Judge reorganizes $100 million trust for polygamists
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ A Utah state judge formalized the state's takeover Thursday of a $100 million community trust held for a group of polygamists in the border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.
Third District Judge Denise Lindberg issued an order permanently removing the sect's jailed leader, Warren Jeffs, and five others as trustees; previously she had suspended the trustees.
Lindberg ordered the men to provide a full accounting of the trust's assets and prohibited anyone from liquidating any of the property or real estate belonging to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The judge said she was keeping the power to appoint a new board of trustees, with the court-appointed fiduciary, Bruce Wisan, keeping control of the trust in the meantime.
Lindberg's six-page order formalized arrangements made since June 2005, when Jeffs and the others lost control of a trust established by church leaders in the late 1940s over allegations of mismanagement.
The United Effort Plan Trust holds property and homes in both communities and some land in Bountiful, British Columbia.
Lindberg put the trust in Wisan's care after state attorneys claimed some assets were being mismanaged or liquidated, possibly to keep Jeffs on the run.
The fugitive was arrested two months ago and is in jail in Washington County on charges related to the marriage of an underage girl to an older man. Jeffs, 50, faces similar charges in Arizona.
Lindberg issued her order at the agreement of Wisan, people with an interest in the trust and the attorneys general of Utah and Arizona.
Wisan and Jeffs' criminal defense lawyer, Walter F. Bugden Jr., didn't immediately return messages left Thursday by The Associated Press.