Third District Court Smack-Down
Brooke Adams posted about the hearing that took place in the Third District Court in Utah regarding the UEP Trust:
Third District Judge Denise Lindberg gave the FLDS until Monday to make a $192,600 payment in past due occupancy fees, representing $100 monthly payments owed for the first three months of the year. The second half is due on June 15. If the sect fails to make the payment, she will immediately set a hearing on the proposed sale of Berry Knoll Farm.
Lindberg set a deadline of June 15 to submit any settlement agreement reached. Any one who wants to — any one — will then have until July 1 to comment on the deal in writing.
She said the negotiations must include participation of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs who have sued the trust.
Bill Richards, representing the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, said there is no deal currently proposed that his office would sign off on.
Jeff Shields, attorney for court-appointed fiduciary Bruce R. Wisan, said Wisan and six of his board members also oppose the current deal being passed around.
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said he still thinks some of the parties can reach consensus and if they don’t the trust faces years of litigation.
Lindberg asked why there was a need to revamp the process she set up for vetting property claims.
Tim Bodily, of the Utah Attorney General’s Office, said that the main objective is ensuring there is a process in which an independent, fair panel can distribute homes to claimants that are entitled to them, if they want deeds. He said the FLDS and “some others” don’t believe the current advisory board is an independent, impartial body.
Lindberg’s response: “At no point have I seen anybody coming forward, saying ‘Alright, court, you made that offer, you put that on the record, so here’s who we want at that table.”
Ken Okazaki, an attorney for the FLDS, pointed out a couple names had been put forward last summer but “that didn’t work out very well.”
Lindberg said she might be willing to reconsider the board’s make up. But she is not willing to wait indefinitely for a settlement.
“While I am willing to give the parties a few more days, that is all I am willing to give the parties for purposes of reaching some sort of agreement,” she said. “If in fact the parties are, as some represent, close to a proposal then finalize it and bring it before me on the record. And then everybody will have the opportunity on the record to file any objections there may be. I am not prepared to let this matter just languish further.”
Willie Jessop, FLDS spokesman, reached later, said the sect was willing to pay the money owed but wanted it to be used to settle the case rather than to continue the “war” and in the eviction of members from trust land.
It sounds like the Court followed the law and expected the FLDS to follow the orders of the Court. This is an outstanding result.