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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, March 3, 2004
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, and Sen.
Max Baucus, ranking member, today continued their independent review of The Nature
Conservancy’s activities, transactions and practices. The senators sent a detailed letter asking questions about previously raised issues as well as new issues.
The text of the senators’ letter follows. The names of individuals who have not been named
publicly in media reports have been redacted.
March 3, 2004
Mr. Steven J. McCormick
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Nature Conservancy
4245 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203-1606
Dear Mr. McCormick:
We appreciate the cooperation of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) with the Finance
Committee’s independent review of TNC’s activities, transactions and practices. This letter is a follow-up regarding certain information the Finance Committee received from the first round of questions. Further, some questions (noted as such at the end of this letter) relate to new issues not raised in our earlier letter dated July 16, 2003.
I. Conservation Buyer Program
1. Identify each and all of the TNC conservation buyer transactions for the ten year period
described in our letter of July 16, 2003 (whether related party buyers or non-related buyers),
that involved a charitable donation or charitable pledge made to TNC by the purchaser within
a time frame beginning 6 months prior to closing on the land purchase from TNC and ending
two years after the land purchase. For each such transaction list the amount and date(s) of
payment of the contribution or pledge; attach a copy of the charitable pledge documentation; and attach any paperwork associated with the charitable gift— to the extent such information was not already provided in response to our prior letter.
2. In response to question 1, above, if the information has already been provided to us, indicate where each item may be found in such materials, including transaction number.
3. Questions regarding the Davis Mountains, Texas, property transactions:
a. Did _____ make a charitable pledge (or charitable contribution) with respect to the
transaction for the 5,854 acres on or about December 22, 1997?
b. Why did _____ give back to TNC the land she had purchased two years before? Why
did she give back just part of it and not all of it?
c. Was there anything different about the land she kept as opposed to the land she gave
back such as an improvement of the land, or a special feature of the land retained (or
d. What did _____ end up paying for the land she retained? Was it approximately the
sale price of $1,160,834?
e. Did _____ pay the $5,426,632 purchase price for the 27,133 acres? If not, what did
f. Did _____ pay the $2,839,717 for the charitable pledge she made? If not, how much
did she pay? When were payments made on the pledge?
g. Did _____ hold a position with TNC as a director, officer or employee? If so, discuss
her position, her term with TNC, whether she continues to have a relationship with
TNC, and, if so, in what capacity.
h. Attach all correspondence and other communications, including e-mail and any
memos that relate to the purchase of Davis Mountains property by _____.
i. Please provide a copy of the January 31, 1992, opinion letter to _____ from Steptoe
& Johnson, referred to in the January 29, 1997, letter from _____ to _____ of Steptoe
& Johnson, regarding charitable contribution deductions for premiums paid for real
property and donations of appreciated stock to pay the premium portion of the
4. Questions regarding the Shelter Island (Thompson Hill) transaction:
a. The value of the conservation easement was appraised at $1,594,000.00 as of October
28, 1999. When was this information conveyed to the TNC and the Dougherty’s?
b. Did the _____ donate part of the land that now makes up Mashomack Preserve? If
so, how much land and what percentage of the total? What was the then value of the
For entire 18 page letter from Senate finance committee to TNC, go HERE for pdf file.
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:15 AM Pacific
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