A Neighborhood Torn: Battles Over a La Quinta Estate’s Events Lead to Animosity, Arrests and Accusations of City Favoritism

Claudia and Matt Snyder with their dogs, Penny and Benji.

The La Quinta home on Cameo Palms Drive that Claudia and Matt Synder purchased in 2022 was supposed to be their “dream home in paradise.”

Then they learned that the Dupont Estate, across the street, has a city permit to host up to three large events per year. During those events, the Snyders say, the noise can be unbearable. Claudia cited a beach-volleyball star’s event as one example.

“It was a three-day celebrity wedding … starting early in the morning, with many attendees, a steady flow of people coming,” she said. “Matt and I were trying to watch a movie on Saturday evening and heard cheering, an emcee on his microphone throughout the evening, loud music blasting—and finally, at 10 p.m., we called the police.”

On the afternoon of March 1, Claudia Snyder said, she’d had enough. She decided, from her driveway, to protest the noise from a 200-person wedding party at the Dupont Estate. The police were called. Snyder was using a bullhorn, but turned it off when asked by a deputy, she said.

According to Sgt. Wenndy Brito-Gonzales, of the Riverside County’s Sheriff’s Office: “When deputies arrived, they learned a large, city-approved event was being held at the location. A neighbor, later identified as 49-year-old Claudia Snyder, initiated a protest at the event. Snyder’s behavior escalated to a point where other affected neighbors signed a private person’s arrest warrant for the loud and unreasonable noise she was creating.”

The Sheriff’s Office claims Snyder kicked one of the deputies, and she was subsequently arrested for obstructing/resisting a police officer, and making loud and unreasonable noise.

“I was in shock and don’t even remember kicking the officer,” Claudia told the Independent. “I was terrified and screamed for my husband.”

Matt Snyder explained: “I was down the street when I heard Claudia’s blood-curdling screams. I seriously wanted to cry and ran over there. I saw a sheriff’s SUV speeding off, and there was no more Claudia on the driveway. The sheriff gave me a number to bail her out.”

He paid the bail bond, set at $10,000.

Claudia Snyder said she has never been in trouble with the law. She spent the majority of her career working as a C-suite executive assistant at Fortune 100 firms in the Los Angeles area, she said. She claims the stress of living near the Dupont Estate has taken a toll on her health. In January 2023, Snyder suffered a pulmonary embolism she attributed to stress, and in April 2023, she was hospitalized following a suicide attempt, she said.

“I was in utter despair. I felt utterly alone, because I never anticipated the gaslighting and cover-ups,” she said. “I never saw it coming. No one would listen to me. I started to self-medicate, and felt really tired, felt that no one was listening.”

She is not alone in her opposition to the events being held at the Dupont Estate. Both Snyder and her neighbor, Melissa Labayog, said they have repeatedly provided evidence showing that the Dupont Estate regularly exceeds the licensed number of events, but there has been no action taken by the city.

On March 1, the date of Snyder’s arrest, Labayog was charged with disturbing the peace.

“I was protesting, sitting on my roof, against the Dupont Estate. The officers asked me to come down, and I fell,” Labayog said, adding that she suffered from concussion syndrome after the fall.

Labayog shares a property line with the Dupont Estate. “I have videos with dates and times showing that they have anywhere from five to 10 events per year, with numbers of people exceeding their … limits,” she said.

City of La Quinta spokesperson Marcie Graham confirmed that the Dupont Estate’s permit allows for one to three events per year. Regarding the size of the events, Graham said via email: “The number is determined per the event information they give us. They have to come in 30 days prior to their next event and submit the information. From there, we will determine the size at that point. … So, for example, if they come in and say they have a wedding, then we will go through all the information and let them know how many people they can have at that wedding.”

Labayog has plead not guilty to the misdemeanor charge. “I will go to jail for a year before pleading guilty,” she said. “I taught American government for six years, and was a reporter covering public protests, and (I am) fully aware of protected speech. This special-event permit program has placed those who object to it at risk of false imprisonment, charges and financial losses.”

Claudia and Matt Snyder live in the house with the atrium in the middle. The Dupont Estate is across the street to the left, Melissa Labayog’s home is at the end of the cul-de-sac next to the Dupont Estate. Photo courtesy of Kelly Tweedie

She and Snyder claim that La Quinta Mayor Linda Evans enjoys a close relationship with the Daniels family, who owns the Dupont Estate. Both Evans and the city declined to comment for this story, saying the arrest of Synder is not a city matter.

