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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Don Imus: “We have a $30 Million Estate on the Water in Westport, Conn.”

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A charity operated by talk radio host and Westporter Don Imus has come under scrutiny of New York’s attorney general, according to Thursday’s New York Times.

The newspaper said Elliot Spitzer was looking into the business practices of the charity that runs a New Mexico ranch for seriously ill children.

Quoting “people briefed on the matter,” the Times said Spitzer has been reviewing accusations that Imus used the ranch for his personal getaway.

Asked about the matter, Imus told the newspaper that he and his wife ran the charity from New York and spent time at the ranch primarily when children were there to participate in the charity programs.

“We have a $30 million estate on the water in Westport, Conn.,” he said. “We’re hardly looking for a vacation spot.”

The Wall Street Journal carried a similar story and Imus attacked the report on his radio show as a hatchet job. He said that he and his wife work for the charity, both raising money and doing chores during the children’s stay at the ranch, all without compensation.

“Why don’t you do a survey about other foundations this size and see what they pay their chief executives? Most charities spend 50 cents to raise a dollar,” he said. He also called “insane” the notion that he uses the ranch for private use, saying that when he takes vacations he goes elsewhere than the ranch.

“I’ve got a penthouse apartment in New York and a mansion in Westport (Conn.). Why would I go someplace that I can’t breathe,” said Imus, referring to medications he takes to help with breathing while he’s at the ranch.

Posted 03/24 at 03:31 AM
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Comments:     Comment Policy

I watch Imus live daily from the West Coast and Imus is doing good for these kids. I don’t believe he is cheating in any way. Why would someone imply this? Knowing him, he will just say, “I don’t need this, the ranch is closed.” This will hurt all the kids he helps. Someone must have it in for him, but to trace that would be difficult since he insults everyone equally. I hope people will get off his butt on this!

Posted by Dianne Walker on March 24, 2005 at 02:45 PM | #

Why would Eliot Spitzer want to advertise here in Westport? Are Howard Stern followers potential Spitzer voters? Was the Wall Street J happy with Don Imus pick for president? Politics make for strange bed fellows. Spitzer should publish cost of ALL NY Charity operations. Just publish salaries of executives in “Not for Profits” It will truly be eye opening.

Posted by Bill Eager on March 24, 2005 at 03:12 PM | #

When reporters like Rich lie to the public, they should suffer a penalty in kind. This should be the loss of their 1st amendment rights as a reporter. In some manner we the general public should be in a position to induce reporters to TELL THE TRUTH. To spread untruths is a crime-period. This crime is premeditated and should carry penalties equal to rape and murder. One mans opinion.

I too listen to Imus in the morning most everyday and know first hand that the article is bogus.
Give’m HELL IMUS!

Oh yes, my close friends and I will not be renewing or subscribing to the Journal.

Posted by Ron Giese on March 24, 2005 at 03:30 PM | #

Don Imus is a wonderful human being who has beaten odds that may of us grapple with and is helping sick kids. Liberals give money; conservatives give of themselves to ensure that the aid is getting to where it needs to be. Don Imus is a true thinking conservative.

Posted by ben hammer on March 24, 2005 at 03:35 PM | #

People have a right to be told how their money will be spent if they donate to a charity. Imus is right that if you think it is too much per child then do not donate. But he has not told people that they spend so much and that your dollar goes much less further with the ranch than with most other charities. Plus, it is questionable as to why any charity needs to have a multimillion dollar broadcasting studio and the other amenities the ranch has. You do not see it in other cases. There is too much evidence to indicate that Imus has personally benefited financially from the establishment of this charity. Whether it was intentional or not we do not know, I am inclined to think not without proof of that, but I believe that what “seemed like a good idea”, like that they could broadcast from the ranch at times, really wasn’t. Unfortunately he has become too out of touch with reality to recognize it, and his fans are too blind to see it too.

