The Colorado State University Oval and Administration Building in the summer
The Colorado State University Administration Building

Oral Presentation to Colorado State University Board of Governors

Oct 1st, 2015. 9AM  I am here speaking to you as many Todos Santos villagers send their children to school without water. Municipal water that is being diverted, without proof of permits, from them to fill a 400,000-liter water tank for Colorado State University’s Sustainable Learning Campus and Tres Santos beach resort. They are one in the same.

To gain an understanding regarding the CSU’s decision to proceed with an unsustainable campus in Todos Santos, documents were first requested to Pres. Tony Frank and other top executives. Over the last 2 years, they have been and continue to be unable to produce requested documents. Subsequently, a request under CORA was made. There is no obvious indication that the Board of Governors knows the truth of what is happening in Todos Santos under the management of CSU Executives and their partner Black Creek Capital/MIRA and their proposed resort & campus. I am here to ask the Board to read the hand out I brought obtained through CORA.

There are numerous issues, including: Water Rights, Human Rights, Environment Sustainability, IRS questions with CSURF’s practices, and the unethical signing of a contact that prevents CSU Faculty, Students, and Staff to speak against any violations their benefactor/partners are committing in an effort to create a mega beach resort.

CSU executives claim their involvement with Black Creek/MIRA is because of 4.3 million dollars “gift”. This gift came with strings. This gift was not enough. An email [obtained through CORA] shows VP of Operations, Amy Parsons ignoring Engineer, Keith Myers, warning of water issues. Instead she commented about how excited she is that Black Creek president, Jimmy Mulvihill, promised her even more money. In fact, it is understood that Mrs. Parsons has a meeting with real estate partners in San Francisco to discuss what more CSU can do to help market the unstainable Tres Santos beach resort and campus.

I respectfully request that the Board look at these CORA acquired documents and potential decide it is best for CSU to divest from the real estate investment company Black Creek/MIRA and its beach resort, Tres Santos. Presenter: Tamara Vega Haddad – tamara@vegahaddad.com

CSU – BOG – Presentation – 01 October 2015

TREssantos&CSU 2015-08-20 20.51.51





A Battle Over Scarce Water, Irreparable Environmental Damage, a Surrender of Academic Freedoms, and $1 Million in Colorado Taxpayer Dollars tarnishes CSU Sustainability Platform

 Todos Santos, BCS, Mexico– Denver-based developer, Black Creek, and its Mexican subsidiary MIRA, seduce and co-opt Colorado State University’s involvement to make the project appear sustainable and ecofriendly, naming their resort project – Tres Santos.

Academic Freedom Threatened by Conflicts of Interest

CSU’s outstanding sustainable agriculture program is bought and paid for by Black Creek/MIRA with land and buildings to set up a Mexican satellite campus. The contract includes a prohibition on publishing anything that might be critical of Tres Santos. Five CSU faculty members resign.

According to documents obtained under the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA), the CSU Trust and so called “gift” were set up through an irrevocable trust, with reversion rights, based in Monterrey, Mexico. The Trust’s only holdings are the CSU buildings and land. CSU has an ownership of less than 100 percent of the Trust, with Tres Santos holding the remaining percentage. Exact ownership percentages are blacked out in the documents obtained under CORA. The agreement brings into question the independence of professors, researchers, students and the entire CSU System.

“The waiver of professors’ and students’ freedom to say anything negative makes me conclude that some academic topics would be forbidden, including solid waste management or groundwater hydrology,” says Susan Mittlestadt, a Todos Santos resident and civil engineer with a twenty-year career in environmental remediation, and civil and criminal law enforcement.

$1 Million Dollars of Colorado Taxpayers’ Money At Stake

There has been a fanfare of publicity over Black Creek’s magnanimous $4.3 million gift to CSU, but a true gift is the voluntary transfer of property or funds to another without conditions attached. Some of the “gift” conditions imposed on CSU by Tres Santos include:

  • CSU is required to allow Tres Santos to use the CSU name and trademarks in its marketing
  • CSU is required to identify its research papers with corporate branding determined with Tres Santos
  • CSU is obligated to conduct business classes targeted at enterprises within the Tres Santos Project

If CSU academics openly question anything about the development, the University could forfeit more than $1,000,000 of Colorado taxpayers’ funds that have been spent to date on the construction and opening of CSU’s Tres Santos Campus.

