SALT LAKE CITY — A state judge is ordering Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff to explain why he is refusing to pay $5.7 million in debt incurred by managers of a communal land trust once run by jailed polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs.
Shurtleff was scheduled to appear before Fourth District Judge Denise Lindberg Friday morning.
Utah seized control of the $114 million trust in 2005 amid allegations of mismanagement by Jeffs and other leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints — a move backed by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.
The trust holds the land and homes of FLDS members in the twin towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., and in Bountiful, British Columbia.
Salt Lake City accountant Bruce Wisan, his attorneys and other firms were hired to assist with management of the trust. Wisan was to be paid from the sale of trust assets, but a string of pending lawsuits has frozen many of those assets.
No trust bills have been paid since 2008.
In February, 3rd District Court Judge Denise Lindberg ordered the state to pay the bills within 90 days. Shurtleff appealed that ruling to the state Supreme Court, arguing that no Utah court could order a state agency to pay a bill that was supposed to be satisfied another way. The court rejected that argument in August.