SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A Colorado City, Ariz., family feuding with the leaders of a fundamentalist polygamous sect had their electricity and water service shut off Saturday after the Hildale City Council dubbed them ”squatters.”
Led by the reclusive Warren Jeffs, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints owns most of the land in Colorado City and Hildale, Utah, and considers followers who build and live there tenants-at-will.
Ross and Lori Chatwin were excommunicated from the FLDS church two years ago, but like others had fought and won the legal right to stay in the residence, unless the church bought them out.
But utility services for the home were listed in Ross Chatwin’s brother’s name and during the past 14 months the two Chatwin families have lived together.
Steven Chatwin, and his family moved out abruptly three weeks ago, and he asked city to shut off the utilities.
Ross and Lori Chatwin tried to take over the services, but were told the acting property owner needed to OK their application.
That person, William Timpson Jessop, the presiding bishop of the FLDS church refused.
With the help of an attorney and Hildale mayor David Zitting, the Chatwins had managed to get the services extended, but their time ran out on Friday.
At an emergency city council meeting Saturday, Zitting said Jessop considered the Chatwins ”squatters.”
City councilmembers then voted to immediately shut off the utility service.
The shutdown lasted just an hour.
Utility service workers restored the service after calls on the advice of the city’s attorney.