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Your Tax Dollars at Work

"Bleeding the Beast"
 
 
      Pat Shannahan / The Arizona Republic
Colorado City, Arizona It has been reported that the citizens of Colorado City, Arizona receive $8 in government welfare subsidies (Medicaid, WIC, food stamps, etc.) for every $1 they pay in.

Your tax dollars are going to support polygamous women who are considered "single mothers" and families that may have 40 or more children.   In 1998, Shawn Hampton, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, D.C. - which oversees the Medicaid program - stated "If the wives qualify under federal poverty guidelines, then the department (HHS) is mandated to authorize the benefits."

According to a 1998 article in the Salt Lake Tribune:  Dan Barlow, the ex-Mayor of Colorado City, "Conceded that government aid has made a better lifestyle possible for many polygamous families.  But he does not see anything unusual about that.  Those taking food stamps or WIC simply are doing "the thing that Americans do," he said."

The Twin Cities are also quite adept at getting public grants to pay for building the towns' infrastructure.   According to this same 1998 Tribune article, the community "has received more than $1.8 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to pave its streets, upgrade its fire equipment and build a water-storage tank.  (Hildale got $94,000 for its fire station.)  A $2.8 million airport on the southwestern edge of Colorado City was another government-financed development."

According to a Public Notice posted in the Spectum newpaper in St. George, Utah on February 2, 2005 announcing a Public Hearing Regarding Use of CDBG Funds:

"The Town of Colorado City is expected to receive approximately $354,122 in federal CDBG [Federal Community Development Block Grant] funds and potentially up to $300,000 in State Special Project funds beginning July 1."

In August 2005, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded Colorado City the third highest fire department grant in Arizona - $339,112.

Below are some news articles describing how your tax dollars are being used to support the polygamous communities on the Arizona Strip.
 
 
The Price of Polygamy
ABC 15 - Phoenix
Originally broadcast November 3, 2003

From June 2002 through June 2003 the Arizona Attorney General's office reports 8 million tax dollars in welfare services have gone to support polygamy.

During this year, 80% of Colorado City has received food stamps totaling 2.3 million dollars.

5 million dollars in free healthcare and an additional 660 thousand in tax dollars were funneled in to the community.

In total the residents of Colorado City, the entire community, only paid 72 thousand dollars combined in taxes.
 
 
welfare stats
 
 
Officials decry Colorado City abuse
By Mark Hall
Today's News-Herald - Havasu City
Originally published January 8, 2004

Arizona Sen. Linda Binder and Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson briefed the London Bridge Rotary Club Wednesday about their efforts to combat polygamy and resulting abuse in Colorado City and Hilldale, Utah.   The elected officials talked about recent allegations regarding sexual and physical abuse surrounding the polygamist group — a fundamentalist splinter group of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.   "As far as I'm concerned we have the Taliban sitting in our backyard," Binder said of the community.  "It's Arizona's dirty little secret."   Binder said she is not attacking alternative lifestyles, but specifically the Colorado City area — an isolated community in which middle-aged men allegedly are marrying and having sex with girls as young as 15 years old.   "I do object to young girls —14 and 15 year olds — being married off to 30- to 40-year-old men," Binder said.  "This is truly a cult."   Both Binder and Johnson said another key issue is the amount of money being given to the community by county, state and federal governments.   Johnson said Colorado City receives $8 for every tax dollar it injects into the county, while Lake Havasu City receives a little more than $1.   "The dollar amount should be equal," he said.   Johnson said the community receives so much money because of the sizes of the families living there. Many of them include families with up to 40 children.     Read more
 
 
Polygamists also excel at ‘bleeding the beast'
By Al Herron
Prescott Daily Courier
Originally published Tuesday, September 2, 2003

It was a nice coincidence that Jon Krakauer's new book, "Under the Banner of Heaven – A Story of Violent Faith", went on sale last month.   It's about fundamentalist Mormons, and he confirms much of what I've been writing.  A best seller – I recommend it.   ***  How would you like for the state to pay your food bill, especially if you had dozens of mouths to feed?  Would $2,000 a month be OK?  This is not uncommon in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).   Some families get more.     Read more
 
 
New museum commemorates Short Creek raid
1953 raid remembered in Colorado City
By Jane Zhang
The Spectrum
Originally published July 26, 2003

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. -- Following a blast of dynamite on the hill the townsfolk gathered in the wee hours at the Short Creek School, singing the songs of Zion and waiting for hundreds of Arizona police officers to arrive.   "Have you had the heart to take this screaming child from his mother?" their leader, Leroy S. Johnson, had challenged the policemen.  "We are bothering no one. Why don't you leave us alone?"   But Arizona Gov. Howard Pyle was determined to quell "the foulest conspiracy you could imagine," where teenage girls were involved in a community-wide "shameful mockery of marriage."   Thirty-one men would be jailed and tried while their wives and children were taken away for 2 1/2 years in foster care.     Read more
 
 
Town Scraps Its Polygamy Raid Memorial
The Associated Press
Originally published September 4, 2003

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. -- Less than a month after its dedication, a stone monument commemorating the 50th anniversary of a police raid on this polygamous community is gone, and a related museum was closed.   Mayor Dan Barlow, who was 21 at the time of the 1953 raid and was arrested along with dozens of other men, said little about why the city took down the monument and closed the museum in August.   "It's gone.  We just talked it over and came to the conclusion that we should back off, let things settle down," Barlow said Wednesday.  "There's just too much publicity right now."   The monument dedication and opening of the old Short Creek Schoolhouse Museum and Heritage Park -- renovated with volunteer help and restored with $20,000 in grant money.     Read more
 
 
Domestic violence hotline expanded to polygamous areas
By Alexandria Sage
The Associated Press
Originally published February 13, 2004

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Attorney General announced Thursday the expansion of the state's Domestic Violence Information Line to serve victims of abuse in polygamous communities.   Attorney General Mark Shurtleff also said his office was working to erect a billboard advertising the anonymous and confidential service in Hildale, the polygamous stronghold 300 miles south of Salt Lake City on the Arizona border.   The statewide hotline, which receives about 205 calls a month, should be available "to everybody in this state without regard to religion, where you live and your political and religious views," Shurtleff said at a news conference at the Community Services Council, which houses the call center.   Staff members answering phone lines received sensitivity training from former and current polygamist wives, said A.J. Hunt, the hotline's coordinator.   "We feel that our staff is definitely capable and ready to handle calls from any kind of background," she said.   Fliers advertising the service will be circulated in community centers and stores in the dual communities of Hildale and Colorado City, Ariz., where an estimated 10,000 members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints live.     Read more
 
 
Hildale clinic closes doors after 15 years
By Jane Zhang
The Spectrum
Originally published February 28, 2004

HILDALE -- The baby in the blanket became quiet, and the young woman in her long dress started talking quietly on her cell phone.   But as the chatter became boisterous among four other children she brought to the clinic's classroom, she stood up and walked to the door.  Her voice became even more remote, while the children continued to jumped from one blue plastic chair to another.   It was another rainy day in Hildale, and the woman, who declined to talked to a reporter, was one of the last clients to leave the Southwest Utah Public Health Department WIC Clinic, which closed Friday at noon after 15 years.   Funded by the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, the clinic offered grocery vouchers, dietary supplements and nutrition education to low-income women who are pregnant or breast feeding, and children younger than 5.   Caught between a population boom and an economic downturn, however, the Southwest Public Health Department decided to cut the Hildale clinic to avoid laying off staff, said Gary Edwards, the department's director.   Counting utilities and rental costs of the 1,100-square-foot trailer office, the closure of the clinic will save the department at least $14,000 a year.     Read more
 
 
Budget crunch closes Hildale health clinic
The Associated Press
Originally published March 1, 2004

HILDALE -- Because of budget troubles, a public clinic that assists pregnant women and young children has closed after 15 years of service.   Funded by the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, Southwest Utah Public Health Department's WIC Clinic offered grocery vouchers, dietary supplements and nutritional education to low-income women who are pregnant or breast feeding and children younger than 5.   Counting utilities and rental costs, the closure will save the department at least $14,000 a year.   Operations at the Hildale office accounted for $750,000 of the Southwest Public Health Department's $3.9 million budget, said Gary Edwards, the department's director.   In January, the Hildale clinic assisted 1,021 residents from Hildale and Colorado City, Ariz., a 30 percent increase from the average client load in 1998, said Pat Thomas, the department's nursing director.     Read more
 
 
Newspaper: Bank Loses Money After Loans to FLDS Community
The Bank of Ephraim made high-risk business and consumer loans in the polygamist community on the Arizona border and lost more than three quarters of a million dollars last year.
KSL-TV Channel 5
Originally published May 5, 2004

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Bank of Ephraim made high-risk business and consumer loans in the polygamist community on the Arizona border and lost more than three quarters of a million dollars last year, a Salt Lake newspaper reported.   The Sanpete County-based bank lost $778,000 last year after writing off slightly more than $1.3 million in bad loans, The Salt Lake Tribune said in a copyright story Wednesday.   As required by regulators, it placed $2 million in a reserve account to cover losses.   "They have done everything we have asked in that way," said Jim Thomas, supervisor of banks for the Utah Department of Financial Institutions.  "They are closely watched."   Bank of Ephraim Chairman Carl Barton described its lending relationship with residents of the twin polygamist communities of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, as "very unique."   "One of the messages we have been delivering for the past three or four years in Hildale and Colorado City is we have to make loans and we have to manage loans and enforce our loans in step with prudent business practices," Barton said.  In a letter to shareholders April 23, Barton said that because of the reserves the bank has been forced to hold, "we simply cannot pay dividends at this time or in the coming months. We continue to generate large amounts of income, but far too much of it must be placed into the bad loan reserve account due (to) the uncertainty in Hildale and Colorado City."     Read more
 
 
State takes over Bank of Ephraim
Far West Bank of Provo acquires the business's deposits
By Lynn Arave
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Saturday, June 26, 2004

Utah suffered its first bank failure in nearly 16 years Friday as Far West Bank of Provo acquired the deposits of the Bank of Ephraim after Utah's Department of Financial Institutions took control of the Ephraim business.   Commissioner G. Edward Leary said the department took possession of the Bank of Ephraim to protect depositors and the public, finding, among other things, that the bank was insolvent due to an embezzlement by a former bank employee and because of asset quality concerns.   This bank failure was Utah's first since Tracy Collins Bank in Salt Lake City failed in December 1988.   The Department of Financial Institutions, as well as the Federal Reserve Bank, had been closely monitoring the Bank of Ephraim for some time.  The bank had been ordered to increase its capital to a safe level, but efforts by the bank to raise shareholders' equity to an acceptable level in a very short time were unsuccessful.     Read more
 
 
End-Times Doom Belief Contributed to Demise of Ephraim Bank
By Sterling D. Allan
Greater Things News Service
Originally published June 27, 2004

EPHRAIM, UTAH - Believing that the end was nigh in 1999, several Hilldale polygamist customers took out loans with no ability or intent to repay, creating bad loans that contributed to the collapse of the Bank of Ephraim Friday June 25.   On May 5, the Salt Lake Tribune ran a story titled: 'FLDS church teachings lead members into financial mire' reporting that as the year 2000 approached, "many followers of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints felt encouraged to max out their credit cards and exhaust their personal loans.  The end was near, FLDS leaders said, and the bills would never come due."   On the same day, in a concurrent story, the Tribune reported: "The Bank of Ephraim has poured its trust and money into a polygamist enclave on the Utah-Arizona border since the 1950s, approving high-risk business and consumer loans often backed by questionable collateral.  The bank's faith in this Arizona Strip community added to the toll on its bottom line last year -- it lost more than three quarters of a million dollars -- and bank officials acknowledge they are working to rectify problems."     Read more
 
 
Bank failure grieves neighbors
Clients, employees of the Bank of Ephraim 'stunned'
By Suzanne Dean and Sean Hales
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Saturday, July 3, 2004

EPHRAIM — For many residents of Sanpete County, the failure of the Bank of Ephraim is like a death in the family.   Sad as they are, some residents are blaming bank officials for not being more candid about the condition of the bank.  And nearly everyone expresses concern about the 65 uninsured depositors who, cumulatively, could lose up to $4.3 million because of the failure.   "Tragic, tragic, terrible," Gwen McGarry, 76, of Ephraim, said of the bank's collapse.  Her first husband, Rawlin Jacobson, worked for the bank for 23 years and was president for three years.   He died in 1978.  The Jacobson family had been involved with the bank since 1920.   Rawlin Jacobson's father and grandfather had both been presidents of the bank.   For decades, the Bank of Ephraim "was a AAA bank, right at the top of the heap in Utah," says McGarry, who wrote a history of the bank several years ago.  During the Depression, banks in nearby Moroni and Fountain Green failed, but the Bank of Ephraim survived.   "It's very difficult for me," McGarry said.  "You see people going in (to the bank) and coming out in tears.   It's heartbreaking.  Maybe it was something that could have been avoided, maybe not."   The bank, founded in 1905, had been experiencing problems for some time because of loans it had made in Hildale, Washington County, and Colorado City, Arizona, to members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.   The FLDS Church advocates polygamy.     Read more
 
 
Fundamentalists get outside assistance
e-Press
Tri-States News Network
A Production of Murphy Broadcasting, Inc.
Originally published August 11, 2004

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. – In a community rocked by persistent and ongoing allegations of sexual abuse, welfare fraud and forced marriages, suddenly there is a new force in town.  This week, the state of Arizona and Mojave County opened a new justice center in the border straddling polygamist town of Colorado City.   The polygamist enclave has long been isolated by geography and hostile to outsiders, but Monday a new justice center opened its doors.  The building will be used by Child Protective Services, the Arizona Attorney Generals Office, the Mojave County Sheriff's Office, and the Mojave County Attorney's Office.   According to Andrea Esquer, spokeswoman for the Arizona Attorney General, "The office will be a resource for victims who want to come forward and report abuse.  It is important in this area because if you are a victim and you have no where to turn, it gets very frustrating."     Read more
 
 
Polygamist sect could be out thousands of dollars
The Associated Press
KVOA News 4 - Tucson
Originally broadcast August 20, 2004

PHOENIX - Polygamist schools, and the sect that runs them along the Arizona-Utah border could be out hundreds of thousands of dollars.   That's after failing to report to the state how it spends its money.   Hitting the polygamists in the wallet is the latest in a string of political, legal and administrative pressures placed on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and its self-proclaimed prophet, Warren Jeffs.   State officials say the Colorado City Unified School District failed to meet deadlines to properly report spending for fiscal 2003.   That means the district could lose up to ten-percent of its annual state funding for failing to comply.
 
