Dave Berry made offer, UW Foundation declined to comment

By WyoFile editor-in-chief
— December 23, 2014

Upon receipt of Donal O’Toole’s unsolicited draft essay, UW Foundation intent on cashing-in gift of Y Cross ranch, WyoFile sought to fact-check several points within the essay. In an effort to identify who made an offer to purchase the Y Cross Ranch in 2009, WyoFile contacted Dave Berry, who owns properties bordering the northern portion of the Y Cross.

Berry told WyoFile that it was he who’d made an offer to buy the Y Cross ranch, and that he’d done so without any outside investors or partners.

“I was asked by the (University of Wyoming) Foundation for what it was worth, so instead of giving a market analysis I gave them an offer,” Berry told WyoFile.

He did not disclose the amount he offered.

Berry’s offer came at a time when the Amy Davis estate attempted to buy out UW Foundation’s joint ownership of the ranch so it could shift all ownership to the Colorado State University Foundation. Berry’s offer is thought to have derailed the Davis estate’s pending deal.

Since, the future of the Y Cross ranch, still jointly held by the UW Foundation and CSU Foundation, has been in limbo. Among insiders, it is thought that the Davis estate is still trying to either prevent the sale of the ranch or ensure that if a sale occurs, it can still be used as originally intended by Amy Davis when she made the donation — that the universities utilize the ranch as an asset for research and agricultural teaching programs.

Berry told WyoFile that although he has an interest in the Y Cross property as it relates to his neighboring ranch to the north, he is no longer interested in acquiring the property. Still, Berry said he believes it’s in all stakeholders’ interests to sell the property.

“They (the university foundations) have a $20 million asset there that does absolutely nothing for them,” Berry said, insisting that the financial viability of the ranch is uncertain.

Berry said he and several neighboring landowners have unsettled disputes with the Y Cross ranch, including questions regarding fencing, road access, water rights and other contentious points.

WyoFile sought to obtain comments and records from the UW Foundation regarding the donation and continued management of the Y Cross asset. The foundation declined to respond to all inquiries from WyoFile, stating via its spokesperson, “The University of Wyoming Foundation, along with Colorado State University Research Foundation (CSURF), continue their ownership and operation of the Y Cross Ranch per the original gift agreement. At this time there is nothing to report.”

At the time of this publication, a Colorado broker who had once represented the sale of the Y Cross ranch told WyoFile that the property is not currently on the market.

— Dustin Bleizeffer is WyoFile editor-in-chief. Contact him at (307) 267-3327 or email dustin@wyofile.com. Follow Dustin on Twitter at @DBleizeffer

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Dustin Bleizeffer is a Report for America Corps member covering energy and climate at WyoFile. He has worked as a coal miner, an oilfield mechanic, and for 25 years as a statewide reporter and editor primarily...

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