Labayong appeared on NBC Palm Springs’ The Roggin Report on Feb. 21. She mentioned that there would be a protest on March 1 regarding the event at the Dupont Estate—and it was during that protest that she and Snyder were charged.

“Commercial events in residential neighborhoods make no sense … especially when there is no city oversight … and the mayor is favoring the property next to me,” Labayong told the Independent; she made similar statements on The Roggin Report. “Since 2016, I have brought up my concerns regarding SREP (special residential event permit) violations by the Dupont Estate and have been dismissed, ignored and relentlessly harassed with taxpayer resources. (My appearance on The Roggin Report) was my desperate attempt to let Mayor Evans and La Quinta voters know that her special-events program has destroyed my property value and infringed on my right to quiet enjoyment.”

The city declined to comment on The Roggin Report, but sent an email to the TV station regarding emails sent by Synder. It read, in part: “To the extent the resident has made unfounded allegations against the city and its elected officials and staff, the city categorically refutes and denies them. The city and its staff have continuously addressed and responded to the resident’s inquiries since late 2022, including inquiries regarding the use of the Dupont Estate for special event purposes.”

Dupont Estate owner Lynne Daniels has accused Snyder of violence, and in December 2022 was granted a restraining order against her. Daniels has also demanded that Snyder pay her restitution for a loss of earnings, and damages caused by stress-related health issues. Snyder denied ever being violent toward Daniels.

Daniels declined to comment to the Independent.

Meanwhile, the Snyders said they intend to sell their house and move away. They said they are making prospective purchasers aware of the situation regarding the Dupont Estate—a courtesy which was not extended to them, they said.

In a War Zone: Indio Pastor Jason Duff Talks About Being in Israel at the Start of War

Pastor Jason Duff (third from left) and his tour group.

On Oct. 7, as Hamas attacked Israel, Pastor Jason Duff could hear numerous explosions as he was at his hotel in Galilee, about 90 miles north of Gaza.

Duff, who leads the nondenominational Garden Fellowship in Indio, was in Israel with his wife and four friends, planning routes for future tours, when he first heard of the attacks.

“We were driving along the shores of the Dead Sea toward Galilee when we heard reports of rockets being fired,” he said. “After many trips to Israel, I didn’t think anything of it. There were always reports of a couple rockets being fired.”

But soon, Duff said, he realized that this was something far more serious.


Behind Closed Doors? The Drag-Queen ‘Culture Wars’ Come to a La Quinta Neighborhood—and Bring up Questions About Transparency

This April 10 event invite was rescinded two days later after Trilogy residents voiced unspecified “concerns.”

On April 10, the Trilogy at La Quinta homeowners’ association announced a bingo evening, scheduled for May 18, to be hosted by local drag queen Rusty Waters.

Two days later, the HOA took it back.

In the April 12 message to residents, the Trilogy at La Quinta Maintenance Association board said unspecified “concerns” had been “voiced by some members of our community regarding Mr. Waters,” causing the event to be “modified.”


Worthy Citizen: Legendary Drummer Alvin Taylor Fights for Justice for Section 14 Survivors

Alvin Taylor: “I remember coming home when I was 10 years old, and seeing my house and the other houses being destroyed. We lost everything.”

He’s played with Stevie Wonder, Billy Preston, Cher, Jimi Hendrix and Elton John. He once stayed at George Harrison’s home to record an album. Little Richard heard him play at the age of 14 and purportedly said, “Honey, when I heard you play the drums, my big toe just shot straight up in my boot. It made me want to scream like a white lady!”

This happened when Alvin Taylor was working as a hotel busboy, and he was called upon to sit in with Soul Patrol; the regular drummer was too drunk to play. Also in the audience that night: Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Billy Preston.


Surf’s Not Up: A Look Behind the Scenes at the Successful Battle Against La Quinta’s Proposed Coral Mountain Resort

After five hours of debate stretching late into the evening of Sept. 21, the La Quinta City Council unanimously rejected the proposal for the Coral Mountain Resort project.

The project would have included a hotel, hundreds of houses and what was touted as the largest artificial wave basin in the world. Such a development would have required a switch in zoning, from “low-density residential” to “tourist commercial.” However, it will not come to be—thanks largely to a grassroots group, La Quinta Residents for Responsible Development (LQRRD).