 
Bank not deep in hole
By Jenifer K. Nii
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Losses stemming from the failure of the Bank of Ephraim likely will be less than initial estimates, according to bank officials and regulators.   And the bank — now operating under the Far West Bank brand — is showing encouraging signs of customer confidence and growth.   Edward Leary, commissioner of the Utah Department of Financial Institutions, told the Legislature's Commerce and Revenue Appropriations Subcommittee Tuesday that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has set a target date of Sept. 8 to make payments to 50 depositors of the former Bank of Ephraim, which was declared insolvent in June.   Of the bank's 9,000 depositors, all but about 50 were covered (in whole or in part) by the FDIC.  Those remaining depositors, whose accounts exceeded the FDIC's deposit insurance limit, were issued "receiver certificates" representing $3.7 million, Leary said.   Total losses were initially feared to be about $11 million to $12 million.  So, though $3.7 million is a lot of money, it is less than the first estimates.     Read more
 
 
Colorado City schools asking for more state money
The Associated Press
KVOA News 4 - Tucson
Originally broadcast August 25, 2004

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. It hasn't accounted for the state money it's already spent.  And yet the school board in the polygamist community of Colorado City is asking for more cash.   The Colorado City Unified School District governing passed a resolution three weeks ago authorizing the November second special bond election.   The school board is already being audited by the state for questionable financial policies, including the purchase of a $220,000 airplane.   Last week, the Arizona Auditor General's Office confirmed the Colorado City Unified School District failed to file required paperwork on its spending for fiscal 2003.   A spokeswoman for the Auditor General's Office says the State Board of Education was notified Friday of the failure and would take "appropriate action."
 
 
Utah gets grant for rural communities
Money will be used to help domestic violence victims in polygamy colonies
By Patrice St. Germain
The Spectrum
Originally published Tuesday, August 31, 2004

HURRICANE -- A grant in the amount of almost $700,000, announced Monday, was set aside to help domestic violence victims from polygamous and rural communities in Utah and Arizona.   Utah Attorney General spokesman Paul Murphy said the goal of the grant is to reach those in underserved, rural areas and said the Attorney General's office couldn't think of a more underserved population than those living in the polygamist communities of Hildale and Colorado City.   But the Safe Passage Program, as it is called, will help domestic violence victims statewide, Murphy said.   "This grant will give the sheriff's office another deputy, provide another case worker and extend the domestic violence hotline hours," he said.   "This will help a lot of people but the focus is to break down barriers to reach people who have not been getting the services they need, don't have a voice and don't have access to help."     Read more
 
 
Fed grant targets domestic violence
Program to aid residents in rural Utah and Arizona
By Amy Joi Bryson
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Tuesday, August 31, 2004

A nearly $700,000 federal grant will help the Utah Attorney General's Office partner with eight agencies to fight domestic violence in rural areas across the state and in Arizona.   Safe Passage, a two-year-long program, will target victims in "underserved" areas, including polygamist communities.   "The isolation in these areas makes it so it is so foreign to individuals when they leave, they have no idea who to turn to for help," said Ned Searle, state coordinator of the Utah Domestic Violence Council.   "We want to serve every population in Utah who is not getting information about domestic violence.  It happens in every culture."   Awarded by the justice department's Office of Violence Against Women, the grant will be spread among a variety of agencies to beef up coordination and training, legal services, law enforcement response, shelter services and public awareness.   Washington County Sheriff Kirk Smith will get to add a new deputy and vehicle to increase services in eastern Washington County and in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.     Read more
 
 
Bleeding the Beast
The FLDS and its conflicting views about government
The Eldorado Success
myeldorado.net
Originally published October 14, 2004

This is the second article in a series in which the Success investigates the beliefs and teachings of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and how they compare and/or contrast with past and present doctrines of the mainline Mormon Church.

Newcomers to the story about the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) and its Prophet Warren Jeffs often struggle to understand the complex twists and turns of the tale.  Most of them quickly home in on the polygamy aspect of the story, however, especially polygamy as it exists inside the closed society of the FLDS, where the Prophet makes all decisions concerning who will marry whom, and where anyone who questions his absolute authority to do so are promptly excommunicated.   Actually, excommunication may be too harsh a word.  Inside the FLDS, errant followers are asked to leave and repent from a distance, but few if any, are ever asked to return to the fold.   Eventually, almost everyone who manages to follow the story for more than a few paragraphs finds themselves asking how a man with multiple wives, and even more multiple children, can provide for such a large family.  The answer, according to many who have left the church, is a policy called "Bleeding the Beast."     Read more
 
 
Feds, FDIC Fight Over Restitution from Bank Fraud
The Associated Press
KSL-TV Channel 5
Originally broadcast October 23, 2004

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- U.S. Attorney Paul Warner's office asked a judge Friday to order a federal agency to identify victims of a failed Utah bank whose deposits exceeded the insurance limit of $100,000.   The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is refusing to provide Warner a list of the account holders who lost money at the Bank of Ephraim.   In court papers, the agency contends it alone deserves any restitution and is the only victim of the bank's collapse, which was blamed on embezzlement and bad loans, including loans to polygamists along the Arizona border.   The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. didn't return a message left after business hours Friday by The Associated Press seeking a fuller explanation.  The agency covered the losses of depositors only up to $100,000 per account, leaving other victims, who lost $4.8 million from 125 accounts.     Read more
 
 
Bank collapse sparks anger in Ephraim
Bad loans, fraud send shock waves through community
By Paul Foy
The Associated Press
Originally published Saturday, November 27, 2004

EPHRAIM — The math was simple: Bad loans plus embezzlement brought down a small-town bank.   The loans were made for hasty business ventures in a 9,000-strong polygamist enclave that believed the world was about to end.   The insider's fraud was 24 years in the making and involved cash-filled suitcases and Las Vegas gambling sprees.   But in this farming community in one of Utah poorest counties, where many are struggling to hold their own, resentment runs deep against regulators who shut down the 99-year-old Bank of Ephraim.   They complain government examiners, fooled by phony bank statements, never detected the fraud.   They accuse state regulators of tolerating risky loans to the Mormon fundamentalist sect halfway down the state — until the buildup to the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympics ushered a renewed war on the polygamists.   One of the loans was made for a watermelon farm that never planted a single watermelon.   The bank foreclosed on the farm.   Another was made to an outfit that salvaged military barracks for motel conversions.  That venture went bankrupt when the barracks turned out to have lead paint, asbestos and other hazards.   The loans reached $18 million, 90 percent of the Bank of Ephraim's portfolio, said former bank President Keith Church.     Read more
 
 
Spend like there's no tomorrow, sect told
By David Usborne
The New Zealand Herald
Originally published December 10, 2004

If the 9000 members of a polygamous Utah Mormon sect felt comfortable borrowing from their bank like there was no tomorrow, it was because for them that was precisely the case.   The world, they had been assured, would be coming to an end shortly.   They gladly used the high-interest funds to finance business ventures, which, if anyone had looked at closely enough, were frankly unreliable.   There was the watermelon farm on which not a single watermelon was ever planted.  Then there was the plan to convert military barracks into homes and motels that collapsed when lead paint and asbestos were found.   However, the cashflow has ceased.   After years of serving the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Bank of Ephraim has closed.  Or rather it was forced to shut after state regulators found it could not handle the loans it had extended.   It was several years ago that the sect took an oath to drain the bank of its money before doomsday.   It was only in June that bank president Keith Church discovered the truth.     Read more
 
 
Town of Colorado City
Public Hearing Regarding Use of CDBG Funds
Public Notice
The Spectrum
Originally published Wednesday, February 2, 2005

The Town of Colorado City is expected to receive approximately $354,122 in federal CDBG funds and potentially up to $300,000 in State Special Project funds beginning July 1.  CDBG funds must be used to benefit low-income persons and areas, alleviate slum and blight or address urgent need.  A public hearing will be held at 7:15 p.m. on February 14, 2005 at the Colorado City Town Hall, 25 South Central Street, Colorado City Arizona, to gather citizen input on the use of the CDBG funds.

Examples of possible uses include the following:
  • Public Infrastructure such as street paving or improvements to the water or sewer system
  • Community Facilities such as a park, health clinic, library, or a senior or youth center
  • Public Services, for example, equipment or rent to provide job training or to purchase a van for transport of disabled persons
  • Economic Development, such as creating a loan fund for business and job creation
These are examples of activities for which the Town of Colorado City can use federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds if the project primarily benefits low and moderate income persons, reduces slums or blight, or meets an urgent need or health hazard.     Read more
 
 
Bi-state meeting on polygamy takes on conciliatory tone
By Mark Hall
Today's News-Herald - Havasu City
Originally published Saturday, March 5, 2005

ST. GEORGE, Utah - The two top law enforcement agents in Arizona and Utah said they can't and won't arrest all of the polygamists in the twin cities of Colorado City and Hildale, Utah because it would require too many resources and many bigamy laws are archaic.   However, one Mohave County supervisor is calling for much stiffer law enforcement intervention than has already been seen, including the enforcement of current bigamy laws.   "When they talk about the abuse of money, and say 'were giving out these food stamps to the people to try to help the children,' those people might be qualified to receive those food stamps, but the children and the families are not the ones getting the money," District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson said after a town hall meeting Thursday.  "The money is going to the leaders.  So I think that states have allowed this practice and this lawbreaking, and they owe it to the children to stop the practice, no matter what the costs are."   Over the past two years, on an average annual basis, Johnson said Colorado City has received about $2 million in food stamp assistance.  He said the abuses will continue and both states will have little success in trying to build criminal cases on domestic violence or sexual abuse, two of the most alleged crimes in the area.   "We don't want to prosecute polygamy because it's a small crime compared to the abuses of children, but they got (Al) Capone on tax evasion.  They didn't get him on murder and racketeering," Johnson said.     Read more
 
 
The Vent
The Spectrum
Originally published March 12, 2005

First we had the guest editorial "Show Me" stating how wonderful polygamy is, then the public meeting on polygamy.  What a joke.  If polygamy life is so wonderful, why do you need welfare and food stamps?   Why doesn't the man who fathered all those children support them?  Town meeting organizers, what is so difficult?   Polygamy is against the law.  Period.  End of debate.  You say it's hard to prove.  You have heard of DNA, right?  Problem solved.
 
 
Teen rejected by polygamous family finds new life
The Associated Press
KVOA Channel 4 - Tucson
Originally broadcast March 13, 2005

SALT LAKE CITY -- Gideon Barlow, a castoff from a polygamous community on the Utah-Arizona border is trying to reshape his life.   Barlow is the son of polygamist Dan Barlow, who was banished from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in January 2004.  He is also one of dozens of a group known as the Lost Boys, who have fled or been kicked out of the polygamous communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona.   Barlow's story shot to prominence last week during a town meeting on polygamy in St. George, when the couple who now care for him publicly questioned how his 73-year-old father could draw money intended to help minor children.   Arizona county and state agencies this week began investigating the allegations.   Dan Barlow, who moved into a St. George home after being expelled from the community, is the father of 71 children, who at the time of his exile ranged in age from one-and-a-half to 53.
 
