Warren Jeffs to face another legal battle

The Spectrum, Utah/October 11, 2006
By Patrice St. Germain

St. George -- In addition to facing charges in criminal cases in Washington County and Mohave County, Ariz., and several civil cases, Warren Jeffs has another legal battle before him.

Jeffs, along with several other former trustees of the United Effort Plan, the financial arm of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has been served with a complaint by Jeffrey Shields, attorney for Bruce Wisan, the court-appointed special fiduciary assigned to oversight of the UEP trust.

The complaint alleges that Jeffs, along with Truman I. Barlow, Leroy S. Jeffs, James K. Zitting and William E. Jessop, also known as William E. Timpson, and the corporation of the president of the FLDS Church, the corporation of the presiding bishop of the FLDS Church and the FLDS Church misappropriated property intended for the trust. Documents filed in 3rd District Court allege that throughout the years, hundreds of people donated money, property and services to the trust and that the trustees received donations intended for the trust that were not placed in the trust.

"There may be another link between other properties and names of the suspended trustees," Shields said.

Other properties could be property purchased by FLDS members in Mancos, Colo.; El Dorado, Texas; and Pringle, S.D. but Shields said tracing and proving that the other properties were purchased with monies intended for the trust would be difficult.

"I would like to see some IRS auditors come in," Shields said.

Also mentioned in the complaint was property in Apple Valley that was transferred out of the name of the trust to Aspen Management. It was valued at $4 million, along with real property and a building used by Western Precision valued in excess of $1.86 million.

The value of the UEP trust is estimated to be about $100 million.

Shields said the lawsuit against Warren Jeffs and the other trustees was filed in the spring, although a summons was served on Warren Jeffs a few weeks ago. Other trustees were served through a notification in the paper.

Wisan was in 3rd District Court Tuesday on other issues with the UEP trust and said following some technical corrections, he expected Judge Denise Lindberg to sign the trust reformation within the next few weeks.

Wisan also said properties in the twin cities of Hildale and Colorado City, where most of Jeffs' followers live, have been surveyed.

Mohave County has approved the plat maps and Wisan said a representative from the surveying company will present plat maps to the Hildale City Council next week for approval.

If the council does not approve the plat maps, Wisan said he plans to sue the city.

It won't be the first time Wisan sued the city. Previously, Wisan, through his attorney, tried to obtain municipal records, which the city refused to release. The city lost its case, Wisan said.

Roger Hoole, a Salt Lake City attorney representing several people in civil cases against Warren Jeffs, was also in Lindberg's courtroom Tuesday.

Hoole is representing young men driven from Hildale and Colorado City along with Brent Jeffs, the nephew of the self-proclaimed prophet of the FLDS church, who has filed molestation charges against Jeffs, and a woman only identified as M.J. in a case dealing with underage marriage and sexual battery.

Hoole could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon. However, Sam Brower, a private investigator working for Hoole, said M.J. is the woman identified as Jane Doe IV in the Washington County criminal case against Jeffs.

Hoole also mentioned a young man who was kicked out of the community who recently ran into his father.

"His father asked why he never called and the man replied that he was told never to call again," Wisan said, recounting the story. "His father replied, 'Times are changing, stay in touch.'"

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