Posted by johndoe on March 24, 2005 at 04:08 PM | #

Imus spends months every year broadasting from the ranch. He would need a good setup to pull that off. Whether what he has is excessive, I can’t say, but it’s ignorant to make a comment like “I believe that what ‘seemed like a good idea’, like that they could broadcast from the ranch at times, really wasn’t.”

Posted by JBD on March 24, 2005 at 04:15 PM | #

When Imus was going through his morning rants, he proceeded to take a pot-shot at Paul Newman’s charity work. When it comes to charitable deeds, Paul Newman is above reproach. I find the whole setup of the Imus Ranch to be a bit odd. Despite all the non-stop hype, self-serving blather and expense, maybe a few dozen kids go there in a year’s time. And the concept that an authentic “working cattle ranch” being strictly vegetarian is strangely dubious.

Posted by Stanley Ervice on March 24, 2005 at 04:17 PM | #

Imus,

Thank you for giving the children a safe and fun place to go at your ranch. Horses are wonderful therapy for children! That freak Howard Stearn has said on the air in the past that you and your wife were stealing the money, he is so jealous of you and lies to stir things up for you.

Posted by s. keo on March 24, 2005 at 04:31 PM | #

I found it interesting that the writer, Robert Frank, didn’t bother to visit the Imus Ranch before writing his article, even though Imus offered to pay his way. It seems that even the once-venerable WSJ has now fallen into the mud by their editors failing to demand writers fully check their stories in advance.

Mr. Frank and the WSJ may find they’ve bitten off more than they can chew by riling up one of America’s most influential curmudgeons.

Posted by Jack Koestner on March 24, 2005 at 04:54 PM | #

For a man that brags about having a lot of money Don Imus doesn’t have much savvy when it comes to choosing a tax shelter. I listened to him occasionally on the radio and recently began to notice him on morning television with his weird associates and that horrible, orange NBC set. I read of a pending law suit against Don Imus filed by a former employee. Don Imus and his wife, marched to the beat of a dfferent drum where the nanny was concerned. Their actions were very strange indeed. Don Imus sounded very shrill this morning and stuttered noticably explaing to everyone just how wonderful a guy he is. Income tax evasion will cause anyone to act that way I guess.:)

Posted by Jack Webb on March 24, 2005 at 04:59 PM | #

This simply falls under the umbrella of “no good deed goes unpunished”. It’s a piece o’ cake to criticize. Only special people “give something back”. Don, no sweat, we see right through it. Keep on… Thanks for the hours. - ron

Posted by Ron on March 24, 2005 at 05:06 PM | #

looks like don imus has a pretty hysterical fan base! relax folks - don hasn’t been indicted or charged with any crimes. The AG’s office is merely “reviewing accusations”, not leading him out of his 30 million dollar westport mansion in cuffs…yet.

it’s heartwarming though to see the passionate support celebrities get when they find themselves in a bit of trouble…too bad these fans don’t redirect that passion to people who could really use their help (economically disadvantaged, for example)

Posted by why so testy? on March 24, 2005 at 05:06 PM | #

Economically disadvantaged? Please!! THE POOR?? Most people have the same choices to make in life to avoid or get out of being POOR. Yes, I know “not EVERYONE’, but for the most part. This man his helping sick children. They need the help more than the POOR man looking to buy a bottle of ripple to avoid his reality.

Posted by Cletus on March 24, 2005 at 06:37 PM | #

I watched a good ideal of “Imus in the Morning” this morning and from what I was hearing from Don, I wondered why someone would write such a scathing, terrible article about him. As Don got wound up, it must have seemed shocking to his listerners that someone with an agenda who was out to get him would stoop so low. I told myself I just have to read this WSJ article.

Well, imagine my surprise when I read what seemed to me a well-balanced report which raised reasonable questions in a quite respectful manner. Now I think about all those aired episodes where Don has accused countless people of corruption. What’s the old adage about being able to dish it out and then not take it?