 
Canadian women 'spilling' into Idaho polygamous community
The Canadian Press
canada.com
Originally published April 1, 2005

LEWISTON, Idaho -- Fearful of a burgeoning polygamous community and rumours of child brides in Boundary County, Idaho, legislators have agreed to form a committee to study human trafficking in the state.   "I didn't think this was a problem in the state of Idaho until we went to Bonners Ferry," Speaker Bruce Newcomb of the state legislature told a meeting of Idaho's political leadership.   Newcomb and the other representatives visited Boundary County leaders, who said the wives of a religious group in Bountiful, B.C., are spilling out of Canada and into Idaho to apply for public assistance.   The group is believed to be polygamous and associated with a similar group in Hildale, Utah, legislators said.  The legislature is concerned the two groups may be trading child brides.   "We're continuing to try to keep our eye on some things," said Bonners Ferry Mayor Darrell Kerby.   He welcomed the legislative committee, which will study the issue over the summer and possibly hold hearings and recommend legislation next winter.     Read more
 
 
Who bankrolls polygamist way of life?
Social assistance rules encourage sect's men to keep multiple wives
By Daphne Bramham
Vancouver Sun
Originally published Friday, April 29, 2005

Most families struggle just to make ends meet, so it's hard to imagine how people like Winston Blackmore, Jim Oler and the other men in Bountiful with multiple wives and dozens of children manage.   But these polygamists do manage -- with a little help from taxpayers.   Blackmore, the former bishop of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and leader of a new breakaway faction, has 26 wives and close to 100 children living in several different homes in Bountiful and around Creston.   Oler, who replaced Blackmore as bishop, has at least five wives and close to 20 children.   The fundamentalists believe a man must have three wives to be invited into God's celestial kingdom and as many children as possible.  Women are encouraged to have a child every 15 months and Bountiful women agree that most mothers have eight children or more.   These fundamentalists have no connection to the mainstream Mormon church, which banned polygamy in 1890.   Just how much help the polygamists get from taxpayers in the form of child tax benefits, GST credits and social assistance is impossible to find out because of government privacy laws.   But last week at the polygamy summit in Creston, Marlene Palmer -- Blackmore's sister and his accountant -- tried to dispel what she called the myth that the community soaks up buckets of taxpayers' money.   She even carped that the taxman isn't fair to polygamists because men are only allowed to claim a deduction for one wife each on their income tax forms.     Read more
 
 
Law Enforcement Raids Polygamist Community's School
John Hollenhorst reporting
KSL-TV Channel 5
Originally broadcast May 25, 2005

There are reverberations today, from a law enforcement raid in a polygamist stronghold on the Utah-Arizona border.   Critics of polygamist leader Warren Jeffs say it's a sharp blow to a dictatorial regime, but others aren't sure if Jeffs really cares.   The law enforcement raid is turning up the heat on prophet Warren Jeffs of the Fundamentalist L.D.S. Church.  But some say the heat has already chased Jeffs out of the kitchen.   He's believed to be living secretly at the group's new colony in Texas.   Arizona agents armed with criminal search warrants raided the public school headquarters in Colorado City.   They loaded a U-Haul truck and numerous police vehicles computers, files, documents, and even some cans of beer.   A former follower of FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs says the raid is a sign he's losing control.   Richard Holm, Former follower, FLDS Church: "I feel good about it.  I feel it's one more step towards having freedom in the community."   None of Jeffs' followers send their kids to the public school.  But most of the public school staff are Jeffs followers.   Arizona officials portray the school as a disaster of financial mismanagement.  But there are also allegations of corruption and misuse of the tax money that pours into the public school.     Read more
 
 
Colorado City district should account for public funds
Editorial
The Spectrum
Originally published May 26, 2005

If you accept public funds, the government is going to want to know how you are using them - no matter what your religious beliefs are.   That's why it was good to see the state of Arizona finally take action to investigate the Colorado City Unified School District by executing a search warrant on the district's offices on Wednesday.  The Arizona Attorney General's office said it has been investigating the district for the past two years, but long before Wednesday the state would have had reason to investigate the district's finances.   For example, teachers went unpaid for three pay periods during the last school year and the district has a staff of approximately 100 paid employees to serve a student body that numbers around 300.  One can only imagine the numbers on the budget reports that were being sent into the state.   Given the makeup of the Colorado City community, which is mostly members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which teaches polygamy as one of its central tenets, one has to wonder if Arizona authorities were a bit apprehensive about taking action for fear of being accused of religious persecution.  It is only natural to not to want to be the one who led a 21st century version of the Short Creek raids.  However, getting a school district to account for how it is spending public funds has nothing to do with religion.  When someone accepts public monies, whether he has one wife or three, the state has a responsibility to make sure taxpayers' funds are used in an appropriate manner.     Read more
 
 
Twin City power plant to shut down July 1
By Patrice St. Germain
The Spectrum
Originally published June 15, 2005

HILDALE - With $20 million in outstanding debt, the Twin City power plant, which until January 2004 provided power for Colorado City and Hildale, will formally close down July 1, prompting the lay-off of at least four power department employees.   Power manager Lorin Fischer said the wholesale price of natural gas, which fuels the plant, has gone from $1.40 per decatherm when the plant first opened in January 1997 to $6.50 per decatherm.   "We lost functionality at $2.50," Fischer told the Hildale City Council at its meeting Tuesday morning.  "We are planning on mothballing the plant."   With the exception of three months last summer, the plant has been sitting idle since January 2004.  Because the plant will formally close down, Fischer said two employees would be laid off at the generation plant, along with another two working in accounting.   A lineman also may be laid off.   Fischer said one person would remain at the plant to keep things in running condition if the plant is needed for emergencies, and the power company is seeking to restructure the payments with bondholders.  Fischer expects a meeting with the bondholders to take place in the next 10 days.  Last year, only one principal payment was made on the debt to keep the company solvent.     Read more
 
 
Church trust worth $100 million
But many in sect live in poverty, get by on welfare
By Gwen Florio And Deborah Frazier
Rocky Mountain News
Originally published July 16, 2005

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. - The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is worth tens of millions of dollars, but its polygamist adherents are some of the poorest people in Arizona and Utah.   Authorities in those two states recently froze the sect's estimated $100 million trust fund to keep the group from selling off its assets, including the homes of the sect's members.   On June 22, the 3rd District Court in Utah issued a permanent injunction against sect leader Warren Jeffs as a trustee, and investigators in Arizona and Utah are eager to question him about the assets of the church trust.   Jeffs also has been indicted on child sexual abuse charges for arranging the "celestial" marriage of a 16-year-old girl to an older married man and faces a federal warrant for unlawful flight.   Both Arizona and Utah are pursuing the cases against the sect because most of its adherents live in this town, and its twin community of Hildale, Utah, in a sparsely populated stretch along the Arizona-Utah border.   The 1,895 people who live in Hildale rank next to last in Utah in per-capita income, according to the U.S. Census.   Colorado City residents rank ninth from last in Arizona.   Only people in towns on Indian reservations, the poorest communities in the country, fare worse.     Read more
 
 
Hildale police investigate fire, shooting report
Three juveniles may have fired shots at air tankers, police say
By Patrice St. Germain
The Spectrum
Originally published July 16, 2005

HILDALE - Hildale police and the Bureau of Land Management are investigating an incident concerning three juveniles who may have fired shots at air tankers fighting a fire in the area on Thursday night.   Hildale Mayor David Zitting said police told him three juveniles were seen in a yard in Hildale with a rifle and that they followed up on a report that the juveniles may have been shooting at the planes.   Zitting said the juveniles denied it, but their rifle was confiscated anyway.   "The police are very concerned about these juveniles having a rifle and the incident is still under investigation," Zitting said Friday evening.  "Any information our department gathers will be shared with the Bureau of Land Management."   David Boyd, spokesman for the BLM Arizona Strip office, said he was concerned that the juveniles were trying to hit the airplanes called in to fight the brush fire burning in the Maxwell Canyon area.     Read more
 
 
County budget adopted
By Jim Seckler
Mohave Daily News
Originally published August 1, 2005

KINGMAN - The Mohave County supervisors voted Monday 2-1 to formally adopt the county's proposed 2005/2006 budget.   District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson of Lake Havasu City voted against the budget saying he objected to adding two employees at the county attorney's office.   At the last Board meeting, District 1 Supervisor Pete Byers sought the additional employees in part to cover the recent crackdown on illegal under-age marriages in Colorado City.   This year's budget already included funding for a deputy county attorney and a secretary.     Read more
 
 
Colo. City reaps homeland security bounty
By Sharon Dunham
Today's News-Herald - Havasu City
Originally published Sunday, August 28, 2005

Colorado City may not be a major terrorist target, but its residents are cashing in on federal homeland security funds anyway.   The fire department at Colorado City, a tiny city tucked into northern Mohave County, received the third highest fire department grant in the state - $339,112.   Only the Phoenix Fire Department at $1,248,000 and the Huachuca City Fire Department at $666,541 received more.   Most of the Colorado City money is earmarked for training to address operations and safety improvements, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.   This is the second round of fiscal year 2005 grants for firefighters.  The department awarded 654 grants totaling more than $7 million to help fire departments and emergency medical service groups buy or receive training, first responder health and safety programs, equipment and response vehicles.   In Arizona, a half-dozen grants were awarded totaling more than $1 million.     Read more
 
 
Jeffs reportedly says no to taxes
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published Friday, September 9, 2005

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. - According to published reports, including the Salt Lake Tribune, Warren Jeffs, the leader of the FLDS Church, has allegedly instructed his followers to stop paying their property taxes.  That includes his followers in Colorado City, Ariz. and Hildale, Utah., who pay into the United Effort Plan.   According to Ron Nicholson, the Mohave County Assessor, the United Effort Plan is one of the largest taxpayers in Mohave County, and he has never before experienced a problem with the citizens of Colorado City.   "If that thing went to lien, you can be sure there would be all kinds of investors up there, who basically are in the business of buying these tax things from clear across the country," said Nicholson.     Read more
 
 
Taxes shouldn't support polygamy
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
The Spectrum
Originally published December 20, 2005

To the editor:

My wife and I moved to St. George a little over one year ago. We relocated here for a number of reasons, including a respect for the culture of its people. The LDS church has certainly instilled a strong sense of family and of community values.

Today, I was behind two women in FLDS dress purchasing over $400 of food with U.S. food stamps. How can this be? These are individuals belonging to a group of people that has some members who marry 13- and 14-year-old girls, and hide behind the pretext of a "religion" to perform acts that would land the rest of us in prison. How can a group of people this large and well organized manage to evade criminal prosecution for so long?

I have written to Sen. Hatch and requested his office to tell me what he is doing - not simply saying to actively pursue these people, bring them to justice, and stop these continuing acts of abuse against children. I will forward to you his response.

My tax dollars should not be going to support people such as these.

Thomas and Kathleen Jennings
St. George
 
 
Forbidden Fruit
Inbreeding among polygamists along the Arizona-Utah border is producing a caste of severely retarded and deformed children
By John Dougherty
Phoenix New Times
Originally published Thursday, December 29, 2005

Fifteen years ago, a strange-looking child suffering from severe physical maladies and acute retardation was brought into the office of Dr. Theodore Tarby.   The pediatric neurologist regularly deals with a wide range of serious childhood diseases as a doctor with the state-funded Children's Rehabilitative Services in Phoenix. Tarby says he quickly realized he was dealing with a very unusual condition that he could not diagnose.   He prepared urine samples and sent them to the University of Colorado Science Center's Dr. Steve Goodman, a professor of pediatrics who runs a laboratory that detects rare genetic diseases.   Goodman soon made a startling discovery: Tarby's young patient was afflicted with an extremely rare disease called fumarase deficiency.   "I had never seen a patient with it," Tarby says.   "Right away I asked the parents if there were any other children with the same problem."   The parents said their daughter had cerebral palsy.  Tarby asked them to bring the girl to him for an examination.   "As soon as I saw her, I knew she had the same thing as her brother," Tarby says.   The fact that fumarase deficiency had shown up in one child was startling enough -- there had only been a handful of cases reported worldwide.  But now that it was appearing in two children in the same family was an indication it was being spread by a gene that was getting passed to the children by their parents.     Read more
 
 
They should pay their own way
Letters From the Issue of Thursday, January 12, 2006
Phoenix New Times
Originally published January 12, 2006

Isn't it perfect that state officials refuse to tell New Times how much money is being spent to care for the caste of fumarase babies in Colorado City?  Hiding behind privacy laws is always a good tack.   It was already mind-boggling that the state is sending all that tax money up to polygamyland to fund the activities of the fundamentalist Mormon church.  Where are the indictments that [Arizona AG Terry Goddard] has all but promised of public school officials up there for diverting public money to Prophet Warren Jeffs?   And now, New Times' latest story on the polygamists!  That these people would be willing to ruin a bunch of children's lives because of their crazy religion aside, the state is being forced to fund an incredibly expensive medical problem.   When will this all end?  It may sound harsh when it comes to these poor kids, but if the polygamists want to do their own thing in the name of religion, they should have to pay their own way.

