Shops accused of discriminating against ex-FLDS settle lawsuit

Deseret Morning News, Utah/December 17, 2007

Arizona authorities have settled a lawsuit against a pair of Colorado City businesses accused of discriminating against people who are not members of the Fundamentalist LDS Church.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office announced Monday that a settlement had been reached with the Vermillion Candy Shoppe and Big Dan's Drive Thru. Under the terms of the settlement, both businesses do not admit any wrongdoing, but a pair of judges are requiring them to:

  • Refrain from discriminating against anyone who does not belong to the FLDS faith or is considered an "apostate."
  • Adopt a non-discrimination policy that will be provided to all present and future employees.
  • Have employees attend training on non-discrimination policies and Arizona's Civil Rights Act.
  • Submit reports to Arizona authorities for five years on any policy violations and refusal to serve or admit anyone to the restaurants.

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Vermillion Candy Shoppe and Big Dan's Drive Thru earlier this year after ex-FLDS members Isaac Wyler, Andrew Chatwin and his wife, Michelle Chatwin, were refused service.

Other ex-FLDS members also reported being denied service.

Wyler was excommunicated from the FLDS Church by Warren Jeffs, who is now serving prison time for performing a child-bride marriage. Wyler and Chatwin both have worked for the court-appointed special fiduciary of the FLDS Church's holdings arm, the United Effort Plan Trust. The trust was taken over by the courts after allegations surfaced that Jeffs and other top FLDS officials had mismanaged it.

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