Judge Won’t Evict Man from Church Property

(Kingman, Arizona-AP) — A Mohave County (Arizona) judge has refused to evict a Colorado City man from a home on land owned by the polygamist church that dominates the town.

Superior Court Judge James Chavez denied a request by the United Effort Plan trust to evict Ross Chatwin from property owned by the trust. The trust is controlled by leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Chatwin publicly criticized the church in January.

Chavez ruled that Chatwin had possessory interest in the property because promises from church leaders.

He said Chatwin cannot be evicted unless the church compensates him for improvements he made to the two-story home.

During a March trial, Rodney Parker, an attorney for the trust and church, argued the trust could evict Chatwin without cause.

Chatwin’s attorney Joan Dudley said Chatwin grew up being taught that he could live on the trust land for life.

Chatwin testified that he was encouraged by church officials to build a home and make other improvements.

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