Court orders evacuation of the Rev. Moon's Brazilian ranch

Associated Press/January 21, 1999

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil -- A Brazilian court has barred hundreds of people from a ranch serving as the center of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Latin American operations, charging its sewage pollutes surrounding wetlands.

Police said Thursday that the ranch -- a 74,000-acre complex with a school, research center, meeting house and dining hall -- must be evacuated until a sewage treatment plant on the site is complete.

City officials in Jardim, about 800 miles northwest of Rio de Janiero, said the 74,000-acre New Hope Ranch is dumping untreated sewage into two rivers in Mato Grosso do Sul state.

Cesar Zaduski, manager of the New Hope Ranch, admitted there is some sewage runoff but said the pollution charge was unfair. He said the ranch will finish building a sewage treatment plant within a month.

"The city of Jardim is 52 years old and has 20,000 residents but no sewage plant," he said. "The farm is 3 years old, has 800 people and we will be finishing our plant in 30 days."

The ranch belongs to Moon's Association of Families for Unification and World Peace, formerly known as the Unification Church. The 78-year-old Moon heads a multibillion-dollar international business empire.

Zaduski says Moon plans to develop education, agribusiness and tourism in 33 cities and towns within a 125-mile radius of the ranch.

Two decades ago, Brazilians stoned Moon's temples in major cities amid a wave of anti-Moon hysteria. Moon discovered the Jardim region on a fishing trip in 1994 and has spent millions developing sites in sparsely populated Mato Grosso do Sul, which borders Bolivia and Paraguay.

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