10 in polygamous town sought in grand jury probe
Ten residents of a polygamous community in southern Utah are being called to testify before an Arizona grand jury whose probe, based on some witnesses' backgrounds, may include money flow and construction projects within the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Those sought include principals of FLDS-affiliated construction companies that undertake specialized and large-scale projects and have been reportedly involved in work at the YFZ Ranch in Eldorado, Texas.
The Washington County Attorney's Office, on behalf of Arizona, unsuccessfully attempted to have the following people served with subpoenas last week: Drue Cornel Cooke, Thomas Arden Holm, Brian Richard Jessop, Jonathan J. Jessop, Wayne Jessop, Willie Jessop, Lawrence Stubbs and Janet White.
Washington County published a notice this week ordering them to appear in court July 7 as potential material witnesses in the Arizona investigation. If they show up, they will be handed subpoenas compelling them to be in court in Arizona on July 12, said Washington County deputy attorney Jerry Jaeger.
If they don't show, Jaeger will request arrest warrants for them.
Utah authorities did manage to serve subpoenas on two men: Ethan Hammon, a trucker who is not affiliated with the FLDS, and Thomas V. Barlow, an ex-FLDS member who once ran the community's radio station. Barlow is in jail on an unrelated matter.
All are residents of Hildale, which with the adjoining town of Colorado City, Ariz., is the historical home base of the FLDS church. FLDS church leader Warren S. Jeffs is a fugitive wanted on charges in Utah and Arizona for his role in arranging underage marriages.
The group sought by the subpoenas includes men associated with such businesses as JNJ Engineering, Wedgewood Development, Paragon Contractors Corp., R&W Excavating and Samcor Inc. Workers and equipment from those companies have been identified on the YFZ Ranch in Texas, where FLDS faithful have built a community on 1,700 acres, which includes homes, businesses and a temple valued at $8 million to $10 million.
Including the new group, more than three dozen FLDS members in Hildale; Beryl, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., have been subpoenaed to give depositions or testimony in cases that involve Jeffs, underage marriages, assets of the FLDS church's community property trust or the Colorado City Unified School District.
Two men - James R. Allred, an assistant postmaster and church official, and Mica S. Barlow, a deputy town marshal - remain in the Central Arizona Detention Center, where they were sent on April 7 after they appeared before a grand jury but refused to answer questions. Their cases are sealed, but the detention center confirmed they are still being held.
An Arizona grand jury looking into activities of Jeffrey P. Jessop, former business manager for the school district, subpoenaed records held by the Utah Department of Commerce and several businesses in April.
Next week, the first of eight trials involving men who entered spiritual marriages with underage girls is set to begin in Kingman, Ariz., while Utah attorneys are set to take depositions to determine whether a farm in Beryl, Utah, should be considered part of an FLDS communal property trust.