Tina Gunther, via the Internet
 
 
Appointee labors on Colorado City school finances
State receiver trims airplane, cell phones, cars from budget
By Nancy Perkins
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Wednesday, January 25, 2006

ST. GEORGE — An Arizona state receiver charged with taking financial and administrative control of the beleaguered Colorado City Unified School District has confiscated credit cards, cell phones and vehicles, and hired new staff.   Peter Davis, a certified public accountant and owner of Simons Consulting in Phoenix, was hired in early December to investigate and reform the rural school district.  The district serves about 355 students living in the polygamous communities that surround Colorado City on the Utah-Arizona border.   In a Jan. 15 report submitted Monday to the Arizona State Board of Education, Davis outlined the progress made to date and his plans for the future.   "We're still putting out financial fires," Davis said Tuesday.     Read more
 
 
Jessop: Colorado City squandering federal funds
By Mike Watkiss / 3TV Investigative reporter
KTVK NewsChannel 3 - Phoenix
Originally broadcast Friday, February 10, 2006

In the polygamous community of Colorado City, a practice known as "bleeding the beast" is allegedly taking place.   Activist for victims of Polygamy, Flora Jessop, who alerted authorities to the polygamist prophet Warren Jeffs' move to Texas, says city officials are taking in large sums of federal money and then using that money to fund things that the government never intended to fund.   Jessop says this practice has lead to rampant welfare fraud among polygamist families.  It's also, says Jessop, created a crisis in the city's school district.   And now there are serious questions about grant money supplied by Homeland Security is being misused by city officials.   "What is it going to take for [the government] to stop paying these criminals," asked Jessop.  "It's bleeding the beast.  They're using our government to fund their crimes."     Read more
 
 
Lawmakers back bailout for Colorado City's district
The Associated Press
KPHO News 5 - Phoenix
Originally broadcast February 15, 2006

PHOENIX Arizona legislators are moving to provide a one-point-three million bailout to a school district serving a remote community long dominated by a polygamist sect.   The House K-12 Education Committee today voted unanimously for a bill to provide the money as a way to help the Colorado City Unified School District to pay its debts while it reorganizes its administration and finances under the supervision of a state-appointed receiver.   Receiver Peter Davis says the district needs the money largely because members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are not paying property taxes on property owned by a trust under which church members collectively hold their property.   The legislation would require the district to repay the state within five years.  The bill next must clear a House Appropriations Committee before reaching the full House.
 
 
The Vent
The Spectrum
Originally published March 4, 2006

Utah seems to be in a confused state.  An openly polygamous judge was allowed to serve in Hildale for 25 years.  He has three wives and 32 children.   Isn't that a bit excessive?  Whatever happened to the idea of two or three children per family, or in his case, wife?   Why so many children?   I hope his wages supported them without the need for welfare.
 
 
Council wants grants to stay in Mohave County
Arizona news briefs
The Arizona Republic
Originally published May 9, 2006

KINGMAN - Members of the Western Arizona Council of Governments sent letters to a state agency telling it that more than $600,000 in Community Development Block Grants should remain in Mohave County.   The Arizona Department of Housing has proposed recapturing the federal funds, which were designated for Colorado City in far northern Arizona, to redistribute them to any community in the state on a competitive basis.   Housing Department spokesman Jeff Gray said the agency informed Colorado City on March 23 that the 2005 funds would be forfeited.  He said part of a road didn't meet federal standards and the city would lose the funds unless changes were made to comply.   Members of the governments association contend the money should remain in the county it was designated to help.
 
 
How polygamy affects your wallet
By Randi Kaye, CNN Correspondent
Anderson Cooper 360
CNN
Originally published Thursday, May 11, 2006

You may or may not agree with polygamist Warren Jeffs' lifestyle, and you may or may not think he is indeed the dangerous criminal the FBI says he is, but would you believe Jeffs and his followers are costing you money?  "Their religious belief is that they'll bleed the beast, meaning the government," said Mark Shurtleff, Utah's attorney general.  "They hate the government, so they'll bleed it for everything they can through welfare, tax evasion and fraud."  It makes some sense.  Polygamists have multiple wives and dozens of children, but the state only recognizes one marriage.  That leaves the rest of the wives to claim themselves as single moms with armies of children to support.  Doing that means they can apply for welfare, which they do.  And it's all legal.  "More than 65 percent of the people are on welfare ... compared with 6 percent of the people of the general population," Shurtleff said.  Shurtleff hasn't filed charges against Jeffs or his organization, but he's investigating Jeffs for "cooking the books," avoiding taxes, and even setting up offshore accounts.  One thing we do know is that Jeffs and his followers have not been paying their fair share of property taxes.  A judge appointed accountant Bruce Wisan to take control of the group's $110 million trust.  Wisan's biggest challenge: Collecting more than $1 million in overdue property taxes from polygamist property owners living in Colorado City, Arizona, where Jeffs' church is based.  "They've received benefits of living on trust land for free," Wisan said.  "They didn't pay for the land. In many cases it was community efforts that built the house. So all they have to pay are utilities and property taxes and I don't think that's unreasonable."
 
 
Outside inquiry sought for Homeland spending
By Susan Carroll
The Arizona Republic
Originally published May 12, 2006

Republican state lawmakers are calling for an outside audit of the Arizona Department of Emergency Management's handling of federal Homeland Security funds.   Gov. Janet Napolitano ordered a review of the spending in April in response to an Arizona Republic investigation that found hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of questionable purchases made with Homeland Security money.  Napolitano, a Democrat, has been in a long-standing struggle with Republican legislators over illegal immigration and homeland security, politically sensitive issues heading into the next election.   Rep. Jonathan Paton, R-Tucson, and House Speaker Jim Weiers, R-Phoenix, said they want an outside auditor, not someone appointed by the governor, to do an investigation.   "I don't really think that having one branch of government investigate itself is adequate when the entire safety of the state is at stake," Paton said.   Jeanine L'Ecuyer, the governor's spokeswoman, said she had no comment except to say that the review is already under way and should be completed by August.     Read more
 
 
Stop federal aid polygamists receive
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published May 15, 2006

Wouldn't it be interesting if any woman living in Hildale or Colorado City were automatically disqualified from receiving state welfare? I'm sure things there would change in a hurry. Maybe the residents there would start to realize they need to "obey" the laws of the government to receive benefits "from" the government.

Why should residents there receive welfare to support scores of children when they blatantly break the law when men take on more than one wife and father numerous children? And why are so many older boys suddenly not welcomed and forced out of the community? This is astutely suspicious.

If they value children so much, why do they rely on welfare to feed, clothe and provide medical care for them? And why are Arizona state building inspectors allowing families to move into unfinished homes, i.e., no exterior siding, no entry steps, no garage doors, no driveways, etc.? Could Phoenix residents get away with this? I think not! Come on Utah and Arizona! It's time to play "tit for tat." Obey the law or give up the benefits it affords. It's insulting for all of us law-abiding citizens to watch this happen year after year.

Nadine Mangus
Santa Clara
 
 
The AZ Polygamy Town Airport Built With Fed $$$Mns
Built W/ Fed Millions: What's Up At AZ Polyg Town Airport?
By Suzan Mazur
Scoop Independent News - New Zealand
Originally published Tuesday, 6 June 2006

The first shock is the realization that an airport costing Americans $3 million exists in the polygamist-owned Arizona wastelands of Colorado City.   It sits "Spielberg-like" north of the Grand Canyon, east of the Colorado River and serves a handful of planes.  How and why it materialized is the second shock.  But most disturbing is what a town of outlaw cultists might be using an isolated airstrip for under the radar.   By the way, Arizona forbids polygamy - had to as a condition to US statehood.  And polygamy has been illegal in the US for over 100 years (Edmunds Tucker Act). Polygamy is also recognized by 182 countries - including the US - as a human rights violation under the 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.   However, Arizona's legislature - traditionally Republican - has never enacted a criminal penalty regarding polygamy.   So Article XX of the Arizona Constitution is virtually meaningless: "Polygamous or plural marriages, or polygamous co-habitation, are forever prohibited within the State."  Moreover, the state's bigamy statute does not include co-habitation and thus gives free rein to the practice of plural marriage.   Polygamy enforcement in Arizona therefore falls to the FBI to investigate.  Instead, the victimization continues. And continues to be state and federally funded - despite front page exposes in the media for much of the last decade establishing that Colorado City residents, who are members of the Mormon polygamist church called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, have been brainwashed by generations of sexual predators posing as prophets and priests to believe that plural marriage is the way to heaven.  The latter never revealing heaven was their own sick fantasy.     Read more
 
 
County budget in flux over tax cuts
By Jim Seckler
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Saturday, June 17, 2006

KINGMAN - The rapid increase in Mohave County's population and a proposed property tax cut has created a nightmare in shaping the county's budget.   Mohave County officials held a workshop Friday to forge the 2006-07 fiscal year budget for one of the fastest growing counties in the country.   "We're losing ground to growth," Mohave County Manager Ron Walker said.   "Our growth is overrunning us."   County department heads en masse asked the county Board of Supervisors for more staff to handle the increasing services required by the growing population.   County Finance Director John Timko said this year's budget is projected to be about $89.9 million for general fund expenses and about $79.9 million for projected revenues.  This year's contingency fund is projected to be about $9.9 million.   The general fund also calls for 12 new full-time employees.  Ninety-two employees were requested.  Other funding would pay to add 20.7 full-time employees.   Timko also said the county should move forward with a new county jail, medical examiner's office and county morgue as well as a record's warehouse.     Read more
 
 
FLDS families relying on your tax dollars
By Darcy Spears
KVBC News 3 - Las Vegas
Originally broadcast September 1, 2006

Since July, our News 3 Investigators have been reporting on how millions of your local tax dollars are being given to FLDS construction companies here in the valley through government contracts.  But as Darcy Spears tell us, that's not the only way you're paying for the polygamist way of life.  Food stamps and welfare are government programs that are supposed to be reserved for the poor.  Yet these programs are almost exclusively supporting the FLDS families in Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona.  But as we uncovered through inside sources, it's not because they don't make their own money, it's because they're not allowed to keep it.  Poverty is evident in the multitude of unfinished homes in the FLDS communities of Colorado City and Hildale.  Former FLDS member Isaac Wyler says people can't afford to finish their houses, let alone eat.  "Probably 90 percent of this town relies on the government in one form or another."     Read more
 
 
Kingman to get transit money
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published November 28, 2006

KINGMAN - Kingman, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu City, Colorado City and Mohave County will share $555,111 in Local Transportation Assistance Funds.  A news release from the Western Arizona Council of Governments states the funds are generated from a formula that distributes a portion of Powerball revenues and they must be used exclusively for transit services.  Based on population, the total award amounts are $196,171 to Mohave County, $157,749 for Lake Havasu, $112,802 to Bullhead, $76,343 for Kingman, and $12,044 to Colorado City.     Read more
 
 
THE VENT
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published December 9, 2006

I work at a medical office in St. George that accepts Medicaid.  I think people should be aware that there are some polygamists severely abusing the system.  The state only recognizes one wife.  The other wives are considered "single moms."  These women have as many children as they can.  Imagine one man has five wives.  He is only legally responsible for one wife and her children.  If the other wives each have 10 children, that leaves four "single moms" and 40 children eligible for Medicaid.  The lifestyle of polygamist families is excessive and illegal and we are paying for it.  Why are they getting away with this?
 
 
Polygamists were left out of state budget
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published December 22, 2006

I read The Spectrum article about Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr., unveiling a massive and unprecedented budget of more than $10 billion. While I applaud his support for teachers and education, why can't the tiny segment of adult polygamists get a little support and protection under his budget? I'm not talking about the child bride predators. They should be prosecuted. However, the state has older polygamists who live quiet lives and who are open and honest with each other; they should have some sort of protection instead of living life underground.

News accounts tell of abandoned FLDS houses in Southern Utah while affordable housing in Salt Lake City and Provo is scarce. Matching people up with available resources shouldn't be stigmatized by the "polygamist label."

I'd like to see the governor come out of the shadows and openly include adult polygamists as part of his constituency and as part of budgetary dialogue. Ignoring that subculture hasn't snuffed it out. It has merely deprived that group of voicing its needs, which are just as viable to the state budget as is any other group.

James A. Marples
Longview, Texas
 
 
THE VENT
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published June 9, 2007

Why isn't Warren Jeffs being charged with welfare fraud and tax evasion?  He has ordered thousands of his followers to do just that and they have complied (aka: "Bleeding the Beast.")  I understand the rape as an accomplice charge but am puzzled as to why that is the only charge.  Answers anyone?
 
