Letter: Dark cloud hangs over Windstar sale | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Dark cloud hangs over Windstar sale


Dark cloud hangs over Windstar sale

Dear Editor:

Having been a volunteer for the Windstar Foundation for 10 years, I know firsthand what the conservation easement meant to all of us.

I’ve read the deed. There are strict guidelines set up to protect the land and preserve public access, and selling the land to make a profit does not fit any where into that picture. I stood with Rocky Mountain Institute’s Marty Pickett and the conservancy’s Karmen Dafslaff last October at Windstar’s farewell gathering and listened with others while they told us that neither organization could financially care for the land any longer and that’s why it had to be sold.

How was that possible when a portion of proceeds from every John Denver Tribute Concert at the Wheeler was to go to the Land Conservancy? Ms. Dafslaff was supposedly one of those responsible for making sure the contributions were distributed to the Windstar fund. Ron Deutschendorf, executive director of the Windstar Foundation and John Denver’s brother, also told me that day that his position had been eliminated without his knowledge and that he knew that both the foundation and the conservancy had the money it needed to care for the land.

No one from Rocky Mountain Institute or Windstar told me or any others that day that half the proceeds of the sale would go to the institute, which just might be used to help build their new offices in Basalt.

Ms. Dafslaff claims that the proceeds from the land sale will go to the “John Denver Aspen Glow Fund.” There is no such nonprofit listed anywhere in any records at this time.

Pitkin County commissioners would not return my calls to them when I requested information in October about the sale, about zoning laws in the area and what their responsibility was to the conservation easement.

How can all this happen? As a Windstar member who put time, energy and concern into this land, I deserve some answers. All of us who committed to making a difference worldwide through Windstar deserve answers. And John Denver did not deserve to have the land he worked so hard to protect turned into just another land deal that a few individuals could make a profit off of.

Debi Shirey