The Polygamy Blog

Why Willie Jessop is getting discounted land in Short Creek

First Published      Last Updated May 21 2014 07:17 am

Saturday we reported how Willie Jessop stands to receive some land and property in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., at a discounted price.

United Effort Plan fiduciary Bruce Wisan is selling Jessop the property. Also, the UEP is giving Jessop the home he lives in and adjacent barn lot whenever Hildale is subdivided. It remains to be seen how many other residents of Hildale and Colorado City, known collectively as Short Creek, will get to stay in their homes.

Wisan is rewarding Jessop for the help he has given in the last two years. Jessop, Wisan said, has helped the UEP recover rights to thousands of acre feet of water that was taken from it. Jessop also has cooperated with the parties suing the governments in Short Creek over discrimination claims and has supplied information that has helped the UEP fight lawsuits.

That last item includes the lawsuit Elissa Wall has filed against the UEP and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. There is a hearing in the case at 2 p.m. today in state court in Salt Lake City.

A few months ago, Jessop revealed to Wisan and his attorneys the existence of an agreement Wall made with her ex-husband, Allen Steed, who Wall had accused of raping her. I wrote about the agreement in a previous blog post. The agreement is the centerpiece for the UEP's argument about why Wall's lawsuit should be dismissed.

Jessop knew about the agreement because he helped broker it. In 2008, Jessop was the "legal coordinator" for the FLDS, according to a deposition he gave in the lawsuit. Jessop, he said in the deposition, has no legal training "per se."

Jessop said the agreement between Wall and Steed was reached as early as 2008, but was not signed until 2011.

Wall's attorneys have said they are pursing $30 million to $40 million in her lawsuit. The UEP attorneys argue the agreement between Wall and Steed amounts to extortion and coercion to advance the lawsuit and the UEP attorneys should have been told of it years ago.

Wall's lawyers have countered the UEP attorneys had knowledge of the agreement in 2011, but did not file the proper motions to obtain more information. As for the agreement itself, Wall's attorneys say there's nothing illegal about it and such agreements are not unusual.

Watch this afternoon to see if the information Jessop supplied helps the UEP.


Twitter: @tribunepolygamy