 
Polygamist numbers broken down by group
Deseret Morning News
Originally published August 11, 2007

  • 8,000 belong to the Fundamentalist LDS Church

  • 2,000 are ex-FLDS members but may still be considered fundamentalists

  • 7,500 belong to the Apostolic United Brethren ("the Allred group")

  • 1,500 belong to Centennial Park

  • 1,500 belong to the Davis Cooperative Society ("the Kingstons")

  • 1,500 belong to smaller groups such as the TLC, the Blackmores, the Neilson/Naylor group

  • 15,000 are "independents," who are fundamentalists not affiliated with any group
Source: Anne Wilde
 
 
Rising property values create sticker shock
By Katie Oliveri
The Spectrum
Originally published August 17, 2007

ST. GEORGE — Eugene Martin, a resident of Leeds, said the taxable value of his home went from $158,000 last year to $279,000 this year, according to the disclosure notice he recently received.  Martin expects to pay about a 72 percent increase in property taxes this year, saying he paid about $835 last year and is expected to pay about $1,436 this year.  He said he's planning to appeal the value of his home.  Disclosure notices were recently sent out to all property owners in Washington County.  Though not the tax bill, the notice gives property owners an idea of what to expect as far as how much they should estimate to pay in taxes for this year.  Tax bills are sent out around the end of October and are due by Nov. 30.  And through an appeal process, held from now until Sept. 17, a property owner can disagree with the value of their properties and supply information to show it should be different than what the county has it assessed for, officials said.  The process allows people to discuss the value of their properties, not how much the tax is.     Read more
 
 
THE VENT
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published October 13, 2007

Let's do some voucher math.  The elementary school in Hildale can accommodate 650 students making it one of the largest private schools in Utah.  Each of these students would probably qualify for the maximum voucher subsidy of $3,000.  If we times $3,000 by 650 we get $1,950,000.  This would give them a great incentive to reopen their school.  Do the taxpayers of Utah really want to send almost $2 million a year to subsidize this or any school with almost no accountability?
 
 
Resident hopes to change tax rules
By Joy Cooney
For The Spectrum & Daily News
Originally published October 17, 2007

LEEDS - A Leeds resident who says he's fed up with what he describes as unfair property tax increases is trying to rally like-minded Utahns to work toward changes in legislation.  Jim Bray, a 12-year Washington County resident, said he had an increase in his property taxes five years ago and four years before that.  He said he accepted the increases primarily because of civic obligation and the understanding that any appeal would be without legal merit.  However, this year's tax bill provoked him to take action.  "I'm tired of choking it down and letting the taxes go up one more time without doing something about it," he said, "because I truly feel like it is unfair taxation."  Bray and other Washington County residents are circulating a petition to bring attention to the issue and provoke discussion among legislators.  He said while some properties incurred little tax increase, and some even saw a decrease, other properties "were hit with up to a 100 percent increase."  Calvin Robison, Washington County Clerk, said the average increase in the county was 10 percent, but some areas like Leeds and Pine Valley, because of market value, saw much larger increases ranging from 30 to 100 percent.  Areas that dropped in market value, like Hildale, saw decreases.     Read more
 
 
Why widen cultural divide?
Opinion
Deseret Morning News
Originally published October 18, 2007

Because of the minimal requirements for starting new private schools, if vouchers pass we will have many new ethnically based schools — from LDS to Hispanic and Muslim to polygamist.  A large part of the efforts of these schools will be indoctrination in the beliefs and traditions and — yes — the superiority of their ethnicities.  The result, even if unintended, will be to accentuate the cultural divide in Utah.  Is this what we want?

Jerre Winder
Salt Lake City
 
 
Vouchers will help polygamy schools
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
The Spectrum
Originally published October 23, 2007

The educational neglect, which has occurred in the polygamous town of Hildale, could be alleviated with a $3,000 voucher per child for education. A large percent of these children go to private polygamy schools, like the Alta Academy, where Warren Jeffs was the principle. Jeffs' many taped speeches could be their basic curriculum. Teacher accreditation or academic guidelines for private schools are negligible.

Vouchers could be an incentive to educate these children, by keeping them in school, instead of marrying their daughters at age 14, or exiling teenage boys from the community.

Polygamous families are known for their extra large families. Fathers often have a dozen or more children. Single mothers' incomes are consistently below the poverty level, according to our state from the number of members who qualify for food stamps or Medicaid.

Many students would qualify for the $3,000 maximum voucher. The brethren could then have an additional source of revenue from the parent's vouchers.

If this is how you want your tax dollars spent, then vote accordingly. If you prefer state guidelines, accreditation, accountability and curriculum by the state of your property tax dollars, which are used for education, then vote "NO."

Darlyne Olson
St. George
 
 
Questions for voucher crowd
Opinion
The Herald Journal - Logan, Utah
Originally published Sunday, October 28, 2007

To the editor:

Perhaps someone who supports a voucher program can tell me what would prevent public tax money, at $3,000 a pop, from going to families in a polygamist community to support their "private school." What would keep a group of militant Muslims from starting a school where, with my money subsidizing them, young men rocking back and forth would memorize the Quran and prepare for Jihad? Surely some provision I've been unable to find would prevent such abuse of taxpayer funds.

And perhaps the proponents of vouchers should be told that when their computers dial my phone (twice so far) and a recorded voice asks for my opinion on questions loaded to sway my opinion ("Should parents have the right to choose their children's school?"), I recognize it not as a survey but as blatant propaganda, and I get angry enough to write a letter.

Will Pitkin
 
 
Polygamist Community Rakes in Taxpayer-Funded Benefits
John Hollenhorst reporting
KSL TV Channel 5
Originally broadcast November 12, 2007

Residents of the polygamist community headed by Warren Jeffs receive food stamps and taxpayer-funded medical care at rates many times higher than the rest of us.  An Eyewitness News investigation raises questions about whether they get more than they're entitled to.  In Warren Jeffs' territory, it's not uncommon for one family to consist of several wives and dozens of children.  People often wonder, "How can they afford such large families?"  The short answer is, they get lots of help from you, the taxpayer.  It's no secret that it takes a lot of groceries to feed the typical family in this community.  But even a long-time resident was surprised when we told him how reliant the polygamist community is on food stamps.  Former FLDS Church member Richard Holm said, "To have those kind of ratios, it's just wrong. It's sick and wrong in my view."  Holm was kicked out of the FLDS Church when Warren Jeffs came to power.  But as a long-time resident he's familiar with one key fact: Most residents are kids.  "People are encouraged to have large families. I think the median age in this community is probably unique in America," he said.  On the Utah side of town, the median age is 13.  Across the street in Arizona, it's 14.  The national median age is 35!  To feed that local surplus of kids, it helps if you can pay the bills with a taxpayer-funded Horizon "food stamp" card.  State officials administer the program using federal dollars.  Curt Stewart, of the Utah Department of Workforce Services, said, "It's something they decided years ago, that people need to eat. And the best way to do that is to somehow subsidize their income."     Read more
 
 
Jeffs' departure quick, quiet
By Patrice St. Germain
The Spectrum
Originally published November 29, 2007

HURRICANE - With none of the fanfare that surrounded polygamist leader Warren Jeffs' arrival in Washington County, the convicted felon's departure was handled quickly and quietly following his sentencing Nov. 20.  Since then, Jeffs, 51, the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has been housed at the Point of the Mountain prison in Draper and is undergoing a five-week assessment.  Department of Corrections spokesman Jack Ford said the receiving and orientation assessment, which includes a complete psychological and psychiatric evaluation, is the first step for a prisoner.  Because Jeffs was found guilty of two counts of rape as an accomplice for arranging the marriage between a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin, both first-degree felonies, and sentenced to five years to life on each count, it will be about three years before Jeffs will be eligible to go before the Board of Pardons.  Jeffs had made the FBI's 10 most wanted list before he was apprehended during a routine traffic stop on Interstate 15 outside of Las Vegas and was extradited to Utah.  Once Jeffs arrived in Utah, the costs for the Washington County Sheriff's Office quickly began to mount for extra security at Purgatory Correctional Facility as well as courtroom security during Jeffs' numerous court appearances.  Between the sheriff's office and St. George Police, about $110,000 was spent to provide security at the courthouse.     Read more
 
 
The Vent
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published December 8, 2007

My 3-year-old grandson was recently diagnosed with a disease that renders him permanently disabled.  Monthly treatments alone cost $3,000 a month, so his mother went to the Social Security office to ask for help.  She and her husband were told they make too much money.  My daughter works part-time and her husband makes barely enough to survive, and yet, the child of an illegal immigrant or polygamous family clearly gets help from that same office.  Something is clearly wrong in our country!
 
 
Bill offers tax break to rural residents
By Suzanne Adams
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published February 12, 2008

In an already tight year, things may get even tighter for cities in Mohave County.  A new senate bill introduced by Sen. Bob Burns of Peoria would give county residents living outside incorporated areas a 15 percent credit on their income taxes.  The credit would come out of the Urban Revenue Sharing Fund.  The state collects income tax from residents, deposits it into the Urban Revenue Sharing Fund and then distributes the money to cities.  The amount of money each city gets depends on its population.  This fiscal year, according to officials from the three major cities in Mohave County, Kingman will receive around $3.6 million, Bullhead City around $5.38 million and Lake Havasu City around $6 million.  The numbers are slightly skewed because they are based on income taxes collected two years ago, Bullhead City Public Information Officer Rob LaFontaine said.  The county does not get any money from the fund, County Finance Director John Timko said.  Sen. Ron Gould, who is a co-sponsor of the bill, said the tax is unfair to residents who live in unincorporated areas because they do not see any benefit from the tax.  Lake Havasu City Finance Director Gayle Whittle disagrees.  Residents who live in unincorporated areas use streets and infrastructure when they come to the cities, she said.  A tax credit to residents in unincorporated areas means that those residents could essentially use city roads and services for free.     Read more
 
 
FLDS use of welfare raises serious issues
Letters
San Angelo Standard-Times
Originally published Sunday, April 13, 2008

Editor:

It must take large amounts of money to support the members of the FLDS - food, housing, clothing, etc. Even though they have a ready supply of free labor, they still need cash. According to CBS News, one source of income is from welfare checks to "single mothers." The so-called "spiritual wives" have numerous babies and, technically, are not married to the father of the children - only a "spiritual" relationship exists. Therefore, they are classed as single mothers and are eligible for welfare assistance - the more babies, the greater the assistance.

This condition must satisfy the legal requirement for such assistance but surely it violates the intent of the assistance. Seems to me this is a blatant misuse of the intention of the welfare assistance and a planned and calculated abuse of public funds.

Gordon H. Emerson
San Angelo
 
 
Government awarded contracts to companies owned by FLDS Church leaders
KSL 5 TV
Originally broadcast April 14th, 2008

(KSL News) There is new evidence that the U.S. government helped fund the FLDS Church.  NBC News obtained documents that show the Pentagon awarded at least $1.5 million in contracts for aircraft parts and other equipment to two companies owned and operated by top FLDS Church officials.  A lot of the money went to a business owned by top church leader Wendell Nielsen.  A 2005 affidavit from Nielsen's own son said Nielsen's company, Western Precision, sent as much as $100,000 a month to the sect.  Private eye Sam Brower has investigated the polygamist sect for five years.  "The likelihood that church-run businesses funded the compound in Texas is 100 percent," he said.  Western Precision, which is now named New Era Manufacturing, did not respond to NBC's calls.  The Pentagon says it does not consider a company's religious affiliation in awarding contracts, only cost and performance.
 
 
Low bids win jobs for polygamists
By Thomas Hargrove and Gavin Off
Scripps Howard News Service
Deseret News
Originally published Thursday, April 17, 2008

WASHINGTON — Members of a polygamist sect have built a network of construction companies in Western states that recently have won millions of dollars in public works contracts by making extremely low bids.  Critics of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints say the successes of these companies stem from cheap labor that include young men performing church mission work at little or no pay as part of their religious obligation to the sect.  The sect drew national attention this month after the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services removed 416 children from the sprawling 1,700-acre Yearning for Zion Ranch near Eldorado, Texas, amid allegations of child sexual abuse.  The children were removed and their mothers left voluntarily from the vast 79-building complex that carries an appraised value of $21 million.  Among the most successful enterprises run by members of the sect are at least three construction and contracting companies based in Hildale, Utah.  The largest of these is JNJ Engineering Construction Inc. owned by sect member Jacob Nathan Jessop for whom the company is named.  "If you don't have to pay for labor, you can really underbid for contracts. It has become a huge problem for other contractors," said Flora Jessop of Phoenix, the contractor's cousin.  Government procurement officers say they have been surprised at the dramatically low bids JNJ has submitted in recent years.  "We were nervous because their bid was so much lower than anyone else's," said Pamela Lynn, senior procurement officer of the Mohave County, Ariz., procurement department.     Read more
 
 
Pentagon paid $1.7 million to firms of polygamy bosses
By Randi Kaye
CNN
Originally published Friday, April 18, 2008

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The U.S. government paid more than $1.7 million in defense contracts over the last decade to companies owned by leaders of Warren Jeffs' polygamous sect, with tens of thousands allegedly winding its way back to Jeffs and his church.  In fact, some of the deals were made after Jeffs was named to the FBI's "Most-Wanted List" and remained in place while he was on the run.  CNN has learned that between 1998 and 2007, the United States Air Force and Defense Logistics Agency purchased more than $1.7 million worth of airplane parts from three companies owned by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which practices polygamy.  Those companies are Utah Tool and Die, Western Precision and NewEra Manufacturing.  Today, the companies all operate under the name NewEra Manufacturing, a company based in Las Vegas, Nevada, that says it supplies precision components "for the aerospace, military, medical, recreational and other commercial entities."  "It was my understanding that Western Precision was paying roughly $50,000 a week into the coffers of the church," former sect member Richard Holm said.  "It would have been close to $200,000 a month."  Holm said he helped build Western Precision.  A court affidavit signed by a man whose father was the president of Western Precision makes similar allegations.  "During 2003, the amount being sent to the storehouse and the FLDS was around $100,000 per month," John Nielsen said in the October 26, 2005, affidavit.  "I have personal knowledge that checks sent to the FLDS Church/Warren Jeffs by [Western Precision] are payable to the FLDS Church and/or Warren Jeffs."     Read more
 
 
Question sect's finances
Letters
San Angelo Standard-Times
Originally published Sunday, April 20, 2008

Editor:

This is in regards to a letter to the editor about a CBS story on who is paying the bills for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was unaware that it was my taxes at work.

