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Bruce Wisan gives report on United Effort Plan

Published April 4, 2013 7:35 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

If it's spring, it's time to update the status of the United Effort Plan.

Bruce Wisan, the accountant appointed in 2005 to oversee the UEP, filed his annual report with the court on Tuesday. The UEP is the trust holding most of the property in Hildale, Utah, Colorado City, Ariz., and some property in Bountiful, British Columbia.

We have attached a full copy of the report. Here are a few important points I noticed:

The UEP still has a cash flow problem. • Yes, the Utah legislature loaned Wisan $5.6 million to pay his fees and expenses, but that doesn't cover everything, Wisan says in his report. "The work that has already been performed by many professionals since September 30, 2011…will need to be covered by funds generated from sources other than the State of Utah," Wisan writes. Those sources could be unpaid occupancy fees for UEP houses, the sale of property or gaining control of certain water rights, according to the report. (See page 10 in the PDF.)

Rent debtors could be taken to court. • Speaking of those occupancy fees, Wisan raises the possibility of filing "legal action" against people who haven't paid them. I just referred to this money as rent. Wisan describes the money as something closer to fees paid to a homeowners association. What ever term you want to use, almost no one has been paying them. The report says $3.3 million is owed in occupancy fees. In 2012 alone, Wisan billed $910,289 in occupancy fees and residents paid just $80,399. (See page 10 and 11 of the PDF.)

Lyle Jeffs has stiffed Washington County, raising the possibility of evictions. • The brother of Warren Jeffs and apparent head man for him in Short Creek promised in January 2012 to pay taxes owed to Washington County, Utah, but never did. Wisan reports the UEP owes $1.1 million to the county and commissioners are considering proceeding with a property tax sale that would evict residents living on the parcels. The UEP owes about $3 million in taxes to Mohave County, Ariz., but a sale and evictions are not as imminent there. (See pages 11 to 15 of the PDF.)

The Canadian properties could leave the UEP. • Wisan reports the FLDS in British Columbia could form a non-profit organization that would take control of the 51 houses on 300 acres of UEP property there. FLDS there are expected to hold an election, possibly on Sunday, to appoint board members who would send a proposal to Wisan for transferring the property to that non-profit organization. (See pages 17 and 18 in the PDF.)

Read the report. What do you find interesting and important?

— Nate Carlisle

Twitter: @natecarlisle