Utah relinquishes oversight of polygamous trust with homes

Southern Utah

People arrive at the Matheson Courthouse Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Salt Lake City. Members of a community on the Utah-Arizona border that is home to Warren Jeffs’ polygamous sect are expected to raise concerns with a judge about favoritism and a lack of transparency by a board that oversees a former church trust that manages evictions and resales of homes and properties in the sister cities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah judge says the time has come to let a community board have final decision-making authority about who is entitled to buy homes and properties in a trust that once belonged to Warren Jeffs’ polygamous sect, ending court oversight that began 14 years ago.

Judge Richard McKelvie made his ruling Tuesday despite hearing from attorneys for past and current members of the polygamous group who argued that court oversight is still necessary because the board picks favorites and isn’t transparent enough.

Utah seized control of the trust in 2005 due to allegations of mismanagement by Jeffs and other sect leaders. A board of trustees formed in 2013 has overseen the resell of more than 200 homes and buildings to people with ties to the community on the Utah-Arizona border.

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