Jeffs Likely Funded in Large Part by Nevada Government Projects

KSL News, Salt Lake City/May 26, 2006
By John Hollenhorst

"The total of which is over 7.5 million dollars. That's over a two year period."

That's big money, even in Las Vegas, and some of it may be going to fugitive polygamist leader Warren Jeffs. There are new revelations today that help explain where the money comes from that fuels Jeffs' Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints. A sizeable chunk may be coming from public agencies in Las Vegas.

A wetlands revegetation project, a walking trail, a historic trail -- these are among numerous projects of JNJ Construction under contract to various Las Vegas area governments. JNJ is a Utah company closely linked to fugitive polygamist Warren Jeffs. The Las Vegas Valley Water District alone granted JNJ nine contracts through competitive bidding in the last two years.

Bronson Mack, Las Vegas Valley Water District: "Of nine contracts, JNJ was the lowest and responsible bidder."

We couldn't find any JNJ officials to talk to and closed gates kept us a long way from JNJ workers, but according to the Las Vegas Sun, a JNJ official admitted ties to Jeffs, and Utah investigators confirmed it.

Bobby Shelton, Clark County Public Works: "They're doing a very good job. They're on time and that's what we'd like to see as a contractor."

It's clear that the construction boom in Las Vegas has been a big benefit to the group. Those contracts are worth millions. Clark County contracts add up to 3-quarters of a million, the city of Las Vegas a third of a million, the water district 7.5 million.

Investigators say much of the money from FLDS companies goes to Jeffs through tithing and special assessments of FLDS Members. Elsewhere, FLDS companies have been accused of using child labor so they can underbid competitors.

Bronson Mack, Las Vegas Valley Water District: "We've been out on numerous jobsites, we've met with the contractor, we've met with their labor force. I've seen no indication that they're using anyone under the age."

As long as they bid low and follow the rules, officials say JNJ could win more contracts in the future.

We also learned of at least one public contract to JNJ here in Utah. In 2004, UDOT paid the company just over a quarter of a million dollars for culvert repairs in southern Utah.

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