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Unpaid taxes on YFZ ranch create budget headaches in Texas

Published August 22, 2013 7:10 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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

A bunch of government agencies in Texas need more cash, and now they're saying it's partly because no one has paid taxes on the FLDS Yearning for Zion Ranch.

The Eldorado Success reported earlier this week that the YFZ ranch — which belongs to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and was raided in 2008 — is now worth about $34 million. It also lost its tax-exempt status because its owners didn't file the proper paper work.

That means it should be generating money for Schleicher County, where it's located, in the form of property taxes.

But apparently it isn't.

According to The Eldorado Success, no one has paid those taxes and a local school district is consequently facing a $397,000 shortfall. Schleicher County, an area hospital and the local water authority — all organizations that get a piece of the tax pie — will face significant shortfalls as well if the YFZ money isn't paid.

Most of the people The Eldorado Success interviewed sounded pessimistic about getting the taxes. Several indicated the situation is out of their hands and a judge is preparing for the possibility of not getting the money at all.

One of the big complications is that future ownership of the ranch remains unclear. In November, the Texas Attorney General's Office moved to seize the property, arguing that it was used as a remote base to molest children.

But since then nothing much has happened; when I last checked in with the AG's office at the end of July, they were still trying to serve the right people with paper work. They're still trying this month, according to The Eldorado Success.

— Jim Dalrymple II