Court Says Utah Must Pay Millions to Polygamist Trust Fund
Sunday, August 12, 2012
FLDS temple at the YFZ Ranch near Eldorado, Texas (photo-Wikipedia)
The state of Utah is on the hook to pay more than $5 million to those running a multi-million dollar trust for polygamists.
Members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lost control of their $110 million trust to the state of Utah in 2005 after the group’s leader, Warren Jeffs, was accused of raping underage girls. (Jeffs is now serving a life sentence.)
Accountant Bruce Wisan was then appointed by a probate court to administer the group’s United Effort Plan Trust. But Wisan and others working for him have gone unpaid ever since, while members of the sect have fought in court to regain control of their trust fund.
Wisan threatened to sell trust properties in order to get paid, prompting the sect to file a lawsuit. The matter eventually wound up before the Utah Supreme Court, which ruled Utah officials must pay the $5.7 million owed to the administrator. The payment issue is complicated by the fact that it might have been unconstitutional for Utah to take over the trust in the first place, and that the trust will eventually have to reimburse the state for its court-appointed administrators.
In the meantime, the Utah legislature will have to appropriate the funds, which may require a special legislative session.
To Learn More:
Head of Polygamist Trust Can Get $5M From Utah (by Tim Hull, Courthouse News)
A.G. Must Pay $5.7M to FLDS Trust Managers, High Court Rules (by Emiley Morgan, Deseret News)
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