Posted by John on March 24, 2005 at 07:28 PM | #

Cletus- thanks for the post. I now have a new benchmark for what constitutes an unintelligent statement on a discussion board. “The poor” come in all sizes, shapes, colors… and believe it or not, some even happen to work long hours in multiple jobs and still can’t make ends meet. that’s probably hard for you to reconcile with your limited intellect - so much easier for you to just neatly package “poor” with “homeless alcoholic who spends his government subsidies on ripple”.

Posted by why so testy on March 24, 2005 at 07:33 PM | #

cletus- see john’s post above for an example of how an intelligent reply reads.

Posted by why so testy on March 24, 2005 at 07:35 PM | #

Bill Eager,

WSJ news editors and reporters are, I’m sure, very happy with Imus’s vote for president. Like many uninformed people, you imply that the WSJ is a conservative publication. Nothing could be further from the truth. The WSJ editorial page is conservative, the news section is as liberal as the NY Times. You might try reading the paper before making such an implication.

Posted by BK on March 24, 2005 at 08:16 PM | #

The ranch has been a sham from day one and was only intended to serve the inflated ego of Mr. Imus and his vegan wife. Worse, the sham has been funded with everybody’s money but his own. Tax records indicate that more than $26.3 million has been raised for the ranch. Imus says he gave $1 million. That’s less than 4% of the total. Imus’ money probably didn’t even pay for the “Imuses’ master-bedroom suite, positioned according to Chinese feng shui principles, features a screened-in sleeping porch overlooking a mesa and an outdoor shower designed to look like Aztec ruins.”

Remember that the $26.3 million in donations weretax deductible so the rest of us taxpayers really paid $12 million of the total costs.

Why would the ranch need to pay $81,000 per year for a T-1 internet connection? How about the $60,000 a year in telephone costs? Why would it pay more than $200,000 in legal/accounting fees over the last three years? Check out the tax returns at http://www.guidestar.org. The program helps ~100 kids oer year and is open only for a few months. The numbers don’t add up.

It’s pathetic. If Imus is soooo rich ($30 million estate in Westport), why does he need my tax dollars to support his ranch?

He should go to jail.

Posted by Bob Smith on March 24, 2005 at 08:43 PM | #

Imus has been hitting the pharmaceutical companies hard because of the Mercury poisoning contained in childhood innoculations that are linked to the rise in autism. The republicans and the drug companines have pending legislation that would relieve the drug companies from any liability for these autistic children. Imus has been arguing against it and putting legislators, particularly santorum, on the spot. It’s not hard to figure out why he is being slimed. It is typical behavior for the Bush/Rove team.

Posted by David on March 24, 2005 at 09:47 PM | #

I have a new name for the IMAN, how bout, steinway the pianno man and for the ever so charming and oh so talented dedo, lets call her chef ron. Yo Imo, take a lesson in grace from your neighbor Paul.

Posted by dick on March 24, 2005 at 10:35 PM | #

As a man who used to work with Don Imus, I can tell you without any hesitation whatsoever, that he is not taking advantage of the ranch. Elliot Spitzer is just looking for publicity. While there might have been hints and allegations from those who do not like Don Imus and enjoy this little sideshow, Spitzer should have actually investigated all of this before “leaking” it to the press.

The Imus Ranch has been around for quite sometime, and this is the first time anyone has questioned the ranch’s or Imus’ integrity. Considering that there have been broadcasts from the ranch on numerous occasions- I would think that WFAN (the top billing radio station in the country) and MSNBC would have make absolutely sure that no wrongdoing is taking place, for the fallout could be devastating.

Posted by BMD on March 25, 2005 at 02:14 AM | #

BMD,

What a bunch of bunk. The ranch has been around for five years and why would WFAN or MSNBC have any interest in checking out the tax-exempt bona fides of the ranch. Your suggestion that because the I-loser works for corporate interests makes this sham legitimate is silly. Really. Don’t defend the indefensible.

The problems with the ranch’s tax exempt status are only beginning. Wait until the feds look into this.

