Utah SITLA Corruption
School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA)
Starting in 1785, the Founding Fathers created a plan whereby territories were granted land before statehood to support schools. In 1894, shortly before Utah became a state, Congress created a land trust including one-ninth of the land of the state to support our public schools. Today, schools still have 3.3 million acres scattered around the state. If these scattered parcels were combined, it would make a parcel of land about the size of the state of Connecticut. These lands are held by the state as trustee for our public schools, which are the beneficiaries (or those that benefit from the proceeds from the trust). The lands are managed by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA). All net revenue is saved in the permanent State School Fund, which is now over $1 billion. Since 1995, when SITLA was created by the legislature, net revenue has increased from $15 million to about $80 million annually through prudent and profitable management of the lands.
Since the Utah State Trust Lands inception in the early 1990s, they have been plagued by accusations of corruption, collusion, illegal bonuses, and generally not acting in the best interests of the State of Utah.
“SITLA has no mandate to act in the best interest of the people of Utah. We don’t answer to the people of Utah. We do what is most profitable for SITLA.” John Andrews, SITLA Chief Legal Counsel