Judge: Utah must make Jeffs trust payments

Dec. 5, 2011 at 5:27 PM   |   Comments

SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- A state judge, in a decision made public Monday, again ruled Utah has to pay more than $5 million to the administrator of a polygamous sect's property trust.

District Court Judge Denise Lindberg denied a motion from the Utah Attorney General's Office to reconsider her Aug. 1 decision that the state cover the unpaid trust expenses that have accumulated since 2008, the last time the trust administrator, contractors or attorneys were fully paid, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

She noted the court had placed a lien on trust property requiring the trust to eventually repay whatever money the state pays out.

The newspaper said Attorney General Mark Shurtleff had argued taxpayers should not be responsible for the payments, saying the state acted in good faith when it took over the trust in 2005 amid allegations of mismanagement by Warren Jeffs-led sect trustees.

The report said Shurtleff's office could not be immediately reached for comment on whether it would appeal.

The trust is worth about $110 million. The Tribune said the trust holds nearly all the land, homes and businesses in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints home base of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah.

The final disposition of the trust is now in federal court.

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