • I bet you never lifted a finger when the hall was built and now you want to take credit…hah, once a hater always a hater, I’m sure you never won the respect of your peers.
      And that grates away inside you doesn’t it? That you were always on the fringe, never really a part of the mateel nation solutions and now you masquerade online as an authoritative voice who is actually a charlatan.
      Go crawl back to your cabin and do something else for awhile. Good luck
      You’ll need it.

      • Wow. You have no idea who I am. I lived near Laytonville but did consider this my hall and my general community. Worked many hours preparing and then maintaining our main fund-raiser Reggae until I couldn’t handle the changes by ’94. I only spent 3 days helping to put the floor in at The Mateel so yeah- not as much time as many of my friends. So yeah- you got me! I’d stop by on almost all trips north to throw in a few hours while it was built. Yes- some egos thought that they were more important than us part-helpers and some did spend tons of energy on the project. I salute them now as then. Together we made a beautiful thing happen. That was a long time ago. I don’t think anybody there would have ever thought it a good idea to risk the paid-off mortgage on a party! Things change- often for the worse and we should discuss it… I don’t think you were there or you wouldn’t be so weirdly hateful. Peace out!

        • I wasn’t here when the hall was actually getting built, but my opinion is that the Mateel is a community center, built by an awesome community effort. Every contribution from then until now is a part of the whole.

          Regarding the party vs the center. It’s been interesting to observe the attachment to reggae as a spiritual experience.

    • A few years ago. A board member ran on a grand plan to bring back Reggae to its glory days at French’s Camp over the objection of three board members who wanted to keep it at Benbow because of the financial success the festival was having there. Those three board members who wanted to keep it at Benbow were voted out by the membership at the next election and this is what we’ve got. Maybe those members that voted for it will stand up and help out the Mateel.

      • Thanks for explaining. I was not around for that part of history. The whole bitterness of the blow-out with Carol caused me to disconnect from both sides and everybody else too! But I was glad to hear it was at Benbow and smaller and “back to it’s roots”. Future glory is always a better goal than “former glory”.

  • I like stars too!

    This is a fine little mess!

    Incompetent, unreliable and dishonest management got the Mateel where it is, then they sold off the “cash cow” to a bunch of stoners!

    SO: rather than replace the Board, or admit how this happened, now the Mateel goes the way of SoHum Health – “Let’s borrow some more money!” Maybe they should change the name, like SHCHD did! THAT will help…

    I have to ask, who in their right mind lends money to a business that has a large pile of unpaid employee taxes? Who loans money to an organization incapable of responsible and honest management? Who loans money to a bunch of clowns who would allow this level of irresponsibility?

    No easy save is forthcoming. If someone wants the Mateel to survive, now is a good time to donate about a million dollars. But, as a requirement, get rid of the board and start with a clean slate! Otherwise, why would anyone expect a different result?

    • I don’t think it’s fair to blame the current board. They’re doing the best they can in a difficult situation. They were pretty much were handed this mess.

      • I like stars too!

        I do not think it’s fair to dismiss the “disappearance” of sizable funds, or to absolve the current board, as they appear unable to do much of anything at all, besides talk, blame and deflect while making stupid choices.

        They should all resign, and “hand” it to somebody else.

        • The problem with Mateel Boards was that an environment was established that allowed the staff to pretty much run the show without much oversight from the Board. The Mateel rose from the ashes once. It’s going to be a tough to repeat that.

          • I like stars too!

            Somebody was paid to do something. From my point of view, all should be summarily fired.

            I agree that dead horses are difficult to revive, and, my feeling is no further encumbrance should be entertained…

  • Sell your building pay off your debts obviously you can’t management where would you get that kind of money every month to pay the loan got to lose it all anyway so sell it now closed down your organization and everyone get on with their lives the only make $8,000 and think that you’re going to be able to pay $3,900 every month where’s the income coming from

  • I’m calling BS on this “negotiation for the live broadcast”… I personally, was the one who got the releases signed (for KMUD) by the artists and managers approving the broadcast of their performance (as well as the release for the Mateel’s live web stream)… The reason given by Mateel originally was that the live broadcast “would effect ticket sales”.. Just another lie to the community…..

    • Those were the words I hear exactly the weekend of the event. The wire statue looks cool except for the “Higher Visions” pin. That is a logo for a local extract company that ecxells at lying to your face and stealing product.

      • Lots of items in the sculpture. were donated by people who wanted the mateel meal restored or somewhere where the hungry could be fed. The higher Vision pin was donated. Someone bought it from some kids at the summer arts festival and donated it to me for this project. I thought the symbology of it was very good- for the third eye and higher vision. I am not promoting any place of ill repute. Also, the backside of the sculpture has a lot of detailed wire weaving and other things that the community has donated

        • Nice work. Tip 4 U.

          Suggestion. Drill gun, attach 2 wires and turn on gun. It’ll give you solid twists and it’ll give better support for heavier items.