Men in the FLDS register being married only once but are spiritually married to several women who then file for aid to dependent children? Surely this cannot be true.

It would explain why they live the way they do, especially their control over the women and children. Abuse of any kind early in a child's development establishes complete control over them for life. I understand therapy is sometimes effective but not always.

To do this in the name of God is incomprehensible. In the Bible, it is called adultery. In Texas, it is called the same thing. It's having your cake and eating it, too.

If I understand this right, a man get's married and has some kids, cheats on his wife with several women, has many kids by each woman and the government pays him for it.

Judy Scott
San Angelo
 
 
Utah AG should learn from Texas
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
The Spectrum
Originally published April 30, 2008

It is with much dismay that once again, our state attorney general has become an apologist for the FLDS. On the news this evening, he stated that the state of Texas had gone too far. Well Mr. Attorney General, it is a far better response than your "do nothing, but talk about it" approach.

I am still angry when I am behind these people at Wal-Mart or Costco with huge baskets of supplies paying with a Federal food stamp card at my expense. Watching them place it in their new large SUV simply compounds that anger. Why not take a few lessons from the Texas response, and maybe we can begin to identify the non-paying fathers of all these children and start putting them in jail where they belong for welfare fraud among other less savory offenses.

Mr. Attorney General, you have yet again been upstaged. The fact that you are paid from our taxes makes your non-action sickening.

Thomas A. Jennings
St. George
 
 
Hearings sought on FLDS contracts
Deseret News
Originally published Wednesday, April 30, 2008

WASHINGTON — A Texas congresswoman is calling for hearings into government contracts given to a business with ties to the Fundamentalist LDS Church.  Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth, sent a letter to the House Armed Services Committee requesting a hearing about $1.2 million in Department of Defense contracts that went to New Era Manufacturing.  Granger acknowledged in her letter that religious affiliation should not be a determining factor for contracts, but she sought more scrutiny on companies.  As a member of Congress, I am concerned that federal tax dollars may have been misused to fund this sect's illegal activities, she wrote in a letter to the committee.  New Era Manufacturing was formerly Western Precision, which left the FLDS enclave of Hildale and relocated to Nevada.
 
 
Texas rep calls for probe of FLDS firm receiving defense contracts
BY TRISH CHOATE, Standard-Times Washington Bureau
San Angelo Standard-Times
Originally published Saturday, May 3, 2008

WASHINGTON - San Angelo's congressman said he favors a congressional probe into a company with ties to the Schleicher County polygamist sect raided last month, but he's not rushing to judgment about the defense contractor based in Nevada.  U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Midland, a member of the committee that might investigate, said the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ran legitimate businesses.  NewEra Manufacturing of Las Vegas reportedly was awarded more than $1 million in defense contracts.  "We still live in a country where you're innocent until proven guilty," Conaway said.  A NewEra representative said allegations about wages at the company are "just absolutely nonsense."  Conaway's 11th Congressional District includes Schleicher County, site of the sect's YFZ Ranch, raided last month on suspicions of widespread child abuse and forced "marriages."  The FLDS practices a form of plural marriage with unions not intended to be recognized by the law, and split decades ago from the mainstream Mormon Church.  A weeklong raid began April 3 at the ranch near Eldorado and resulted in 463 sect children being taken into state custody.  The recent birth of a baby boy brings the total to 464.  Allegations of physical and sexual abuse at the compound surfaced after telephone calls to a San Angelo women's shelter from someone saying she was 16, the mother of an 8-month-old and an abuse victim at the hands of her 50-year-old spiritual "husband" at the compound.  Authorities now suspect the phone calls were a hoax but don't expect that would weaken their case.  A Texas congresswoman requested the House Armed Services Committee conduct an investigative hearing into Department of Defense contracts awarded to NewEra Manufacturing of Las Vegas.  The company was awarded $1.2 million in no-bid defense contracts, U.S. Rep. Kay Granger said in a recent letter to committee leaders.  The Fort Worth Republican is concerned that tax dollars might have funded illegal activities and about reports that the company made sect members labor for little or no pay.     Read more
 
 
Stop public support of FLDS lifestyle
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published May 7, 2008

"FLDS men should wait until girls are 18 years old. Then they can marry as many girls as they want." What is being recommended in this statement from a recent letter is called polygamy and is illegal in this country. The FLDS population has multiplied many times over since they left the mainstream LDS Church many years ago.

I think we'll find that most all of these folks are blood related when DNA testing is complete.

Not only is all this activity illegal, but in my opinion is immoral as well. FLDS members criminally abuse our government assistance programs. Only wife No. 1 is legally married to their husband. All other sister wives and their children qualify for welfare because spiritual marriages are not legal, and therefore, these women are considered unwed single mothers and receive the maximum payment for them and their many children. We are all supporting the FLDS lifestyle through our tax dollars. This needs to stop!

Les Anderson
Cedar City
 
 
Children eligible for welfare
By James Thalman
Deseret News
Originally published Sunday, May 18, 2008

Texas is a big state that has big social problems on its hands, but finding funds for 464 children now in foster care that came from formerly financially self-sufficient families won't be one of them, state child welfare and experts said last week.  Although the Texas Health and Human Services Commission has reported that none of the families who are members of the west Texas FLDS sect targeted by child protective services were on welfare, by becoming wards of the state they will be eligible for various taxpayer-funded social services they weren't using before the April 3 raid.  Actual numbers of recipients and total amounts spent to underwrite the families not now being taken care of are still being tabulated, said Stephanie Goodman, a spokeswoman for Texas human services.  Whatever the figure, the amount will be minimal, and the governor has promised that appropriations to cover the costs will be made in any case.  The Houston Chronicle has reported that not one of the nearly 3,000 residents of Schleicher County, where the Yearning for Zion Ranch is located, is receiving state assistance.  There are just more than 200 receiving federal food stamps, and there are 63 children enrolled in the joint state and federal Children's Health Insurance Program.  The newspaper also reports that 283 residents are covered by Medicaid, the government medical insurance plan for the poor.  The splinter group, which actively seeks the least possible involvement with government — local zoning ordinances the most notable exception — has had a history in other states of using whatever financial supplements provided by the government.  Six years ago, the Utah Attorney General's Office reported that between 65 and 80 percent of the residents of polygamous families in Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, were on food stamps.  In 1998, statistics from the federal government showed that Colorado City and Hildale were on a list of the top 10 towns with a population of more than 2,000 "most reliant" on Medicaid.     Read more
 
 
Senate panel suggests taking FLDS sect's assets to cover costs
By JOHN MORITZ
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Originally published Wednesday, May 21, 2008

AUSTIN -- With the price tag of providing care for more than 400 children seized last month from a polygamist ranch in West Texas expected to reach the tens of millions of dollars, a legislative panel suggested Tuesday that the state explore garnishing the religious organization's assets to recoup the costs.  "That compound didn't grow out of fairy dust," Sen. Robert Deuell, R-Greenville, said after a Senate Finance Committee hearing in which he urged state health officials to determine whether members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or even the sect as a whole, should be held responsible for the cost of care.  "Why should we be footing the bill when they've got assets?"  The remarks came after the panel heard testimony that providing foster care, Medicaid coverage and casework for the children from the YFZ (Yearning For Zion) Ranch will likely cost taxpayers more than $1.7 million a month for as long as they are in state custody.  The figure does not include the $5.3 million for the first six weeks of the operation or the cost of providing the required legal representation for each of the children, which is likely to cost at least $2.2 million.     Read more
 
 
FLDS custody case has cost more than $5.2 million
By Amy Joi O'Donoghue
Deseret News
Originally published Wednesday, May 21, 2008

SAN ANGELO, Texas — A month after the raid on the FLDS ranch in Eldorado, Texas, state agencies had racked up $1.7 million in overtime costs and are now footing a monthly bill of $1.3 million to keep some 460 children in state custody, a new report shows.  Presented to lawmakers Tuesday in Austin, the report details the overwhelming nature of the public dollars expended as a result of the April 3 raid at the YFZ Ranch.  Members of the Texas Legislature's Senate Finance Committee got what must have been the grim, albeit anticipated news during an interim meeting featuring top officials with the Commission on Health and Human Services.  All told the price tag — which is continuing to be tallied because all invoices have not been received — comes to a little more than $5.2 million.  That includes local costs endured by county and city entities.  The city of San Angelo took the brunt of the local fiscal beating, chewing up a little more than $400,000 in expenses in part as a result of temporarily housing hundreds of children at a pair of makeshift shelters, as well as many of the mothers.  The report also warned that it is not over yet, detailing additional resources the state Department of Family and Protective Services will require as it continues to supervise children in custody, monitor family service plans being adopted in the Tom Green County Courthouse in San Angelo and work toward what officials say is the ultimate goal of reunification.     Read more
 
 
FLDS sect case hits CPS staff in wallet
By JOHN MORITZ
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Originally published Sunday, May 25, 2008

AUSTIN -- The strain of handling the huge child custody case involving a polygamous sect in West Texas is trickling down through the ranks of Child Protective Services caseworkers who are pinching pennies while waiting for the state to repay them for overdue travel expenses.  Officials from the Texas Department of Family Protective Services say the agency is struggling to reduce a growing backlog in reimbursement requests for out-of-pocket expenses from caseworkers in the field who say the skyrocketing price of gasoline is hampering their ability to do their jobs.  Darrell Azar, a spokesman for the agency that oversees Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services, blamed the backlog in part on the ongoing operations at the West Texas polygamist ranch where more than 460 children have been taken into state custody.  But he also said the agency will soon hire an additional auditor and as many as eight temporary employees to process the avalanche of expense reports being filed not only from the West Texas operations but also from caseworkers statewide.  We are behind, there's no doubt," Azar said last week.  "But plans are in place to speed up reimbursements."  Azar said the agency has heard "anecdotal complaints" from CPS workers that they are having to dig deeper into their own pockets as they drive hundreds of miles a week checking up on youngsters in foster care or on parents at risk of losing custody of their children.  The agency normally processes reimbursement within two to three weeks after they are submitted, but the backlog has extended the time by a couple of weeks, he said.     Read more
 
 
Council to mull extension of impact fee waiver
By Ken Hedler
The Daily Courier - Prescott, Arizona
Originally published Tuesday, June 17, 2008

PRESCOTT VALLEY - The Prescott Valley Town Council voted in May 2003 to exempt nonresidential construction from impact fees with the goal of stimulating commercial and industrial development.  Three years later, the council voted to extend the exemption for five years pending the completion of a study on impact fees.  But in September 2006, the council adopted a resolution that extends the suspension of fees until Aug. 6 of this year.  The council will discuss whether to extend the exemption for two additional years at a work/study meeting Thursday, believing doing so will encourage the construction of sales-tax-generating retailers.  They include the Wal-Mart supercenter and the Sportsman's Warehouse.  However, a continuing exemption flies in the face of a lawsuit that the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona filed against Prescott Valley and the City of Prescott in November 2006 in Yavapai County Superior Court. The association alleged in the lawsuit that the exemption discriminates against residential construction.  "We are still in the early stages of the lawsuit," Assistant Town Attorney Colleen Auer said.  "Right now we are engaging some discovery," which involves obtaining documentation and depositions.  "Actually, the homebuilders (association) is requesting some discovery from us."  Auer said, "We made it clear that residential is not subsidizing commercial infrastructure needs."  She described impact fees as "kind of a one-time assessment."  The home-builders are paying for their public improvements, and "not for anybody else," she said.     Read more
 
 
Sect-affiliated company bids on Tom Green County project
By Paul A. Anthony
San Angelo Standard-Times
Originally published Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A company affiliated with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has placed a bid to work on a Tom Green County construction project - the first time the embattled polygamist sect's construction arm is believed to have entered the local market.  The company placed a bid to build and install cabinets for the $5 million expansion of a pair of correctional facilities owned by the county and run by the state, the project's contractor confirmed.  He declined to name which of the several sect-affiliated companies placed the bid.  "It's the first time I ever received a bid from them," said Duane Rodgers, owner of Cypress-based Multi-D Construction, the contractor for the project.  "Their references checked out good."  The sect's company is allowed under state law to participate in the bidding process.  Although unlikely to be accepted, the bid has raised eyebrows among local contractors.  They fear the sect could replicate here what it has successfully done in other states - dramatically underbid for public-works projects in which the city or county would have no choice but to accept the lowest offer.  That's a different scenario from the cabinet bid, which is managed by the private contractor.  Multi-D can choose the bid it likes best, and Rodgers said he tends to choose companies with whom he has a good history.  Likewise, the official overseeing the project said the contractor has been told to steer business to San Angelo firms whenever possible.  "We've tried to use as many local contracts as possible," said John Wilmoth, director of the Concho Valley Community Supervision and Corrections Department.  "He's done that, for the most part."  Sect spokesman Rod Parker stressed that the sect-affiliated company is allowed by law to be a bidder.     Read more
 
