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Opera/CSF Mineral Rights Weren't Worth Much, Activists Call for Boycott

September 30, 2009, 12:00 am
By SFR Staff
In this week's Reporter, Zane's World takes the Santa Fe Opera and the College of Santa Fe to task for selling out the environment in Mora and San Miguel counties in order to plop a few drops into the bucket. And drops they are. Opera General Director Charles MacKay tells SFR that five digits a year  is the optimistic estimate for the 26,000 acres of mineral rights the Opera leased to a oil & gas company. The money is dedicated to the Opera's apprentice program, which operates on a $1.5 million annual budget.

Perusing probate court records from the Shellaberger Estate case, which bequeathed the mineral estate to CSF and the Opera, SFR has learned that, in 1999, the total mineral rights left to CSF and SFO were worth just short of $30,000.

The CSF's share was 75 percent: 50 percent for the CSF tennis program (in 1999, $15,000), 25 percent for CSF pianist scholarships (in 1999, $7,500), and 25 percent for the Opera's apprentice program (another $7,500). The will only mentions specifically these investments; the mineral rights seemed to be tacked on later as an afterthought.

It is unclear what the mineral rights are worth now, though the leased agreement with J Bar Cane calls for an 8 percent 1/8th royalty.

In comparison, the Shellaberger Estate left the tennis program $5.8 million in investments, and $3 million each to the CSF pianist and Opera apprentice programs. As Zane Fischer reports, it is unclear which institution now owns the CSF's share of the mineral rights--which were leased out as CSF's impending doom loomed largest.

Meanwhile, Drilling Santa Fe has posted a scanned copy of a poster being circulated that calls for a boycott of the Opera (click the image to enlarge). The anti-drilling activist blog cites Fischer's column for background.

 

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