UEP Trust and State used as Unwitting Tools
For Immediate Release Contact: Val Oveson
March 20, 2010 (801) 718-1400
UEP Trust and State Used as Unwitting Tools
FLDS Church members are good people and deserve better
(Salt Lake City, UT) – The United Effort Plan (UEP) Trust has until Monday, March 22, 2010, to file a response to yet another motion filed by the FLDS leaders to prevent the Court from considering documents created by Warren Jeffs while he was running from the law or secretly created while he was in prison. For nearly five years there has been a standing court order to produce Trust-related documents, and for the past five years the FLDS leadership and former UEP trustees have ignored the Court’s order and refused to turn over requested material.
The documents reveal that Warren Jeffs ordered his followers to intentionally violate laws prohibiting underage marriage for the purpose of forcing the government to take control of the United Effort Plan Trust that owns the vast majority of land in Utah and Arizona where many FLDS members live. In a July 24, 2004, dictation, Warren Jeffs defiantly declared that he will “do more marriages of very young girls [in order to] make the government rage and come against us stronger than ever . . .”
Later that year, Jeffs ordered his followers not to defend lawsuits filed against the Trust in order to “bring the government down upon us quickly. Even put the United Effort Plan Trust lands under government control.” Jeffs even predicted that after the government seized control of the Trust “the courts will offer our people to make claims on UEP lands and houses.” He then warns that “if anybody steps forth to claim those lands and houses that belong to the Lord, they are thieves and they will lose Priesthood . . . and be apostate.”
“These documents unquestionably prove that Warren Jeffs taunted the government into taking control of theoUEP Trust in order to fulfill his ‘prophecy’ that the FLDS people will be driven from Hildale and Colorado City to the lands of refuge in Texas,” said Val Oveson, spokesperson for the Special Fiduciary of the UEP Trust. “Now that Texas authorities have convicted four FLDS men for sexual crimes against children and are prosecuting several others, Jeffs wants his followers out of Texas and is attempting to regain control over UEP Trust lands by falsely accusing the government of wrongfully seizing the very UEP property that he ordered his followers to abandon in 2006.”
Viewed in the full context, these documents go to the very heart of the issue of who is directing the FLDS leaders to oppose the Trust and the Courts. It appears that the real reason FLDS leaders are objecting to the Court considering these documents is that they reveal their repeated and calculated attempts to conceal or destroy relevant information, and to frustrate the Court’s orders. Additionally, the documents show the calculated tactics to force the Trust into spending millions of dollars in legal fees, all aimed at regaining control of the UEP Trust based on false arguments alleging that the Fiduciary and the Court are enemies of the FLDS people, when all of the Court’s and the Fiduciary’s efforts have been geared towards preserving Trust assets and protecting the homes of the Trust’s beneficiaries, FLDS and otherwise.
“Efforts to hide these documents are an outrage,” said Oveson. “As a former government official, I am deeply concerned that criminals like Jeffs are using false claims of religious persecution to perpetrate and hide unspeakable crimes against children. Every legislator, law enforcement official and concerned citizen of this state should demand that these documents be disclosed and studied to determine what steps should be taken to prevent such crimes in the future. These documents unquestionably confirm that the Utah and Arizona Attorneys General acted properly in asking the Court to take control of the UEP Trust and enforce the rule of law.”
“It is very important to distinguish that these efforts stem from the FLDS Leaders, not the members,” said Jeffrey Shields, attorney for the UEP Trust Fiduciary. “We are willing to settle our differences with FLDS leaders, but only within the limits of the law and only to the benefit of the individuals who may rightfully receive the property of the Trust.”
The UEP Trust plans to respond to the memorandum on Monday March 22, 2010. For more information, please contact Val Oveson at (801) 718-1400 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Oveson is a CPA, who works with Wisan and is serving as spokesperson for the Special Fiduciary.
In 2005, at the request of Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, Third District Court Judge, Denise Lindberg, reorganized the United Effort Plan Trust when Warren Jeffs and the FLDS leaders failed to adequately run the Trust. Jeffs had abandoned the Trust and was alleged to be diverting assets for personal purposes. Bruce Wisan was appointed as Special Fiduciary by Judge Lindberg, at the recommendation of Attorney General Shurtleff, to fill the vacancy left by Warren Jeffs and the other Trustees who defaulted on notices to appear before the Judge. Wisan was charged with the responsibility to: 1) defend the Trust, and 2) inventory the assets. As the situation unfolded in 2005, the Judge issued a series of orders that escalated Wisan’s authority to include the management the day to day affairs of the Trust.