Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
The Polygamy Blog
Nate Carlisle
Reporter Nate Carlisle and photographer Trent Nelson cover polygamy for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow the Polygamy Blog on Twitter at @tribunepolygamy. Follow Nate Carlisle on Twitter at @natecarlisle. Follow Trent Nelson on Twitter at @trenthead.

» E-mail Nate Carlisle

» Subscribe (RSS)

(The twin towns of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah, where many followers of Warren Jeffs' FLDS church reside. Trent Nelson | Tribune file photo)
FLDS lose in court twice in a day

Two relatively minor decisions were issued in polygamy-related legal cases Tuesday, giving a man access to his own land and preventing FLDS bishops from intervening in the administration of the United Effort Plan.

The first decision was issued in St. George and grants Richard Holm access to a piece of land in Hildale. According to his attorney Benjamin Ruesch, Holm purchased the land in 2006 from the United Effort Plan — which controls the FLDS church’s land and was taken over by the state in 2005.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

However, Holm was challenged by the city of Hildale as well as Wayne Jessop and Kelly Fischer, both members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Holm previously resolved his disputes with the city and with Jessop. According to Ruesch, Fischer failed to respond to the case and didn’t show up to a hearing Tuesday. As a result, the judge ruled that Holm could take possession of the land.

Holm did not immediately eturn calls seeking comment, but Ruesch described him as pleased with the decision.

"He’s definitely elated. He’s ecstatic," Ruesch said.

Bruce Wisan, who was appointed by the state to manage the trust, said Holm’s case wouldn’t have an impact on broader efforts to distribute assets.

But Wisan did say he was happy about a decision issued by the Utah Supreme Court.

The unanimous decision states that members of the FLDS church can’t intervene in the administration of the trust. In December 2010, lawyers representing FLDS Church members asked to be able to intervene in the case after they argued that Wisan shouldn’t be able to sell the Berry Knoll Farm. The farm — which has never been sold — is owned by the trust and the FLDS lawyers argued that it was a site of religious significance.

"This was an effort by bishops and other members of the FLDS church and the FLDS organization to try to intervene in the trust proceedings," Utah Solicitor General Bridget Romano said.

Wisan and the states of Utah and Arizona disagreed with FLDS members’ position, saying they didn’t have legal standing in court.

The supreme court decision states that the FLDS members can’t intervene. According to Jeffery Shields, Wisan’s attorney, the ruling upholds a lower court decision that denied standing to the FLDS members.

— Jim Dalrymple

Twitter: @jimmycdii

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.