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Friday, July 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Utah Wins A New Round in $100M Land Dispute

(CN) - The 10th Circuit on Wednesday indefinitely stayed a federal judge's order that would return control of a $110 million trust to a polygamist sect.

The Denver-based federal appeals court granted a motion by Judge Denise Lindberg, of Utah's Third District Court, to put a preliminary injunction order filed by U.S. District Judge Dee Benson on hold "until the stay is dissolved by this court." Benson presides in the U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.

Benson's order, once implemented, gives control of the trust, including financial and property records and all of the trust's assets, to the Corporation of the President of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The trust property includes more than 700 houses, farms, dairies and other businesses on land in two communities along the Arizona-Utah border. Utah had intervened in the trust amid claims of mismanagement stemming from the alleged crimes of Warren Jeffs, the church's incarcerated leader.

In recent years, several entities have sued the trust as an accomplice to Jeffs, who is now facing charges of bigamy and sexual assault in Texas after successfully vacating an earlier rape conviction in Utah.

Earlier this month, the 10th Circuit stayed Benson's order.

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