The Imus Ranch and surrounding acreage has sold for approximately $12.5 million, just short of one-third of the original asking price. The ranch, which was acquired by radio shock jock Don Imus in 1998, was used to provide an American-cowboy experience to children with cancer.
The ranch’s summer program ceased in 2014 after Imus broke his ribs in a fall and was unable to breathe at high altitude, Imus often said on-air. During its operation, it drew criticism for a relatively high ratio of cost to child served, upwards of $25,000 each, and reported personal use of the ranch by the Imus family. The personal use led to an only 55-percent property tax exemption, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The entire 3,400-acre, fenced-in property was included in the sale, according to the sale site. Sources say that the income from the sale will be granted to other charities
Patrick Gottsch, creator of the Cowboy Channel, is the reported purchaser of the property. The deal came less than a month after Imus signed off from the airwaves after 50 years as a DJ and personality.
An Imus spokesperson said that there was no stipulation as part of the sale as to how the property would be used and that the organization has not been active since 2014. Dollars have still rolled into the organization in the interim, mostly from Imus’ website, according to an email from a family account. The primary charitable purpose the organization has served most recently has been in grantmaking.
In 2016, the last year for which tax data is available, the ranch reported grant payouts of $250,000 to SKIP of New York for the assistance of chronically ill and disabled children and $100,000 to the Eileen Fund, also of New York, for medical research.
The organization explained in Schedule O of its federal Form 990 filed for 2016 that the ranch’s non-cash, non-investment assets were placed up for auction in October 2014 and that operations at the ranch had ceased with the exception of maintaining the land, livestock, and related equipment. The board of directors, according to the explanation, intended to further the nonprofit’s mission by contributing to organizations of similar purpose.
While the dollars from the sale will be distributed through grants to organizations that share Imus Ranch’s charitable purpose, it has not yet been decided whether the organization will continue to fundraise or cease operations once funds are spent, according to the spokesperson and a family source.
The Ribera, N.M. ranch, located 45 minutes southeast of Santa Fe, includes 3,400 acres and features 29,000 square feet of living quarters, according to the sale website. The reported asking price shrunk from $35 million to $29.9 million to $19.9 million then to the $12.5 million for which it eventually sold.
Imus Ranch, as an organization, reported losses in the three most recent years for which Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 990 data is available. The organization posted $264,255 in revenue and a $1.09 million overall loss in 2016, $241,619 in revenue and a $1.16 million loss in 2015, and $511,919 in revenue and a $1.21 million loss in 2014.
In 2013, the last full year in which the summer program was active, the organization reported revenue of $2.94 million, which exceeded expenditures by $898,293.
The 2016 Form 990 reported only Imus, his wife Deirdre, and the shock jock’s long-time agents Vincent and Robert Andrews– both long-time acquaintances and accountants — as board members. It also disclosed $19.5 million in costs and bases for land, buildings, and other equipment — including $11.8 million in land and buildings. Net assets, at the time, stood at $16.4 million.
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