Lawyer Petitions for Control of Financial Empire

KSL TV News/February 17, 2005
By John Hollenhorst

A legal knot is tightening around the nation's most powerful polygamist leader. In an unprecedented move late Thursday a lawyer petitioned a judge to take charge of the financial empire controlled by Warren Jeffs.

Jeffs is the secretive leader of the polygamy group based in Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona. Most of the community's homes, property and financial assets are held in a trust that Jeffs controls. It's reportedly worth tens of millions of dollars.

Seven young men who were kicked out are suing Jeffs for racketeering and sexual abuse. Their lawyers have tentative backing from Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. They want the court to appoint new managers for the financial assets.

Roger Hoole, Attorney for Plaintiffs: "And so initially we want to make sure the trust is under good management and the trust is not being used as a tool to kick young men out of their homes."

Jeffs has apparently moved his headquarters to a remote area of Texas where followers are building a large temple.

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