Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Farming: Lex Anteinternet: Lex Anteinternet: UW Foundation intent on cashing-...

The marketing brochure for the Y Cross Range:  Y Cross.

Pretty, ain't it?

And at $25,000,000, that's a pretty penny.  I'll bet that went to somebody serious about raising cattle for a living, eh?

We recently ran this item on the University of Wyoming and Colorado State University, football rivals but land sale allies:
Lex Anteinternet: Lex Anteinternet: UW Foundation intent on cashing-...: This past week the respective Wyoming and Colorado university benefactors (or actually the Colorado one, in what I read) of this substantial...
Following up on this, we now read the following on the on line Oil City News that the sale has been made. the News reports:

(Cheyenne, Wyo.) – The University of Wyoming Foundation and Colorado State University Research Foundation have completed the sale of the Y Cross Ranch, setting the stage for significant long-term funding of scholarships and internships for agriculture students.
This sale is explained in the following fashion:
“This is a very exciting development for students and faculty in agriculture and the related natural resources at UW,” says Frank Galey, dean of UW’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “The proceeds will provide them with tremendous opportunities and experiences in an industry of utmost importance to Wyoming and its people.”
UW will apparently make $10,000,000 on the sale, which will yield, it is claimed, $400,000 in annual returns.  CSU probably comes out about the same, of course.  Some real estate agent has a fair payday too, of course.

It should also be a warning to anyone who donates a specific item without a specific instruction on how it is to be used restricting the use of, or burdening if you will, the gift.  This problem is a fairly common one for donations, and it's common for the donor to assume that the recipient will keep and maintain the gift, when often the recipient has no obligation to.  In this case, the example is both spectacular, and very sad.  While the universities were found to have a legal right to do this, shame on them.  And for anyone thinking of giving either of them funds for anything, in any department, this ought to be recalled.

Of interest is this quote from former Wyoming Jim Geringer:
If the two universities could have been more effective with the money than the ranch, the donor would have sold the ranch herself, at a much better price, and given the cash directly to the universities. She saw higher value in what the ranch and its operations could pass along to students for many generations. Instead, the boards of trustees envisioned a bank account without a soul. Neither university should be run as a profit center. Rather, they should endow the passing of the heritage and values of what makes our two states unique. For us I say. Wyoming is what America was – and what America ought to be. So – trustees: you violated your very title. Trust is never taken. Only you can give it away. And you did. In biblical terms, you sold it for a mess of pottage.
Also of interest is this recent, pre sale, quote by one of trustees of one of the two universities' foundations:
We have always taken our commitment to stewardship very seriously, and we will continue to do so by marketing the ranch for sale in a deliberative and transparent process open to all potential buyers for an outcome that will be a tremendous benefit to students at both institutions"
I can't say that the sale hasn't been transparent, but according to the news reports the universities were not disclosing the identify of the purchaser. According to an informal organization opposing the sale, the purchaser is a Press L III, LLC.  A net search doesn't reveal a "Press L III, LLC" as having a net presence, and it isn't a registered Wyoming entity with the Wyoming Secretary of State. It'll be interesting to see what this outfit intends to do with this large block of Wyoming ranch land and if that squares with their role as a "steward".  I have grave concerns about this, but we will see.

Donors, beware.  UW, shame on you.

1 comment:

Pat, Marcus & Alexis said...

After doing a little bit of research on the author of the "transparent" comment, I found that she on the faculty of CSU and has a published email address, so I wrote to her asking that in the name of transparency the actual owners (the owners behind the owners) of the Y Cross be revealed.

So far, that's been met with stunning silence, but then its only been a day. If my expectations are not met, and she actually writes back, I'll note it.