Bandar’s charity may not end with sale of estate
Prince Bandar may be unloading his 56,000-square-foot mansion in Starwood, but his attorney says that doesn’t mean the Saudi is forsaking Aspen or its charities.Real estate agent Joshua Saslove on Tuesday announced that Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz had put his Starwood compound on the market for $135 million. That price tag makes it one of the most expensive homes in the United States, if not the most expensive. Saslove said Bandar is spending considerably more time in Saudi Arabia as chairman of the nation’s new national security council. But Bandar’s attorney, William Jordan III, said the prince still owns property in Aspen and plans to visit.”It is not that he’s not going to come here anymore,” Jordan said. “He and his family remain very attached to Aspen.”Jordan said he has not met with Bandar recently about his charitable donations in Aspen, but he has not received any indication that he will stop donating in the area.”I have no reason to believe that his pattern of generosity will change,” Jordan said.Bandar is well-known for his contributions to charities such as the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation, the Aspen Youth Center, the Aspen Education Foundation and a bevy of other valley nonprofits. Bandar makes annual donations the Aspen Youth Center and is a consistent donor with other institutions.Bandar still donates to the Aspen Youth Center annually, and Executive Director Sarah Blangsted said he was a huge catalyst in building the center in the 1980s.”His contribution was very instrumental in getting the center started,” Blangsted said.Some of his other contributions range widely, from a portion of a $2,100 donation for the 2005 Wintersköl event to a $300,000 trauma room at Aspen Valley Hospital, donated in 1998. A story in The Aspen Times in November 2001 conservatively estimated his total donations to be at least $5 million, and his contributions have not ceased. On Wednesday, Blangsted couldn’t say for certain if Bandar would continue donating. But she recognized his importance as a donor in the valley and said she hopes his contributions will continue.”He makes donations to a huge number of nonprofits in the valley,” she said.Nikki Beinstein Strait, the development officer at the Aspen Community Foundation, said Bandar has been a reliable donor. The sale of his mansion causes “no need for alarm,” she said.”He feels connected to this place and will continue to feel connected to this place whether he has a large home here or not,” Strait said.Greg Schreier’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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RFTA has a bit of a paradox on its hands. The public bus agency doesn’t anticipate it will haul as many passengers this winter but it needs more buses and drivers than ever. Only 15 people are allowed per bus, so that saps resources.