 
Twin City Power's fate left to voters
BY PATRICE ST. GERMAIN
The Spectrum
Originally published October 6, 2008

Voters in Hildale will have something extra on the November election ballot concerning bond indebtedness, which stems from the Twin City Power Company.  The company, which distributes electricity to the Hildale and Colorado City areas and was once a producer of power, is in default on bonds, in excess of $19 million, issued to build the system, which became operational in 1997.  The ballot question is asking voters if the city should be authorized to sell or transfer electrical distribution and power assets issued in 1995 and 1997 in exchange for relief of bond indebtedness from the trustee, bondholders and/or Wells Fargo Bank.  Hildale business manager Jerry Barlow is hoping to have a large turnout at the election.  "It is important we get as high a turnout as possible so we have a good view of what the community is deciding," Barlow said.  Selling off the power company that hasn't generated its own electricity since 2005 and now purchases power through UAMPS (Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems) would ultimately lead to some relief for residents who pay 12.5 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity.  According to the Rocky Mountain Power Web site, customers in Utah pay less than 8 cents per kilowatt hour and the national average is listed at 10.08 cents per kilowatt hour.  About 35 percent of the Twin City Power users are in arrears on payments, Barlow said, which is about 15 percent lower than the two years when about 50 percent of the customers were behind on payments.     Read more
 
 
The Vent
The Spectrum
Originally published November 8, 2008

Attention middle class families that are struggling: Don't attempt to get food stamps because they go by "federal" guidelines.  Unless you are illegal or a polygamist, you had better be unemployed, divorced or homeless.  I make $12 per hour before they take out my medical and taxes.  I am married with three kids.  My husband has commission, only income and we all know how that is working out for people around here, and I was told I make too much money to receive food stamps.  They told me to go to the shelter.
 
 
Texas spent $12.4 million to remove women and children from polygamous ranch
The Associated Press
Dallas Morning News
Originally published Friday, November 21, 2008

SALT LAKE CITY — The temporary care and shelter of women and children removed from a polygamous sect's Texas ranch cost the state more than $12.4 million, child welfare authorities said.  The amount represents the final cost of the "San Angelo Mass Care Event," said Texas Department of Family and Protective Services spokesman Patrick Crimmins.  An accounting of expenses following the raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch — the Eldorado, Texas, home of the Utah-based Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — was reported in a copyrighted story Friday by the Deseret News.  Some 439 children were removed from the ranch in April after an allegation of abuse.  Dozens of women left with the children, living in temporary shelters in San Angelo before the state placed the children in group homes or foster care.  Only one child remains in state custody and most families are no longer being supervised by the child welfare agency.  Of the $12.4 million, $4 million was for goods and services at two temporary shelters.  Nearly $1 million was spent on a "unified command center" and another $1 million went for buses to transport the children to housing across Texas.  The combined costs of foster-care placement, security and Medicaid topped $3.3 million.  Crimmins said the total does not include any ongoing costs associated with family supervision or court or attorney fees.  Last week a district judge signed an order authorizing payments to hundreds of attorneys recruited to represent to children.  The judge set a cap of $4,000 for hourly billing and $750 for travel and expenses.  Texas' Health and Human Services Commission will pay those bills with funding from the state Legislature.
 
 
Utah cities stay afloat financially
Most well-managed, carefully balancing debt and cash flow
By Rebecca Palmer, Joseph M. Dougherty and Jared Page
Deseret News
Originally published Sunday, Nov. 23, 2008

The tight global credit market is forcing some Utah towns to hold off on planned financing and requiring others to pay unexpectedly high interest rates for existing debt.  Other cities are nervous about how their financing will be received in the marketplace.  But compared with cities such as Vallejo, Calif., which has declared bankruptcy, and Kansas City, Kan., which can't finance a sewer system, most Utah cities are well-managed and have been careful to balance debt and cash flow, according to the results of a multi-jurisdictional survey by the Deseret News.  Regardless, Park City is having to phase in financing for a needed water system.  And Holladay, which last year instituted new taxes to pay for road repairs, could obtain financing for only part of its needs.  West Bountiful is trying to fund $5 million in water bonds to upgrade its 50-year-old infrastructure.  The city has been warned that finding investors is difficult, said city finance director Craig Howe.  It's a similar story for Centerville, which is planning to build a multimillion-dollar performing arts center.  Less imminent projects are being delayed for several months until record-high interest rates relax and corporations once again become interested in buying bonds.  "There was a very quick freezing up of the (bond) market," said Kelly Murdock, senior vice president of Zions Bank and Salt Lake City's financial adviser.  "Since that time, thankfully, the market is thawing out — albeit slowly. There's an abundance of cash on the sidelines out of concern of the direction of the economy."  The Deseret News analyzed financial data from all Utah cities and towns with a population of 1,000 or more, as well as Utah's counties, to determine their levels of debt.     Read more
 
 
Bidder, taxes on city plate
By NEIL YOUNG
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Monday, January 5, 2009

BULLHEAD CITY - The old saying that "Every cloud has a silver lining" applies to the city of Bullhead City when it puts projects out for bid.  The bad economy has contractors scrounging for work, which is good for the city's bottom line.  A total of 21 companies bid on the Old Bullhead sewer project, with estimates ranging from $886,000 to more than $2 million.  Tonto Supply Inc. of Colorado City was the low bidder to complete the project on the east side of Highway 95.  Tonto performed work on the Sunridge area sewer project and city staff is recommending the Council approve a contract with the firm when it meets at 5:30 p.m. today in the Council chamber, 1255 Marina Blvd.     Read more
 
 
City farms out sales-tax collection
Private firm will take over for state agency
By NEIL YOUNG
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Wednesday, January 7, 2009

BULLHEAD CITY - During its Tuesday meeting, the Bullhead City Council voted 5-1 to approve a five-year agreement with Revenue Discovery Systems (RDS), a national private firm, to collect the city's sales taxes.  The city has been using the Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR), but there is a 60-day delay in the city receiving figures on sales-tax collections, making it difficult to make timely budget reductions during the economic downturn.  City Manager Tim Ernster cited "inconsistencies in reporting from month to month" by ADOR and "a continuing deterioration in the quality of information received" from ADOR.  He said it's very likely the city is losing revenue by having ADOR collect its sales tax.  The city has ruled out collecting sales tax in-house due to "significant costs," Ernster said.  The issue has been under discussion for several years and it was more of a question of when - not if - the city would eventually drop ADOR in favor of self-collection.  Council Member Leslie Blaydes wanted to delay the vote, saying she didn't believe local businesses had ample opportunities to weigh in. Her colleagues didn't agree.  "Let's do it now," said Council Member Jan Ward.  The measure had in effect been tabled for the past three years, said Vice Mayor Sam Medrano.  "Circumstances have only gotten worse," and there was no point "in putting off the inevitable," he said.     Read more
 
 
Funding shortage worries officials
BY JENNIFER WEAVER
The Spectrum
Originally published January 8, 2009

ENOCH - The shortage of funding for the Southwest Utah Public Health Department is primarily the result of getting too little of the federal funding pie received by the Utah State Health Department for programs, in addition to treating illegal immigrants.  That was the message to the The Iron County Coordinating Council in a presentation by Dr. David Blodgett on Wednesday.  For example, the SWUPHD Director and Health Officer said the state receives $5 million per year to administer the immunization programs, but only $60,000 is allocated to the local health department that serves Garfield, Beaver, Iron, Washington and Kane Counties.  "It's very worrisome. We're not doing a good job at keeping up with the immunization rates," Blodgett said.  Illustrating his point was the recent pertussis outbreak, also know as 'whooping cough,' which emerged in Hurricane Valley in a multi-million dollar home enclave involving children and adults in an extended family, he said.  A total of 15 pertussis cases were reported with no new cases since Dec. 15, he added.  Though it is enough time to consider the outbreak over, Blodgett said treating the cases cost the public health department money it really did not have to spare.  "We gave care full-time for three people, and part-time for 10, so my estimation is somewhere in the neighborhood of $75,000 to $100,000," Blodgett said.  "It's just my guess without having had the opportunity to really crunch the numbers."     Read more
 
 
City to review sewer project bids
By Tony Waggoner
Today's News-Herald - Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Originally published Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Lake Havasu City Council is expected to hold a special meeting Wednesday to discuss awarding a bid for the Neptune Area Sewer Project as part of the Wastewater System Expansion Program.  The Neptune area is comprised of approximately 750 properties, bordered by Arizona State Lands and Simitan Drive.  As part of the project, the bidder awarded the contract is expected to install manholes, sanitary sewer mainline, sanitary sewer laterals for connecting properties to the sewer and to work towards property restoration.  The city submitted plans and specifications to 39 interested bidders.  Five bids were received from Tonto Supply out of Colorado City, AZ, S.J. Louis Construction from Phoenix, S-2 Contractors out of Aurora, OR, Wagner Place from South International Falls, MN and Hammerlund Construction from Grand Rapids, MI.  Tonto Supply responded with the lowest bid for the project at around $3.7 million.  That number is well under the engineer estimate of around $5.2 million for the project.  AMEC has conducted a review and evaluation of all five bids for the project.  AMEC acknowledged the two lowest bidders, Tonto Supply and S.J. Louis Construction, had done similar work before within a reasonable timeframe and contract amount.  Both companies were given a satisfaction grade by their former clients.     Read more
 
 
City to ponder gas prices
By NEIL YOUNG
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Tuesday, January 20, 2009

BULLHEAD CITY - The Bullhead City Council decided to schedule a work session with area gasoline retailers to try to determine why pump prices are higher in Mohave County than elsewhere in the state.  Noting that Bullhead City is a "tourism-based community," Vice Mayor Sam Medrano said Tuesday the extra costs "can greatly impact our community's economy."  He said the City Council would be "doing our entire city a disservice" if it didn't get involved.  If there's a reason for the area's higher prices, "I want to hear what it is," said Council Member Larry Sinagoga.  The Council approved a construction contract between the city and Tonto Supply, Inc. of Colorado City for $644,000 for the Community Park renovation and ramada project.  During a public hearing, Larry Adams of Pueblo Construction said his company's bid came in $117,000 cheaper than the winning bid.  Sinagoga pointed out that Pueblo's bid was based on a design-build proposal and the city would be in violation of state law by not giving the other bidders a chance to bid on a similar process.  Council members discussed an agenda item to spend $1,000 to include a survey for the Municipal Arts Commission in 19,000 sewer bills.  In light of city budget cuts and the recent controversy over the $1,000 gas bill for the eternal flame at Veterans Memorial Park, Medrano said spending money on the survey "just doesn't make sense to me now."  Council Member Leslie Blaydes agreed.  Sinagoga made a motion to postpone the vote until someone from the Municipal Arts Commission can appear before the Council to shed some light on the issue.
 
 
Apple Valley Area Considers Incorporation
Hurricane Valley Journal
Originally published January 25, 2009

Incorporation of Apple Valley, Canaan Gap, Gooseberry, Paradise Ranch, and South Zion is of utmost concern to the residents in their effort to block annexation by Hildale.  Residents met in the Smithsonian Fire Station in Apple Valley on October 24 for a community meeting.  They discussed and received information regarding incorporation or annexation.  The big concern for these communities is that if they do not pull together and decide what they want for their future, others will make the decisions for them.  Both Hildale and Hurricane have filed plans to annex Apple Valley.  Residents were informed of what each proposal contains and what that means to them as individuals in their respective communities.  If a town or city filed for annexation before Apple Valley had a chance to file for incorporation, the annexation would trump the incorporation.  Apple Valley would have to wait until all the annexation issues were resolved before they could go forward with incorporation.  A map shows Hildale's plan to purchase land in order to gain the majority of property ownership.  Hurricane filed an annexation plan just to give the citizens another option explained the Hurricane City Council.  However, Hurricane is not really interested in annexing Apple Valley but will support them in their plan to incorporate.     Read more
 
 
Board to award contract for culvert repair on Oatman Road
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Sunday, February 15, 2009

KINGMAN - Mohave County supervisors will look to award a contract Tuesday to a Utah firm to repair parts of the Oatman highway.  The board will look to award an $188,864 contract to JNJ Engineering Construction Inc. of Hildale to repair six culverts along Historic Route 66 just northeast of Oatman.  If approved by the county supervisors, the construction project is expected to begin in later this month and take about two months to complete.  The Utah firm was the lowest bidder among nine firms, including three firms from Bullhead City, one from Fort Mojave and one from Laughlin.  The culverts allowing rain from washed to flow under the road were built in the 1920s or 1930s.  The culverts were constructed without bottoms, allowing erosion over time. The new reinforced culverts, many about six-feet long, will be box shape.  The project will start just outside of Oatman and proceed about a mile and a half northeast toward Gold Road.  Oatman Road is a narrow winding road with limited sight at places.  Guided traffic control with pilot cars also is included in the project.  Flooding in 2005 caused parts of Oatman Road to wash away with one sinkhole large enough for a car to fit in.     Read more
 
 
Culvert work near MCC planned
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Monday, March 2, 2009

KINGMAN - The Mohave County Public Works Department has the following construction projects and roadwork scheduled in the Kingman and Golden Valley areas for this week:
  • North of Kingman, workers will be sealing roadway cracks on Lass Avenue and nearby east-west streets between Van Nuys Road and Bond Street, on Butler Avenue and Devlin Avenue between Castle Rock Road and Patsy Road, and on Packard Avenue and Nicole Avenue in Chaparral Mesa.

