SALT LAKE CITY – Third District Court Judge Denise Lindberg has ordered the office of Utah’s Attorney General to pay $4.7 million in past-due fees to the trustee handling the United Effort Plan Trust, formed in 1942 by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The trust, once controlled by Warren Jeffs, allows followers of the sect to share in the assets which total more than $110 million.
Bruce R. Wisan has been acting as fiduciary on behalf of the FLDS trust which holds most of the property in the polygamist settlements of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona and has received very little of what he and other professionals are owed for their services since 2008.
The Utah Attorney General’s office argued that Wisan’s request for payment violated a temporary stay on the trust.The matter is currently before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Lindberg ordered the state to pay the bill until the trust can reimburse the costs.
Judge Lindberg maintains if the bills aren’t paid, the assets of the trust could be left unprotected. She wrote in her ruling, “The trust now faces the real and financial threat that it will be left without someone to manage it, attorneys to defend it or other professional assistance.”
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff disagrees with the ruling, and does not believe the state of Utah should bear the cost. He maintains the assets of the trust are not at risk and cannot be touched until it is determined who has rightful control.
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Source: Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, Daylife