Fiduciary watching star witness in Warren Jeffs case

When “Jane Doe IV” takes the witness stand next week to testify against polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, the man in charge of the Fundamentalist LDS Church‘s financial arm plans to be in the audience.

The prosecution’s star witness in the case is also suing Jeffs and the $110 million United Effort Plan (UEP) Trust, claiming she was forced into a marriage. Jeffs, 50, is scheduled to appear in St. George’s 5th District Court on Nov. 21 for a preliminary hearing on charges of rape as an accomplice, a first-degree felony. He is accused of performing a child bride marriage.

“We need to flesh out the basic details, see how she reacts in the courtroom,” said Bruce Wisan, the court-appointed special fiduciary of the UEP Trust. “What Warren’s attorney attempts to accomplish and how successful — or unsuccessful — she is. What effect, if any, it might have on the trust.”

In 2005, the courts took control of the UEP Trust amid allegations that Jeffs and other top FLDS leaders were fleecing it. Wisan was placed in charge and recently, the courts signed a reform plan for the trust.

On Nov. 20, Wisan plans to hold a 7 p.m. town meeting in the FLDS enclave of Hildale, Utah, to explain the reforms of the UEP Trust. The reforms include the concept of private property ownership, but present some new challenges including homes that have been occupied by several families.

“What do you do with a couple of wives who have been separated from a husband but have contributed in kind? Now they’re assigned to another man and live in another house,” Wisan said Monday.

Ex-FLDS members have accused Jeffs of purging men from the church and reassigning their wives and children to other men.

Meanwhile, property taxes have come due across the border in Colorado City, Ariz. Wisan sent out another round of demand letters to high-profile members of the polygamous community, including members of the City Council.

So far, Wisan says, four people have paid their taxes.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday November 17, 2006.
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