Temple value tops $8 million
County-wide values surge $50 million
Chief Appraiser Scott Sutton told The Success this week that preliminary appraised values on the YFZ Ranch came in at just over $18 million with more than $8 million of that amount attributable to the massive white limestone temple standing near the center of the property. Not included in the appraised values are a number of structures still under construction on January 1, 2006 and others where construction didn’t commence until after the first of the year.
Sutton explained that he expects to make some adjustment to the values of commercial and personal property on the ranch but that he doubts if the overall appraised value will drop below $17.5 million. If that is the case then the tax bill at the YFZ Ranch could come in at just over $450,000, based on this year’s tax rates.
Sutton notes that soaring oil and gas prices have also added to taxable values across the county. He said he expects the county’s tax base to approach $320 million, up more than $50 million from last year.
“This is all very preliminary,” Sutton said. “There are always some adjustments.”
The increased values won’t benefit the county’s four county-wide taxing jurisdictions equally. Sutton explained that only Schleicher County is allowed to levy a tax on property and minerals owned by the University of Texas. Schleicher County ISD, Hospital District and the Plateau Underground Water District may not tax University land which represents some 8 percent of the land in the county or a total of 61,850 acres.
AZ grand jury seeks answers from 10 loyal Jeffs followers
State prosecutors in Arizona appear determined to compel testimony from ten members of the FLDS church, despite the fact that they have been unable to serve the men with subpoenas.
Now, the Washington County, Utah Attorney’s office, acting on behalf of Arizona, has published a notice commanding the ten men to appear. The men are: Drue Cornel Cooke, Thomas Arden Holm, Brian Richard Jessop, Jonathan J. Jessop, Wayne Jessop, Willie Jessop, Lawrence Stubbs and Janet White.
If the men do appear, they will likely be served with a subpoena compelling their testimony before an Arizona grand jury. Authorities say they will issue arrest warrants for the men if they don’t appear.
Utah AG claims Warren Jeffs in Texas
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff told the Herald Journal newspaper in Hyrum, UT on Sunday that law enforcement authorities are closer than they have ever been to apprehending fugitive FLDS Prophet Warren Jeffs. His comments came on the heels of a raid at a home in Cedar City, UT, last Friday where witnesses reported seeing Jeffs.
Jeffs was not caught in the raid, which occurred at a residence reportedly owned by Willie Jessop, one of Warren Jeffs’ most trusted lieutenants. The Iron County SWAT team, as well as officers from the Cedar City Police Dept. surrounded the house. It was later learned that a family loyal to Warren Jeffs was living in the house.
Despite not catching Jeffs in Cedar City, Shurtleff said that Jeffs’ case has become a high priority with state and federal officials.
AZ jury finds Fischer guilty of sex with underage FLDS girl
Kelly Fisher, 39, of Colorado City, AZ was convicted last Friday of having sex with an underage girl after testimony and evidence revealed that he had entered into an arranged polygamous marriage with a girl younger than 18. He was also convicted on a separate charge of conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a child, despite the fact that the alleged victim in the case never came forward to testify.
As the case unfolded, jurors learned that Fisher had previously married the girl’s mother who later arranged for him to marry her 16-year-old daughter with the blessings of FLDS Prophet Warren Jeffs.
And, it was Warren Jeffs who reportedly performed the marriage ceremony.
Fisher and the girl later had a child together, a fact that was crucial to the case since it was the child’s birth certificate, listing Fischer and his underage wife as parents, that would weigh heavily in the jury’s decision making.
Seth Jeffs gets 3 years probation
Prophet’s brother admits taking cash to YFZ Ranch
Seth Steed Jeffs, the 33-year-old younger brother of fugitive FLDS Prophet Warren Jeffs, must pay a $2,500 fine and serve three years probation. The penalty came Friday, July 14, 2006 in the Denver, CO courtroom of federal judge Robert Blackburn.
Jeffs previously admitted to helping hide his older brother from authorities and told prosecutors that he made monthly trips to the YFZ Ranch here in Schleicher County where he delivered money and mail to FLDS Bishop William Jessop.
Jeffs reportedly said he was making the deliveries to William Jessop so his brother would have the time to do the things he wanted to do.
Since Jeffs entered a guilty plea without the benefit of a plea bargain deal with prosecutors, he was not required to reveal where his reclusive brother might be hiding.
Prosecutors asked Judge Blackburn to send Seth Jeffs to prison for three months, but the judge declined. Blackburn told Jeffs “I would not visit the sins of your fugitive brother on you.”
For his part, Seth Jeffs told the court he had moved away from the polygamous stronghold of Colorado City, AZ and Hildale, UT, and that he was trying to distance himself from the lifestyle.
Utah man sues cops, city officials in polygamous town
A federal civil rights lawsuit, filed in April, has only now become public, due to difficulties in serving papers against police and city officials in the border town of Colorado City, AZ and Hildale, UT.
Andrew Chatwin alleges in the suit that he was handcuffed and jailed because he was no longer a follower of FLDS Prophet Warren Jeffs or a member of his fundamentalist Mormon church.
Named as defendants in the lawsuit are C-City/Hildale police officers Fred Barlow, Healaman Barlow and Jonathan Roundy. The men received notice of the lawsuit earlier this week.
Also named in the lawsuit is City of Hildale, which Chatwin says operates as a theocracy.
Chatwin claims he built a 6,000 sq. ft. home in the FLDS dominated community in 1992, but vacated the house in 1995 when he voluntarily left the FLDS church and moved away from the polygamous community. At that time, Chatwin’s father moved into the home.