The rejection came as a welcome surprise to at least one core member of the group, Alena Callimanis.


Competition for influence over Vista Santa Rosa may end in bit of a draw

Both Coachella and La Quinta want to have some control over county land they share a border with. A recent move by Coachella may help solve the issue.


Vista Santa Rosa, 8,000 unincorporated acres bordered by three valley cities, is at the center of a complicated dispute.

A tug of war between two Coachella Valley cities over an 8,000-acre section of unincorporated land shows no sign of letting up. It could end up with residents of the area having a new address.

At issue: Vista Santa Rosa is a census designated area bordered by La Quinta, Indio, and Coachella. It has everything you’d expect to find in the eastern part of the valley: homes with expansive views, farmland, and horse pastures. It’s also at the center of a complicated dispute with roughly 3,000 residents and a relatively unknown commission caught in the middle.


Coral Mountain Controversy:
After the La Quinta Planning Commission OKs the Proposed Development, Opponents Demand a Commissioner Resign

After the April 26 meeting of the La Quinta Planning Commission, the group La Quinta Residents for Responsible Development (LQRRD) demanded that Kevin McCune, one of the commissioners, immediately resign.

At that meeting, the commission voted to recommend approval of the controversial Coral Mountain Resort. The proposed 386-acre private resort would include a half-mile-long wave pool, containing 18 million gallons of water, along with 600 homes; a 150-room hotel; hiking and biking trails; spa and wellness facilities; adventure-sports facilities; and a restaurant and market. The commission voted…



Obama faces a tall agenda in Asia

With unemployment topping 10% and his healthcare plan still facing Senate action, President Obama has plenty to keep him busy at home. But on Thursday, he will head to Asia for more than a week, a trip that underscores the White House’s conviction that a close partnership with China and other Pacific Rim nations is crucial to American interests.

Obama is scheduled to stop in Japan, Singapore, China and South Korea, bringing to 20 the number of nations he has visited since taking office in January. That’s a record, according to the Obama administration; no other president has traveled to so many countries in his first year in office.

Although the centerpiece of the trip is China, the loudest pre-journey reaction has come from Japan. On Sunday, thousands of demonstrators rallied in Okinawa and Tokyo over the future of a Marine base on the distant southern island, home to roughly half of the 50,000 U.S. troops stationed in Japan.

The protesters sought to put pressure on Japan to stop construction of a new U.S. military airfield with two runways, part of a 2006 agreement between the two nations.


Japanese PM candidate Vows to Stay Away from Controversial Shrine

The campaign to succeed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who announced his intention to resign earlier this week, is now officially down to two candidates, and their comments have already provided some clues to what Japan’s post-Abe foreign policy might look like. Catherine Makino reports from Tokyo.

The former chief cabinet secretary, 71-year-old Yasuo Fukuda, appears to be the leading candidate to replace Mr. Abe. His opponent is the former foreign minister and current leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, 66-year-old Taro Aso.

Fukuda is a political moderate, who says his aim is to create warm relations with Japan’s neighbors, especially China and South Korea. Aso, a conservative, has annoyed China in the past with disparaging remarks.

Japan’s relations with the two countries deteriorated badly during the tenure of Mr. Abe’s predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi. A major reason was Mr. Koizumi’s insistence on making regular visits to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 14 convicted war criminals among Japan’s 2.5 million war dead. Japan’s neighbors see the shrine and the visits as glorification of the country’s militaristic past.


Sexist Taunts in Japan Hit a Fertility Nerve

The heckling of an unmarried female assemblywoman in Tokyo highlights a work-life imbalance problem that is tied to delayed motherhood

TOKYO (WOMENSENEWS)– The recent public sexist heckling of a female lawmaker by male colleagues in the Tokyo Assembly may be shameful for the nation but it is not exceptional.

That’s the view of Kuniko Tanioka, a university president who spent many years as a rare woman in the Japanese National Parliament.

“The entire notion of human rights and discrimination against women in Japan is behind the global standards of today,” Tanioka, president of Shigakkan University in Japan, said in a recent phone interview. “I hope that men of the global community will educate Japanese men because they don’t listen to women, although women are trying to make a difference from the inside.

But she doubts the international and national attention to the incident signifies rapid changes for women to come. As proof, she points out that the Tokyo Assembly voted not to punish the lawmakers responsible for their sexist jeers.