There is a clause in the Trust that spells out Events of Breach and defines it to include “any… [CSU] action that materially prejudices the brand or reputation of Tres Santos.” If that happens, the entire “gift of land and buildings” would revert to Tres Santos and CSU would be removed from the MIRA property. Colorado taxpayers would lose their entire “investment” in Mexico.

Lack of Water:

Tres Santos has built above the CSU campus a 120,000 gallon water tank for their needs, this tank holding one-third more water than the town’s own storage capacity. There are Todos Santos villagers who walk to town twice a week for water because they cannot get municipal water contracts. “Our goals are to benefit our own University students and faculty…” Writes CSU provost & Ex VP, Dr. Rick Miranda in a letter to outraged Todos Santos citizens.

CSU stood silent while their resort partners surreptitiously obtain three new contracts from the town’s municipal utility as well as a concession from CONAGUA, the Mexican Federal water authority.

CSU’s mission is to create a farm and to teach sustainable farming to a community that has been farming sustainability for over 250 years at a time of severe water shortage that has forced several organic farms to close, yet the Trust states that the farm is to be designed to improve the Tres Santos open-space landscape with that facility to be kept in bloom during peak tourist season.

CSU ignores Todos Santos organic farmers who have cultivated rich alluvial valleys for generations, CSU proposes to build their ‘research farm’ by trucking hundreds of tons of compost and topsoil to the top of a rocky, barren, windswept plateau near the campus.

The MIRA falsely labeled gift to CSU tarnishes the University’s reputation as a first class research institution carrying out its land grant mission. It causes serious ethical violations through conflicts of interest and impingement of academic freedoms. It supports the developer’s profiteering at the expense of a three century-old community, its way of life, and its severely limited supply of water.

More information can be found at:



TS – CSU – Scan of January TS Municpal Water Supply Emails with Highlights


Report of CSU’s Conflict of Interests (pdf): CSU Conflicts of Interest 6June2015   Español Version:  CSU evade Conflicto de Intereses

….There never was a gift from Tres Santos to Colorado State University; rather it boils down to a business arrangement. The land is owned by a trust created in Monterrey, Mexico and the sole assets of that Trust are the CSU land and buildings. CSU has an ownership interest of less than 100% in the Trust with Tres Santos owning the remainder percentages. (The amounts were blacked out, along with any claim of transparency!)

There is a clause in the Trust that spells out Events of Breach providing that if CSU does not cure certain defined events within 30 days, then all of the so-called “gift of land and buildings” reverts to Tres Santos and CSU is removed from the MIRA property. A particular Event of Breach is: “any… [CSU] action that materially prejudices the brand or reputation of Tres Santos.”

Thus, CSU is at risk and would have to seriously consider the consequences of taking the described hypothetical action allowing its professors to publish findings that are contrary to the development scale of Tres Santos. This puts a black cloud over CSU and questions the integrity of professors, researchers, students and the entire CSU System — which is clearly an affront to Academic Freedom (teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results). Even if CSU allowed the report to be issued, the inherent Conflict of Interest taints the work product. CSU’s Ethics website states: “A conflict of interest (COI) occurs when an individual or organization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in the other.” In addition to risking the loss of the land and buildings being provided by Tres Santos, CSU also risks losing over $1,000,000 (to date) of its Colorado taxpayers’ monies put into the startup, costs of an administration building and other assessed costs for the CSU Tres Santos Campus.

As for the fanfare of publicity about the magnanimous gift by Black Creek to CSU valued at $4.3 million, it just isn’t so. A gift is the voluntary transfer of property or funds to another without receiving anything of value in return and without conditions attached. Besides not being able to protect and exercise its Academic Freedom, other conditions imposed by Tres Santos include CSU being required to allow Tres Santos to use the CSU name and trademarks in its marketing; CSU being required to identify its research papers with the branding determined with Tres Santos; CSU’s Research Farm is to be designed to improve the Tres Santos open-space landscape with that facility to be kept in bloom during peak tourist season; CSU is to conduct business classes targeted to those businesses within the Tres Santos Project; and CSU programming is to be offered at discounted prices to Tres Santos guests and residents.

 As a local article said about Tres Santos, “Their entire operation is sort of undercover and deceptive” and that Tres Santos “has had the good sense to pussy foot into Todos Santos in stealth mode.”