Posted by bob smith on March 25, 2005 at 03:18 AM | #

Elliott Spitzer vs. Bernie in a boxing match! What a bald-headed stooge you are Spitzer! Long Live The I-MAN!!
p.s. David Gregory Rocks!

Posted by Bob on March 25, 2005 at 03:56 AM | #

I can’t wait to see the I-sham’s career finally go away for good once all the information about the ranch comes out. He’s been a no-talent hypocrite for years, and it has always amazed me that people have put up with him as long as they have. I’ve always said that there is no way he’d ever do anything to help anyone unless he was getting something out of it for himself, and now it looks like everyone is going to get a chance to see him for the lying, selfish, no-talent hack he really is. Good riddance!

Posted by Dan on March 25, 2005 at 05:58 AM | #

Imus doesn’t have $ motives in the ranch; he’s doing it for ego/trying to inject credability into an otherwise jerky life of extreme favor. Riding around in limos, hiring/firing dozens of nannies for the chess playing little cutie, paying big bucks for simulated “stone washed” shirts, etc. The center of his world is materialism; but I am very attracted to his show. It’s hard to discount the informativeness of the various interviews, and the talent of his support system (Bernie and Charles) without whom we may never have heard from the I-man.

Posted by Buck on March 25, 2005 at 01:17 PM | #

I think Imus is a loud mouth fool who is helping a lot of kids. Why does the WSJ cheap shot him? Because they can,with the NY mind set they have and gutter journalism that they have risen to, anybody they deem easy they will get.

Posted by Charlie on March 25, 2005 at 02:15 PM | #

thanks to bob smith for the link to http://www.guidestar.org. if a look at the I-scam’s form 990 isn’t enough to give you a bad case of the agita then maybe a shot of some “Ranch” salsa will help. the day we see the I-scam perp-walkin down the road of his chintzy, false-front, self-promoting ranch can’t come soon enough for me.

Posted by mike on March 25, 2005 at 04:19 PM | #

I watch Imus on MSNBC on weekdays and I am not a reader of The Wall Street Journal. However, I have read the WSJ article on Imus. No matter how much Imus complains, the piece is not a “hatchet job.” Imus can dish it out �hell, he’s the Emeril of invective� but he can’t take it. Whether it’s inappropreate or not, his setup at the Ranch does looks bad and self-indulgent. Part of the problem is that Imus is a professional jerk� one who wants a loving legitimacy�but all-the-while still acting like a jerk. Like Michael Jackson, Imus has been chauffeured into a world of self-deluded reality.

Posted by Juan Alaverde on March 25, 2005 at 04:38 PM | #

Don is thin skinned. He shovels it out but goes balistic when it comes back to him. I actually like Don. Hes unique. But he with savage glee attacks people. And Charles and Bernard are his Amen stooges. I really doubt that Don has done anything wrong with his charity. It is costly and he reaches few kids. But it a marvelous experience for the lucky few that get to attend the sessions. And Don claims he makes not a dime on fundraising. I believe him. I think Dons personal wealth is hundreds of millions. He may just say the hell with it. That would be a loss. He may be wise to expand the number of kids he can help. I dont know if that would be possible.

Posted by mel on March 25, 2005 at 05:06 PM | #

I believe everyone should wait for the finish before condeming the Iman. Like him or not, like his ranch or not, he does not need to do what he does in trying to help make the lives of very ill children better. If more celebrities would reach out it would make for a better world. Is the Iman materialistic..yes..does he live in a cacoon..yes..so what!!!!!
Let him be, he is a good man with good values and a good heart for example, if it weren’s for Don Imus, veterans of the present war and in Afghanstan would be receiving life insurance of $12,000. Thanks to Don Imus who embarrased our Congressmen like the Senator from Connecticut, Liberman, who all said they did not realize how small the insurance was. Now as we all know that insurance money will be raised to at least $100,000. Another Don after his visit to the Veteran’s Hospital in DC, he donated phone cards, out of his pocket after learning hospital patients, injured service men and women use their own money to make phone calls and donated his “own” money towards revamping the physical rehabilitation unit at Walter Reed Hospital, I believe that was into the millions.
Please he is a GOOD MAN!

