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The real Windstar

Aspen Times writer

Dear Editor:Your article, “Institute’s development plans divide caucus,” (Aspen Times, Aug. 18), has several inaccurate statements about the Windstar Foundation and the Windstar property. My brother, John Denver, purchased the property now known as the Windstar Land Conservancy in the late 1970s. In 1990, the National Wildlife Federation became a partner with the Windstar Foundation and purchased half the land. In the mid-’90s (I believe ’96), the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) bought out the National Wildlife Federation with John, creating the stipulation that both the Windstar Foundation and RMI would not own the land, but create a new entity, called the “Windstar Land Conservancy,” as a separate 501(c)3 (nonprofit) that owns the land and has representation on its board by both the Windstar Foundation and RMI.I would encourage everyone to go to our Web site at http://www.wstar.org and check out the “difference between the Windstar Foundation and the Windstar Land Conservancy.” RMI did not buy out the Windstar Foundation. Nor did they absorb the Windstar Foundation. The land does not belong to RMI. Nor did they purchase the land from John in the late ’70s as your article states. The Windstar Foundation has not ceased to exist as has been implied by the local papers in the past.In creating the Land Conservancy, the Windstar Foundation, RMI and the Windstar Land Conservancy retained the right to build on the 30-acre unencumbered parcel, as allowed when the land was first purchased by John, I believe. I feel the misrepresentations of the facts in the local papers since the Windstar Land Conservancy was formed has hindered the Windstar Foundation’s ability to grow and get financial support – in not only this valley, but elsewhere.Although you have sometimes printed corrections later, most people believe what they read in articles first and do not read correction boxes, which can get hidden in the back. As you know, we all tend to remember what an article said, even if we see the correction later.The Windstar Foundation is once again holding a Choices for the Future Symposium, Sept. 24 in Snowmass Village. Rather than a correction box, I would humbly request that in order to correct these inaccuracies that continually get printed, that you print what I have written here and do an article about the Windstar Foundation, what it has been up to and what it is currently doing. This way people hopefully would no longer have the impression that we – “John Denver’s Windstar Foundation” – no longer exist. We are a nonprofit 501(c)3 and it has been an uphill battle since my brother’s accident, and with comments from locals like “I read Windstar didn’t exist anymore” and “I read RMI took Windstar over,” the hill becomes steeper! Please consider my request and thank you – I know Eben did not intentionally misrepresent the facts.Ronald L. Deutschendorf, Sr.Chairman/PresidentJohn Denver’s Windstar FoundationBoard of Trustees


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