Utah judge hands control of trust to FLDS leaders

Associated Press/April 8, 2011

A federal judge in Utah has handed control of a communal land trust back to the leaders of Warren Jeffs' polygamous church.

In a temporary order signed Thursday, U.S. District Judge Dee Benson said church leaders, not the state of Utah, should manage the more than $110 million in assets held by the United Effort Plan Trust.

The trust holds property in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., where most members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints live.

Utah's courts took control of the trust in 2005 amid allegations of mismanagement.

In February, Benson ruled that Utah's actions amounted to a government takeover that violated the religious rights of the FLDS.

An appeal has been filed with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

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