The first batch of evictions from a polygamous Utah town were posted Saturday, and some have responded by packing their belongings, said the man who served the notices.
Issac Wyler is an employee of the United Effort Plan in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado, City, Ariz. He said he posted the eviction notices on 16 homes in what maps show is a four-block area of Hildale.
The area goes from Utah Avenue north to Jessop Avenue, and from Hildale Street west to Canyon Street.
Wyler said the area was picked, in part, because Hildale is subdivided and each property had its own tax identification number. The UEP property in Colorado City is not subdivided.
The notices posted on the homes make reference to similar notices posted on them in January telling them to pay what they owe in occupancy fees and back property taxes or vacate. The new notices, Wyler said, say the occupants failed to follow the January notice and have three days to vacate.
Otherwise, the new notices say, any occupants would be subject to a lawsuit seeking damages.
UEP fiduciary Bruce Wisan has said that anyone who pays the balance of what they owe can remain, but Wyler said he wasn’t aware anyone had settled their debts since the notices were posted.
"He’s very workable," Wyler said of Wisan, "but his hands are tied when they don’t even talk to him."
Instead, Wyler said, he’s seen a lot of box trailers pulled up to the 16 homes and has seen people packing them with belongings. He said it’s not clear whether anyone has actually vacated.
Wyler said one family living across the street from the homes served started moving, too. Wyler went to them and said they did not need to do so, though they could receive a notice later.
The 16 homes are just the first of what could be hundreds to receive eviction notices.
Wisan and 3rd District Court Judge Denise Lindberg, who approved the eviction plan, are hoping the notices spur the occupants and others in Hildale and Colorado City who owe to pay their occupancy fees and taxes.
The occupancy fees are $100 a month per home and are intended to pay Wisan and his attorneys to manage and defend the trust and to pay other debts incurred by the UEP. Many in the towns have refused to pay, either because leaders of the FLDS have forbidden it, they disapprove of Wisan and how the state has operated the trust, or they don’t know how the money will be used.
Deadlines and threats have been used successfully in Hildale and Colorado City before. In 2013, for example, Washington County, Utah, was ready to send Hildale properties to auction. Residents began arriving at county offices to pay property taxes, averting the auction.
Will this time be different?
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