        • I agree, the symbology is great. Alex Grey did an awesome job designing the logo. You did an excellent job crafting something unique with heart and devotion to something you and others care deeply about. But with that company, I think that it’s a lipstick on a pig, or a turd with a bow on it kind of situation. The company owner is a decietful thief.

  • Pharmstheproblem

    Goodbye, good riddance, Can’t understand why they didn’t pay the employee taxes, pretty stupid, and pretty easy to have done…..

  • Is $8000 all that was made in profit from reggae on the river? Or was that just from the Jah mall? A few people told me that the Mateel was given some money upfront. Was that not the case?

    • There was $75,000 paid this spring by High Times to the MCC.

      I’ll point out that the Jah Mall net $8000 in a year that had the lowest attendance I’ve ever seen. (The photo of the river camping directly across from the bowl gate depicts that reality.)
      The process of getting into a contract with High Times did not appear smooth. It was certainly slow.
      With a lineup announcement months rather than weeks before the show date, the Mateel may expect attendance to resume.
      Also, the board said they’d learned a lot and could easily have an inventory next year that would increase their income from the effort.

      • Thank you Kelley. If the MCC was paid $75k by High Times, how come the money was not used to pay off unpaid payroll tax first? It just seems to me, the list of business creditors could write off the debit as a donation and or negotiate payment plans; as the state (FTB) will not, i.e levy of bank account, interest, fees, penalties, seizure of assets etc.

        What was the $75k used for? I’m surprised the financial consultation (paid for by HAF) did not suggest to pay FTB first! Because it comes with the biggest liability and legal exposure.

  • Poster formerly known as Matt

    From the link posted above:

    “Eryn said that the $75,000 guaranteed revenue will be wired to the Mateel today, and “that it couldn’t come at a better time.” He said the money will be allocated to paying the Arthur Family for 2017 so the Reggae can continue and to produce Summer Arts “because we were tapped out” until this came along.”

    • And posted on July 27, 2018:

      “When the proverbial dust settled from the fair, we netted approximately $160,000, which is an increase of about $50,000 over the year before. A big reason this was accomplished was by significantly reducing our budget and streamlining many factors to make the fair leaner and therefore more profitable. These funds were immediately allocated as it was made available to some riding debt and ongoing operational costs, short-term community loans and loaded payroll as dramatically increased staff hours were needed going into the fair.”

      “Along the way we were able to pay some critical past debts including 100% of what was owed to the Southern Humboldt Unified School District. In fact, in this calendar year, we have paid $140,000 in critical debt and have managed to pay past state-required audits to the tune of $30,000 which kept our organization in good standing with the Registry of Charitable Trusts.”

      So it doesn’t really answer my question; how much of the $75k was paid to the Arthur Family and used to produce Summer Arts?

      There is no excuse for a non=profit tax exempt organization to be in debt, let alone loose money, when many private property owners, for=profit businesses and performers/entertainers profit from the same events the MCC goes into debt from!

      If the MCC cannot generate 33% income of the overall revenue from any given MCC fundraiser, i.e. ROTR, SAMF or any other event produced using the MCC assets, its all for not. Just because you are a non=profit, doesn’t mean you get to run it into the ground and get the public to bail you out. However, it would seem, the MCC is just like all other corporations, in other words, they internalize the profits and externalize the cost to the public…

  • sell the building? to who? oh that’s right Dusty Huston, MCC board member, and also of 2B1 productions from SF who just happens to own the property that abuts next to the Mateel. Was it his plan all along?

    • If I had the money I would just pay down the debt…I don’t want the building..I want a community center for my family and my community.. come on down elections are soon you could sit on the board and see how we work…

      • As a 3rd generation Californian on both sides of my family and former home owner and community member of what you call SoHum 1961-2015, you should not have to only “sit on the board and see how we work…”, to see how it works, its not brain surgery, its being accountable and responsible, knowing the difference between right vs wrong, illegal vs legal and abiding by your by-laws & articles of incorporation. The MCC is a state and federal public benefit, charitable and tax exempt organization, It comes with responsibilities and strict laws, rules and regulations, its not the pirate code. If you want to be a leader of your community, lead your community out of the black market mentality that has only existed since the 1980’s. How do you think the MCC was built? Open your eyes and see the light. You want to call yourself a “community center”, but you DO NOT want to operate like one. Thank you for using your name and having this conversation. To be continued…

      • Dusty, here’s how you see how it works. Look at the first page of the MCC 2016 990 tax return:

        This was only submitted earlier this year. Please see Part 1, item 5, 12, 15, 18 and 19 on the first page.

        Since the public has not seen your 2017 990 tax return and has nothing to compare it to, how does the MCC Board justify those figures?

        How does the MCC justify employing 329 persons and paying out $684,343.00 in salaries for 2016? If the MCC wants to be open and transparent, you need to make their names and their salaries public!

