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UEP fiduciary Bruce Wisan testifies he was trying to help prostitute

Published August 4, 2014 7:22 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

United Effort Plan fiduciary Bruce Wisan took the Fifth Amendment last week when asked whether he ever used the services of a prostitute, according to court documents filed Monday.

Wisan, 68, was deposed Wednesday by attorneys representing Elissa Wall. They want to stop a land transfer to Willie Jessop from the UEP on grounds the deal is too generous and would devalue the trust.

According to a transcript filed in a court motion, when asked about his involvement with a woman charged with misdemeanor prostitution in Taylorsville Justice Court, Wisan replied: "I was trying to help her."

"How were you trying to help her?" Wall attorney Alan Mortensen asked.

"At that particular time, I was taking her food and probably going to give her money," Wisan replied.

Wisan said he met the woman on the Internet and knew she was a prostitute.

"Did you ever engage her services as a prostitute?" Mortensen asked.

"I'm not going to answer that question," Wisan replied. "That was not the intent of my visit with her. That was not the intent of the relationship and I'm not going to answer that question."

Mortensen required an answer and threatened to keep Wisan and all the attorneys in the room sitting there until Wisan provided one.

Then Wisan said: "Then I'll plead the Fifth."

Wisan has not been charged with any crimes. A Unified Police Department report from March 20, 2103, said an officer found Wisan and the woman in a motel room. The woman at first said no sex had occurred but then reported there was some sexual activity.

Wisan has been served with two subpoenas to testify at the 26-year-old woman's trial. He has not appeared either time. His attorney, Catherine Cleveland, has said Wisan was out of town the first time, and the second time he was testifying at a UEP hearing in Salt Lake City.

There also were questions in the deposition about whether Jessop knew of the Taylorsville case. Wisan said he did not and Jessop never approached Wisan about the woman.

Wall is suing the UEP in a separate case that lists her as "MJ." In that lawsuit, she seeks damages related to Warren Jeffs arranging her marriage to her adult cousin when she was 14 years old. She is pursuing as much as $30 million from the UEP under the argument that Jeffs was in control of it at the time of the arranged marriage.

The merits of Wall's lawsuit are still being argued, but any assets removed from the trust in the interim mean there's that much less for Wall to pursue if her lawsuit succeeds.

Wisan has said the land transfer is appropriate because Jessop is cooperating with the UEP in helping defend it from the Wall lawsuit and recoup some water rights that once belonged to the trust. Third District Court Judge Denise Lindberg has approved the deal pending Jessop paying a $2,500 transfer fee.

ncarlisle@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribunepolygamy