The fate of the Imus Ranch

Don Imus frequently talked about and raised money for his ranch in New Mexico. It was organized as a non-profit in 1999 for the purpose of housing children with cancer during the summer. He built a 21,000 square foot home on 3,400 acres of land SouthEast of Santa Fe. Each summer, about 200 children would visit – 10 children would stay in 5 bedrooms and do things like learn how to ride a horse and eat vegetarian meals.

Eventually the children were sick children without cancer, and brothers and sisters of children who had died of SIDS. The operating budget of the ranch was $1.4 million, and the smaller number of children got the spending per child up to $28,000 at the peak when it got scrutiny from the Wall Street Journal.

The ranch stopped housing children in 2014, and Imus stopped living and doing his show from there after falling from a horse and hurting himself. Over the years, authorities wondered if the Ranch was being used too much for Imus’s own personal benefit. Despite having stopped being used for its charitable purpose in 2014, it still paid over half a million dollars on salaries in 2016. At the beginning of 2016, the shuttered non-profit was sitting on over $7 million in cash. To still have some reason to exist as a tax-exempt charity, it gave $250,000 to a hospital in New Jersey.

IRS form 990 for 2016

New York Post story from 2017

Originally, he had hoped to sell the ranch for $35 million, then lowered the asking price to $29 million then $19 million then was going to sell it at auction with a minimum bid of $5 million. There were no bidders. Similar properties are for sale for around $2 million.

A realtor is now claiming that a sale is getting close.

Local newspaper coverage

Imus says the proceeds will be directed to other charities. The board of directors is Imus, his wife, and his agent.

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4 Responses to The fate of the Imus Ranch

  1. Fred Stiening says:

    872 acres is a lease from the state, not actually owned. The sale is commingling the 501(c)(3) land with the Imus personal property. I wonder how they intend to apportion the proceeds…

    http://thomasauction.com/auction-details.asp?id=1447

  2. Fred Stiening says:

    A little more background – the defenses mounted in the comments are interesting.

    http://www.wheremostneeded.org/2007/04/imus_ranch_viol.html

    The Andrews brothers are described in a CT newspaper from 1998 as his financial advisors. What role they played in his contract negotiations is unclear.

  3. Fred Stiening says:

    No sign of that impending prospect ready to buy.

    I don’t think anyone will buy this property until the commingled nature of the property is cleared up and it is an “arm’s length” transaction. Add to that the possibility of donors showing up randomly to see what their donations bought…

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