        • devil in the details

          You are pretty smart and literate so it’s a line of bs when you start acting too dumb to do simple math. $329,000 – ($25,000 times the number of hall employees ~5) would leave about$200,000 . It would be less if the employees were getting decent salary.
          Now then the Mateel paid some security other jobs for reggae weekend and for summer arts weekend. $200,000 ÷ 324 averages about $600 a person. Dude. No one got rich.
          Stop acting like you are exposing something big in order to fulfill your hate.
          You’re smart enough that it equates to lieing.

          • devil ~ I guess you didn’t read the 2016 990 tax return I posted. The tax return only states they employed 329 and paid out $684,343.00 in salaries. Besides compensating two Board members $678.00, where in that tax return does it state your math, i.e. who, what, why, when and where?

            Dude. No one got rich.”

            Well devil, if “No one got rich”, were did the $2,304,414 go; as stated on page 9, Part VIII, item 2a & b, i.e. “Special Events” and “Booth Fees”?

            Something else not listed on the 2016 990 tax return was income from parking, advertising and or sponsorship! Nor was it disclosed how much performers, entertainers, contractors or staff was paid for “Special Events”! And how much was paid out for lodging, transportation and meals for performers, entertainers and VIP’s during “Special Events”?

            BTW, I’m not “lieing” when the facts are right in front of you and you want to ignore them or make up your own math to suit your own agenda.

            Is this your math?


            • devil in the details

              Oh bless your heart, do you get triggered easily?? They have employees at the Mateel that work all year around. Those people make some kind of salary. When you subtract whatever that might be, and I put an EXTREMELY conservative estimate of 25,000 and you divide by how many people got paid, then it seems obvious, even to your hater soul, that the Mateel paid for help at the shows.
              You’re the only one ignoring the facts and hiding it behind way too many words.
              Jingo-jangoing around from topic to topic when you don’t hear what want on one thing you zip to the next.

    • McSlurm~Moose~Knuckle

      And when Mateel fired peoples productions in 2007, they were going to use 2b1 productions for ROTR, Before Dimmick ranch terminated the lease agreement for finding the Mateel in breach of contract for firing people’s productions that year! And then dimmick partnered with peoples productions to create Reggae Rising cutting out the Mateel, which went belly up after just 2 years,lol but didn’t the Mateel receive like 500,000 dollars from a lawsuit taking Dimmick to court?!?

  • Same show new name

    The current board is largely comprised of the same board that allowed Justin and whoever was in charge of the books to let this train wreck happen! I can’t even understand how they are willing to remain seated when it’s obvious they are capable of zero oversight and what a mess! What a terrible 3 + decade waste of so many community member’s energy . And all this trouble and pain started with PB , Carol and the nasty No Confidence document and bogus fake Reggae Rising use permit heist . That division soured many on both sides to the Mateel and to reggae. Shame on you. While the MCC was able to rally , but regrettably fall again, I personally think that initial trauma and the loss of a unified loyal base cost us dearly in the end.. the bitter broken, bleeding red end. I ask the supporters and creators of that divisive era , and that aggressive plot to jack the conditional use permit , was it worth it? Because that’s your legacy now.

  • Redwood County Mama

    Interestingly that the Mateel official stance is that Reggae was a success. Really? With very few tickets sold and more comp tickets handed out than sold. The price for a vendor space was discounted significantly because few vendor applications were received. Those who applied early were not given the discount but charged the full price. Communication between the Mateel’s security crews and that of High Times did not happen. High Times fired their own coordinator who was passing out tickets to all of her friends and was too busy partying to even have her phone turned on to do her job.
    Hearing that a Redwood Region Economic Development loan default would result in Humboldt Area
    Foundation assuming the responsibility for the building sounds like the best scenario for the entire community. Humboldt Area Foundation has long been regarded as a trustworthy charitable entity managing great sums of donations for a variety of purposes which have benefited Humboldt County residents for several decades. The common unity spirit which built the MCC is not shared by many of their children which have inherited the fruit of the labor and sacrifice of those who came before them. This fact is evidenced by the discarding of the Mateel Meal a very essential service for the health and well being of the most at-risk, vulnerable members of our community. The Mateel Meal is responsible for the upgrade of the Mateel kitchen from the receipt of a Food Security grant. To take those funds and not use them for the purpose intended is a blatant overt act of fraud. In past years board members and staff ate lunch at the Mateel Meal allowing them to fully recognize the benefit of providing the nutritious Mateel Meal. Before casting a vote every board member should educate themselves and experience lunch at the Mateel firsthand and see the difference love makes. We are very fortunate to have Babette Bach, who gave up a job at the College of the Redwoods cafeteria to pour herself into the Mateel Meal.

    • If you read a lot of these post it is little bit sad but I guess it time to say are community center is done I probably won’t spend another penny unless they do something in a good way just going to walk away with my head down

  • I told you before have estelle bring the money back she embezzeled.

    And i also told you to stop dragging it out! Tear that shit off like a bandaid!
    Shut that club down already!

  • … Get rid of the trouble maker like AG for instance giving out free tickets to her workout buddies and all her SNWMF ( family ) and not being available to take calls all weekend wtf what to busy being high partying how unprofessional and I hope the board can see what high times saw and get rid of the liars and thevies

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