Lee Smith’s love of horses started in high school when he bought his first horse. This passion continued to grow, along with his involvement in horse breeding. Lee stood stallions and had three world champion stallions. Additionally, he had 40 broodmares and bred pleasure horses. He became the second all-time breeder of halter quarter horses nationally.
Lee combined his passion for horses with his desire to give back by making the largest gift in the history of the Equine Program in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
He has a long history of philanthropy at The Ohio State University. He is involved in OSUCC-James and participates in the annual Celebration for Life event to benefit The James Fund for Life. He also has donated horses to the university and supports the Wexner Center for the Arts.
Lee earned his juris doctor from the University of Dayton and began his legal career with the Ohio Attorney General’s office in 1978. He served as chief of the Workers’ Compensation Section from 1980 to 1985. In 1985, Lee founded Lee M. Smith & Associates, a law firm in Columbus, Ohio.
During his 40 years as a breeder and exhibitor of American quarter horses, Lee has represented the Ohio Quarter Horse Association and also served as a director for one term. He also served two terms on the Ohio Expo Commission and served as its chair for three years.
As Lee’s circumstances changed, he decided the time was right to sell his land and move closer to the city. During this time, he met Chris Delisio from Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Chris informed Lee about the benefits of a bargain sale, both for himself and the university.
A bargain sale is a simple agreement in which a donor sells real estate to Ohio State for less than the current value (subject to treasurer’s office’s approval). Ohio State sells the property and uses the proceeds of the sale to benefit the donor’s area or program of choice. The donor receives a check from Ohio State in the amount of the sale price and also may enjoy a federal income tax deduction with reduced estate taxes. If long-term appreciated assets are used (held for more than one year), the donor will incur tax on only part of the total gain in the asset.
Lee’s gift through the bargain sale will support equine facilities in partnership with the College of Veterinary Medicine at Finley Farms and the CFAES Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory.
“I was able to sell my property quickly and easily while also enjoying tax benefits,” said Lee. “Best of all, I feel good about helping the university and enhancing the facilities and services at the equine center.”
-- Delfina Delisle