Polygamous school likely to be demolished, was more troubled than thought
Published: September 16, 2013 08:45PM
Updated: September 16, 2013 07:23PM
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Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune The roof of a home in a large compound at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon in Sandy, Utah that was once home to polygamist leader Rulon Jeffs and his large family. Also on the property was Alta Academy, a school for the group's children. Jeffs moved his family, including his son and successor Warren Jeffs, out of the compound in 1998 after prophesying the city's impending destruction.

The buildings that once comprised Alta Academy, where Rulon and Warren Jeffs taught FLDS children and the younger Jeffs committed some of his sex crimes, have been sold to a developer who plans to build new housing there, a bank executive said last week.

The property sits at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon. Although the location is prime real estate, the buildings have fallen into disrepair in recent years. The FLDS sold the property in 1998. But that wasn’t the end of the story for the property.

Wayne LaMar Palmer operated a company called National Note of Utah and purchased two properties that comprised Alta Academy and FLDS holdings in the canyon, along with a third property near there. Last year, federal regulators accused Palmer of operating a $100 million Ponzi scheme.

The three properties have been put into receivership overseen by Utah attorney Wayne Klein. Eventually, First National Bank of Layton took possession of the two former FLDS properties.

Greg Vidrine, executive vice president of First National Bank of Layton, told me last week the two FLDS properties have been sold to a home builder who has plans to demolish the existing structures and build single family homes. Vidrine declined to identify the buyer.

Klein said an auction for the third property is scheduled for Oct. 17. Information about the auction can be found on his website.

— Nate Carlisle

Twitter: @tribunepolygamy