This sham of a gift — and the tarnishing of CSU’s reputation as a first class research institution carrying out its ‘land grant mission’ — causes serious ethical violations through conflicts of interest and impingement of academic freedoms, all to allow a developer to make a buck at the expense of an existing community, its way of life, and its limited supply of water. It is unconscionable.



Colorado State University (“CSU”) through related organizations entered into a formal agreement with Tres Santos.  In exchange for land and buildings, CSU is committed to performing various commercially beneficial obligations to Tres Santos. Yet, the formation documents of the CSU Mexican subsidiary have a prohibition against the pursuit of any commercial purposes with the corporate activities limited to altruistic community benefit.

One has to wonder based on the information made public to date whether CSURF-Mex, the Mexican subsidiary of CSU, is in violation of its Mexican non profit and tax-exempt status by committing to commercial obligations with Tres Santos.

CSU does not allow for accreditation for Mexican Students, CSU students only. Further information is available in the attached documents: “Tres Santos & Colorado State University Narrative” and Open letter regarding CSU campus inTodos Santos below:

CSU Report findings

TS – CSU Narrative & Excerpts – 28 April 15 

and also see CSU’s newspaper article: CSU’s criticized Article


Exhibit L to Trust Agr_Conceptual Town Farm Planning Unit

Information to share regarding the truth behind the impact of Colorado State University opening a research campus in Todos Santos, Baja California Sur.

Though the project could be beneficial to Colorado State students, there are many negative social, economic, and racial issues that CSU administration is overlooking in pursuing this campus. The land and buildings for the campus were donated by a large-scale development company called MIRA, which is creating a massive housing development in the small town of Todos Santos for wealthy United States and Canadian citizens. The development threatens an endangered species, the local fishing economy, and the well-being of many community members. It also promotes international racism and classism, as wealthy citizens will be purchasing homes CSU will be a part of this development.

As students, faculty, and staff of an institution of higher education, there is a responsibility to advocate for international human rights and not place our own interests above the well-being of those in other countries.



These are the first CSU spec houses and/or possibly the ‘farm-to-table’ setting. No windows. No solar. Not green!

  • Note that the huge Pila water storage that CSU & MIRA claim is for irrigation water, on the manhole cover it says SAPA (Municipal Water) AGUA POTABLE..!
  • Pumping uphill to the driest rocky area of Todos Santos is not ecologically sound or sustainable. Putting a farm there is a waste of desert underground precious water that is not being replenished. It will take needed water from the local neighborhood’s who are already struggling… Is this your idea of your ecological sound methods or is it part of the slick Tres Santos PR that wants to help Blackcreek/Mira’s Real Estate development profits?
120,000 gallon  Water Storage
New Constrcution
Pumps to pull water uphill

________________________wCSU-TS 3x5

CSU’s Todos Santos Center Criticized by Mexican Residents  by Skyler Leonard June 18, 2014

A Colorado State University center under construction in a small Mexican coastal community is being scrutinized by community members because of the University’s connection with a developer planning a housing project that could triple the population of the small town.

Todos Santos, located on the Pacific side of the Baja peninsula, is a small town of 5,000 people. About 47 miles from Cabo San Lucas, the town is primarily a fishing village that also supports a sizable community of American expatriates.

MIRA, a housing developer based out of the Denver company Black Creek, is planning a large housing development called Tres Santos that could potentially triple the population of the city. Alongside the housing project, the company donated land to CSU. According to CSU Provost Rick Miranda, the donation agreement with MIRA gave CSU access to a few acres of land and buildings constructed by MIRA. In return, CSU will use the land for research, teaching and community outreach.

According to Miranda, MIRA has no control over what CSU plans and will operate separately from developers if they continue the housing project or not.
“We are going to be very independent whether they build anything or not,” Miranda said.

In an email addressed to CSU administration and the Collegian, Susana Mahieux, a co-founder of an environmental board and local, wrote on behalf of residents and raised many concerns about

the environmental and economic impacts of the housing development along with CSU’s involvement with the project.
“It is hard to understand how, through your participation, you can support this project, especially given that your course outline includes water conservation, sustainable development and general ecological balance. Tres Santos will negate every principle you propose to teach,” Mahieux wrote.

Leticia Maldonado, a CSU graduate and president of the CSU Latin American Students and Scholars Organization, was sent by CSU to Todos Santos to gather community input earlier this year. Maldonado said she was surprised by the negative feedback she received from the community and the involvement of MIRA. Maldonado left a meeting with the developers feeling disheartened by their plans.