Posted by Kathy T on March 25, 2005 at 11:11 PM | #

I have enjoyed listening to Don Imus for many years, and I will continue to do so, irregardless of the WSJ article about the ranch. However, I can’t help but feel that something just isnt above board with that operation. If another celebrity had raised $26 million dollars for their charity and serve kids for 90 days per year (100 kids per year total), I-Man would be among the first to call it a scam. I think he is blinded to the obvious issues with his on charity. I do not doubt his sincerity in wanting to help these kids, but something just doesnt smell quite right down on the ranch (and I dont think its the horse muffins).

Posted by Thomas on March 26, 2005 at 02:30 AM | #

Maybe Howard Stern has a valid point about Imus. For what liitle return there is for the money donated, maybe it would be better if Imus and his shrew wife gave the money to cancer research or something. But they wont ever do that because it’s really all about them and their egos. I never understood why anybody should pay any attention to what Mrs. Imus says anyway. Other than marrying a rich old man, what is she? She’s p’whipped Imus into a unfunny shell and rides his coattails and then she goes around pushing her causes like she’s some kind of world class expert in whatever. I also think it’s childish of Imus to fight criticisms by saying something like “they hate kids with cancer.” Childish but typical.

Posted by Elsie Tract on March 26, 2005 at 03:39 AM | #

According to a news report by CBS News which said that the investigation by Attorney General Spitzer of Don Imus and the Imus Ranch was due in part to an anonymous letter he received which stated that he (The Attorney General) should look into Imus’ ranch. Sounds to me like either that douche bag Howard Stern or one of his douche bag cronies is making up #### about Imus because they are just plain jealous of Imus, Stern was never as good as Imus. If the person was not Howard Stern or one his cronies then what does the writer of that letter have to fear? If he feels that Imus did something wrong then he should write a letter to the Attorney General but DON’T BE SUCH A PUSSY and not sign it otherwise how can we take such things serious and Imus is right when he said he and his wife Deirdre own a Penthouse in Manhattan as well as a home in Westport, Connecticut so why the hell would he need to vacation in New Mexico especially when he has to take pills when he is in New Mexico due to his allergies. There is no reason that he would use the New Mexico ranch except for the children it was intended for.

Posted by Irwin P. Freely on March 26, 2005 at 10:35 AM | #

Is it the water or just good ol’fashion birds of a feather flockin together that keeps your charming sea-coast village so well-stocked with corporate crooks? Poor ol’ Martha languishing at her NY manse and the I-scam raging from his “charity” baronage in the midst of the New Mexico banditos—who’s takin up the slack back home? No, we don’t need to know. Could be a good occaision for a big-time fa-de-do when they get back to town. What might be good to know though is that Robert Frank’s WSJ article about the I-scam is still on-line at AZCentral.com or just google don imus for the hips on the rip. If you’re able to handle some gut-wrenching facts then take a look at the report on the “Imus Ranch” you can get at http://www.guidestar.org. (thanks again to robert smith) Something makes me wonder why a tax-exempt “charity” has such an inbred Board of Directors: Imus, his wife and brother, and the partners in the accounting firm that handles the I-scam’s tax affairs. Somebody please tell me that the accountants on the Board aren’t the same receiving some of the $200,000 reported spent for legal/accounting services. No doubt the I-scam will continue his slash and burn, best defense is a vicious offense tactic like the cornered weasel that he is, and no doubt he will trot out all the pols and talking heads that owe him some kind of hypocritical praise for all the hype he’s put on their agendas but keep in mind that perhaps the I-scam doth protest too much and that “patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

Posted by mike on March 27, 2005 at 03:29 AM | #

Who said his beachside place is worth 30M anyway? Perhaps he should wear a smaller hat.

Posted by mary ann on March 28, 2005 at 12:04 AM | #

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