Ted Rollins, CEO of Campus Crest Communities, smoked marijuana at a party last summer to celebrate approval of his student-housing complex under The Grove banner at Colorado State University.
Rollins smoked the illegal drug, and encouraged underaged individuals to join in, at a party hosted by a woman named Josie Plaut in Fort Collins, Colorado. Sherry Carroll Rollins, Ted's ex wife and a Birmingham resident, makes the revelations in the second installment of a videotaped interview with Legal Schnauzer. (See the interview at the end of this post.)
How does Sherry Rollins know about the illegal drug activity? Sarah Rollins, her daughter with Ted Rollins, was along for the trip, at her father's insistence. Sarah Rollins, then 17, was one of several teens who made the trip to Fort Collins to help sell The Grove project to city officials.
Sarah Rollins reported the marijuana smoking to her mother and admitted that she joined in the festivities, at the invitation of her father.
The project at Colorado State has been controversial and met stiff opposition for several reasons, Sherry Rollins reports. One, it is to be built on 27 acres next to a residential neighborhood. Also, citizens have raised concerns about noise, traffic, and environmental degradation.
The Fort Collins Planning and Zoning Commission rejected Campus Crest's first proposal. The company then brought IBE on board, and with Plaut's apparent support, a revised plan was approved last June. You can check out a transcript here of a marathon P & Z meeting that ended, in the wee hours of the morning, with approval of The Grove project.
Campus Crest now has 32 projects either completed or planned around the country, with one in the works for the University of Maine. The student newspaper there provides an excellent summary of controversies facing Campus Crest at various locations. One of those locations soon will be at Auburn University here in Alabama.
As for the situation at Colorado State, does IBE generally make it a practice to conduct business with developers who violate drug laws and encourage young people to do the same? Is IBE concerned about the message Ted Rollins' behavior sends to parents who might consider having children live at The Grove?
The answers to those questions remain unclear. I left voice messages with Josie Plaut and Brian Dunbar, director of the institute, seeking an interview about their role in approval of The Grove project. When those messages were not returned, I e-mailed them and again asked for an interview on a variety of subjects, including drug-related activities during Ted Rollins' visit to Fort Collins. In an e-mail reply that I received yesterday afternoon, Ms. Plaut stated:
The assertion that illegal drug use occurred at my home is completely false. Further, the assertion that there was a party at my home the night of the Planning and Zoning meeting is also completely false. I am respectfully declining to answer your list of questions.
Plaut went on to state that neither she nor Dunbar would be available for interviews. It should be noted that my questions did not assert that a party took place at Ms. Plaut's home the night of the Planning and Zoning meeting; after all, that meeting, according to public records, lasted well past midnight. The questions addressed a party that took place at Ms. Plaut's home sometime during Ted Rollins' stay in Fort Collins.
Is it possible that Ms. Plaut was not aware of drug activities taking place during an event at her home? Of course it is. Sherry Rollins, in a statement to us that was based on a first-hand account from her daughter, did not say that Ms. Plaut knew of the activity or participated in it.
We sent an e-mail to Ted Rollins, posing questions about his activities in Fort Collins. He has not responded.
This much seems clear:
* Neither Ms. Plaut nor Mr. Dunbar are in any hurry to answer questions about their activities connected to Ted Rollins and The Grove project at Colorado State;
* Ted Rollins got both a nice deal and a "Rocky Mountain High" while in Colorado.