“I was very disappointed by the type of language that was used,” Maldonado said. “It was clear that there was no cultural competence. I was the only woman of color in a room full of white people talking about the needs of this town and it was really concerning because it didn’t really seem like the people understood what the concerns of the town actually were.”

Along with meeting the housing developers, Maldonado also met with local researchers and professors from the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur, who were very critical of CSU and the school’s involvement with the potentially damaging housing project.

“There was clear opposition to the project. They said as an institution of higher education, ‘You should know better.’ These companies come and they exploit and extract resources from the town, especially water,” Maldonado said. “They said, ‘You are educators, too, why aren’t you taking this seriously?”
Even without the housing project, Todos Santos already faces severe water problems, according to John McNerney, a resident of

Todos Santos and member of the local group that sent the email to CSU administration.

“The idea that they are going to teach us about sustainability is kind of a joke,” McNerney said.

According to McNerney, Todos Santos receives an average rainfall of about 3 to 4 inches per year and most of the town’s drinking water comes from nearby mountain springs.
MIRA filed an environmental impact report that said they would use a certain amount of water per day. According to Maldonado, the amount is more than what Todos Santos uses in a week. Beyond water scarcity, Maldonado said the beachfront property could potentially affect marine ecosystems and block local fishermen’s access to the beaches.

“I don’t understand how our administration does not see this partnership as a clear contradiction of our institutional mission and values … we are a green university,” Maldonado said. “We want to be down there and research water and marine ecosystems and we have two researchers that are marine biologists and marine ecologists that are looking at us in our faces telling us, ‘This project is going to devastate our marine ecosystem.”

When Maldonado returned to CSU she wrote a report detailing her experience in Todos Santos. On May 9, 2014, Maldonado reported her concerns to the CSU Board of Governors.

According to Miranda, the University is aware of the concerns shared by Maldonado and the Todos Santos community.
“We hear the entire spectrum of commentary and opinion about the development there. Some people are very concerned about it for a variety of reasons … on the other end of the spectrum there are people who are wildly enthusiastic,” Miranda said.

According to Miranda, whenever CSU officials spoke about their missions and goals in the area, they received very warm feedback. However, Miranda does note the housing project is controversial. “There is no escape from the fact that the housing development is controversial,” Miranda said. “That’s not anything that we are trying to suppress or walk away from. We think the exact expertise CSU brings is going to be useful to the community and the housing development and more broadly to the region.”

The Collegian reached out to representatives from MIRA for comment, but they have not responded.

The CSU facility in Todos Santos is currently under development and is anticipated to finish in the next year.


Public comments about CSU in Todos Santos


  • Dear Colorado State University Students:  Your school is being used as a “Trojan Horse” to usher a wave of unsustainable growth into a small baja community. This Black Creek Capital Investment, would exploit the scarce water resources of the community for one …
  • ‪Michael So apparently CSU’s hands are clean (except for the smell of money)..?Perhaps they can study first hand the process of mega development and it’s relation to environmental degradation, loss of public resources and community stress.    ‪And this may be just the first wave of development. If Black Creek follows the formula they’ve used before it may not be long before Todos Santos has it’s very own Home Depot and Walmart.

‪LG  This is Black Creeks formula- though Mira they have done this before in Cancun and Monterrey. They come in buy everyone off get permits approved for HUGE developments. Start Phase 1 usually with some infrastructure, a small hotel, some shops and a couple hundred high end homes. THEN THEY SELL OFF TO THE HIGHEST bidder in pieces. Then when those people build the over 2,000+ homes THEY ARE NOT AT FAULT! THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

‪Colorado State University Todos Santos Center‪ Hi Micheal, thanks for your concern and dedication to Todos Santos. CSU is committed to studying and developing solutions that promote the preservation of the local resources, ecology and culture.  We’d like to hear more from you some time. Write me an email at drew.wilson@colostate.edu.

‪B D Students at CSU say we should be very careful about the “PR machine” and that Drew is not part of Conservation or really any academic department of the school, but more a “hired gun” to sell everyone on how wonderful CSU and the Tres Santos project will be for “the Todos Santos community.”

Exhibit I to Trust Agr_Research Farm Land

CSU – 2016 TS Courses (costs for students)