FLDS cult leaders re-file lawsuit against state-appointed trust overseer

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Leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), want an $8.8 million judgment against its property trust set aside, claiming it was “based upon false, incomplete, and misleading evidence,” Courthouse News reports.

In 2005 Utah courts seized control of the United Effort Plan property trust amid concerns that Jeffs and other faith leaders had mismanaged its assets.

Ever since the UEP has remained the subject of ongoing legal battles.

In October 2006 a judge reformed the trust.

Two years later the FLDS filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, argueing that changes to the United Effort Plan Trust since a court takeover in 2005 have secularized it, violating their religious freedoms.

But in November last year a federal appeals court ruled that the sect had waited too long to challenge the court-ordered takeover, clearing the way for state authorities to break up the church trust and sell assets including homes, businesses and farms in two small towns.

Last February it became clear the the State of Utah wants to get rid of the fund, largely because it will likely cost the tax payers millions of dollars.

Then, this month, the Utah Supreme Court said that 3rd District Judge Denise Lindberg made an error when she secularized the polygamous church’s property trust.

Last Friday attorneys representing the FLDS, as well as the “Corporation of the Presiding Bishop” of the church and leaders including Warren Jeffs — the cult’s leader who is serving a life plus 20 years prison sentence.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports

Rodney Parker, an attorney representing the FLDS church and other plaintiffs, said Tuesday that the lawsuit was a re-filing of an earlier case. That case was filed in 2008 but was put on ice while attorneys worked on various other legal issues surrounding the UEP. Last year, Parker said, the case was dismissed for failure to prosecute.

The FLDS church then had one year to re-file the case, which Parker said he did to protect the position of his clients. Parker did not say Tuesday if, or when, the case might move forward. Instead, he explained, this latest filing merely gives his clients the option to move forward in the future if they want to.

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This post was last updated: Aug. 27, 2013