  • North of Kingman, crews will also be cleaning culverts along the Jagerson, College and Devlin Washes, and performing shoulder maintenance in the area of Edie Drive and Christianson Avenue before moving south of Jagerson Avenue.

  • The Flood Control Division has contracted with the County Road Department to grade and clear brush from county property along both sides of the Mohave Channel from Bank Street to Gordon Drive. This project is scheduled for completion this week.

  • In Golden Valley, crews will be maintaining shoulders and sweeping in Verde Estates, repairing potholes on Verde Road from Abrigo Drive to Bolsa Drive, and the blades will be on their regular routes.
Read more
 
 
Census officials aim to boost count
By Lee Davidson
Deseret News
Originally published Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Exactly one year from now — April 1, 2010 — the 2010 Census will attempt to count everyone living in America.  The Census Bureau says it is working hard to prepare in Utah, and to convince everyone from polygamists to undocumented immigrants that it is in their best interest to participate.  "We have special arrangements with polygamists (in Hildale).  We just met with them last week," for example, said Daniel L. Pacheco, a Census official working with hard-to-count groups.  "There were some concerns, but they know things that happened in Texas (in the FLDS raid there) did not come from release of Census data," Pacheco said.  "They stand to benefit just like any other group, because the count determines the flow of $300 billion of federal money a year" to state and local governments based on population.  He added "The town of Hildale draws services. If they are not counted, they cannot draw the federal dollars necessary (for) community needs."  To help all groups feel more at ease with being counted, W. Todd Hansen, the Utah Census office manager, stresses that Census workers must take an oath of confidentiality not to reveal — for the rest of their lives — anything they find in their work, or they face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  "So if we see people growing pot in their house, or cooking drugs, or if there's a lot of illegal immigrants there, or they just robbed a bank or whatever, we can't reveal any of that information," Hansen said.     Read more
 
 
New ramada coming to BHC park
Old structure to be demolished May 11; replacement expected be up by July 31
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Sunday, May 3, 2009

BULLHEAD CITY - The ramada at Bullhead Community Park has been the scene of plenty of events over its 30 years.  One more event will bring it down, making room for a new structure that should be complete in time for Bullhead City's 25th birthday and the River Regatta.  The shelter at Community Park was built in 1979 by the Bullhead City Rotary Club and local volunteers, providing a large covered area for picnics, birthday parties, family reunions, outdoor meetings and city-sponsored celebrations.  Demolition of the ramada is scheduled to begin May 11 as part of a project to build a new structure.  The $347,000 project was awarded in January to Tonto Construction of Colorado City and is expected to be finished by July 31.  Bullhead City's 25th anniversary will be observed a month later with the third annual River Regatta, set for Aug. 29.  The last major event under the ramada, appropriately, was the Rotary Club's annual Burro Barbecue, held in April as the local organization's major annual fundraiser.     Read more
 
 
Order halts park renovation
Construction company accuses BHC of violating state law
By NEIL YOUNG
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Thursday, May 21, 2009

BULLHEAD CITY - Work on the new Community Park ramada has come to a grinding halt.  Wednesday, Mohave County Superior Court Division 1 Judge Charles Gurtler issued a temporary restraining order on behalf of Pueblo Construction to stop work on the project.  The action results from the city's awarding a bid to Tonto Supply, Inc. of Colorado City to replace the ramada and construct new restrooms.  The project was approved by voters in 2007 when they passed the AEL (Alternative Expenditure Limitation) initiative.  After the contract with Tonto was signed, the state of Arizona "swept," or took away, a grant previously awarded to Bullhead City which would have paid for sewer improvements as part of the restroom phase of the project.  The city council approved a "change order" April 7, amending the contract to remove the restrooms from the project.  Pueblo owner Larry Adams protested the action at a city council meeting and City Manager Tim Ernster denied the protest.  Adams returned to the council chamber Tuesday with two attorneys in tow: local attorney Dan Oehler and Joshua Grabel, from Snell and Wilmer of Phoenix.  In an attempt to convince them to reverse Ernster's decision, Grabel told council members the city is in violation of state law.  "An amended contract is a material change," he said.  "If it's distinct or different from the original contract it must be put out to bid again."  Bullhead City Attorney Kent Foree argued the project had not changed. "It's the same project," he said.     Read more
 
 
Recession reins in sprawl
By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services
Arizona Daily Star - Tucson, Arizona
Originally published July 1, 2009

PHOENIX — The shrinking economy is taking a toll on growth and urban sprawl.  New figures this morning from the U.S. Census Bureau show that the rate of population growth has slowed in most Arizona communities.  In some cases, the pace between July 1, 2007, and a year later is only half that in the 12 months preceding.  The pattern is especially evident in what had been the "hot" growth communities of the first half of the decade, those in what had been the exurbs — often affluent areas beyond typical suburbs.  For example, Fountain Hills, north of Scottsdale, saw its year-over-year growth rate cut in half.  A nearly similar decline was logged in Queen Creek, southeast of Mesa.  In Sahuarita, the decline was not quite as precipitous: from 18.7 percent in 2007 over 2006 to less than 11 percent the following year.  Marana also saw its growth slowed.  In some cases, the drop was even sharper.  Litchfield Park found just a 1 percent year-over-year growth, a third of what it was the year before.  Even outside the two big metro areas, there were some sharp declines.  Lake Havasu City, for example, found its 1.1 percent growth rate between 2006 and 2007 slashed to just 0.2 percent.  And Pinetop-Lakeside grew at just a fifth of the rate it had the prior 12 months.  Even Flagstaff grew at just half the rate in 2008 as in the prior period.  Tucson saw its growth rate fall to 0.9 percent in 2008, from 1.3 percent between 2006 and 2007.  A few communities bucked the trend.  Oro Valley managed to maintain its growth rate.  And Phoenix actually posted an increase.  Several small communities lost population.  The one that was not surprising was Colorado City, on the Arizona-Utah border.  It was vacated by many members of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints after Warren Jeffs, its leader, was arrested.     Read more
 
 
County sets tax rates for property
BY PATRICE ST. GERMAIN
The Spectrum
Originally published July 5, 2009

ST. GEORGE - Property owners in Washington County will see a difference in their property valuations when receiving their tax bills later this year, but it doesn't change the bottom line in what their payments will be.  To keep the tax base steady, the tax rates for most municipalities went up to compensate for the valuations that went down.  The certificated tax rates for the county and local municipalities were sent out earlier this week, said Washington County Clerk Kim Hafen.  Hafen said the bottom line for property owners in the county won't change by much unless a municipality decides to raise the tax rate.  "The way the law works is that valuations went down so the tax rate went up, ensuring the municipalities of the same revenue so the total won't change a great deal," Hafen said.  County Assessor Arthur Partridge said about 70 percent of the properties in the county are down in value between 10 and 30 percent.  Those hit the hardest are the newer subdivisions where houses were over-valued and foreclosed and sold at distressed prices.  The county's taxable value in all real estate went from $13 billion to about $11 billion between 2008 and 2009.  Partridge said when people get their tax bills in August, the values will still be higher than current values as the county taxes at the value of the property as of Jan. 1 of each year.  Vacant land saw a greater decrease than lots with homes, he said.  An appraiser for 48 years, Partridge said he hasn't seen a cycle of high price spikes following a dramatic downturn in prices since the 1930s.     Read more
 
 
Council must re-vote on bid to demolish pool
By John Gutekunst
Parker Pioneer - Lake Havasu City, AZ
Originally published Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Parker Town Council approved a bid to demolish the old Parker town pool, but found themselves having to hold a second vote Sept. 21 due to a possible violation of the state's conflict of interest laws by one of the council members.  A second vote was set for 5:15 p.m. Sept. 21.  At the council's Sept. 15 meeting, a bid of $43,645 was awarded to Tonto Supply Inc. of Colorado City.  The possible conflict of interest came from Councilwoman Chris Boatwright when she participated in discussion on the matter after she had recused herself from the vote.  She stated her son worked for Tonto Supply.  Conflicts of interest are covered in Section 38 of Arizona Revised Statutes.  A public official who has a substantial interest or whose relative has a substantial interest in a decision by a legislative body must publicly declare a conflict and, "shall refrain from voting upon or otherwise participating in any manner as an officer or employee in such contract, sale purchase or service."  Pat Shannahan of the state's Public Access Ombudsman's Office told the Pioneer Boatwright could have spoken out on the issue, but only off the dais as a private citizen and not as a member of the council.  Town Manager Lori Wedemeyer said she had spoken with Town Attorney Scott Ruby, and he agreed a possible conflict of interest occurred.  As a remedy, they will need to vote to ratify or rescind their Sept. 15 action on the pool demolition.  The bids were opened Sept. 11. Of the five bidders on the project, one was a local company, Mike's Contracting.  On Sept. 15, Councilman Frank Savino acknowledged they were not going with a local bidder, but added Tonto Supply's bid had been the lowest.  He said they were trying to save the town some money.  Mike's Contracting's bid had been for $60,374.     Read more
 
 
Is there no value in trust fund?
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
The Spectrum
Originally published October 23, 2009

I am a newly single mom who is not able to receive temporary help for my children, such as food stamps and medical, and I certainly do not own acres of land or property of any kind, or I would sell it.

So I wonder this. If the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has a $110 million dollar trust fund, why do they receive welfare that we taxpayers pay? I would think that there is some kind of asset in that so-called trust fund.

Stacy White
St. George
 
 
Utahns Make Effort to Get Accurate Count in Census 2010
FOX 13's Ben Winslow reports
KSTU-TV
Originally broadcast January 30, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY - Everyone is supposed to be counted in the 2010 Census, but what about those who may not want to be counted?  It sounds unusual but it is a perplexing problem for Census takers especially for Utah's polygamous population who aren't counted.  People in polygamous communities have a historical fear of government which advocates say have led to some resistance in participating in the Census.  "I think our people have been hesitant in the past, because they were afraid the information would be used with other government agencies, such as IRS, law enforcement. And as the Utah state law stands, it is a felony in the state of Utah," Anne Wilde of Principle Voices said.  The Pro-polygamy group, Principle Voices, is urging people in the Fundamentalist Mormon communities to fill out the Census.  Another group that is often under-counted is illegal immigrants.  "It's so important, today and always, to be counted, regardless of your legal status, because social programs depend a lot on the Census," Tony Yapias of Proyecto Latino de Utah said.  Yapias finds it a hard sell to get people who try to fly under the radar to be counted, but he says it's vital for everyone.  "We're going to make it every effort in the community, to get the word out to make sure that everyone is counted,' Yapias said.  Besides being constitutionally required, Census data helps states get federal funding and representation in Congress.
 
 
Census Question Assistance Centers open today
By Daily News staff
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Monday, March 1, 2010

BULLHEAD CITY — Eleven sites will serve as official Question Assistance Centers for the Census 2010 in Mohave County, including three in Bullhead City.  Question Assistance Centers are designed to help respondents by providing answers to questions about the Census 2010 and to assist with completing the Census forms.  Question Assistance Centers are scheduled to be staffed starting today through April 18 as the nation completes the federally mandated decennial Census used to not only total the country's population but determine any changes in Congressional representation and redistricting.  Census figures also are used to help determine funding for many federal, state and local programs.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Census Question Assistance Centers in Bullhead City include:

-Mohave Community College, 3400 Highway 95. Monday through Thursday, 1 to 4 p.m.

-Riviera Recreation Center, 2047 Commercial Way. Monday through Friday, 2 to 5 p.m.
Read more
 
 
Pay up if you have large families
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
The Spectrum
Originally published March 26, 2010

If couples choose to have large families, let them pay for them. Cut out all the deductions and earned income credit that goes to large families, along with all the other perks.

Charge higher taxes for each additional child. The majority of our property taxes goes to schools. Reducing family size and being responsible adults will reduce the additional tax burden on those that don't deserve to pay for others.

Reasonably sized families will automatically reduce class sizes and taxes. Without all the dependents, taxpayers will also spend less because we won't be paying exorbitant fees for child care, WIC, state assistance, school lunch programs, food stamps, etc.

Uncle Sam gets a large chunk of my husband's and my retirement income. I no longer want to subsidize your large families. Smaller families will automatically reduce class room sizes, requiring fewer schools, teachers and taxes to sustain them.

Write, e-mail or phone your legislators. Tell them we want the laws changed. I no longer want to subsidize the illegal aliens, which puts a huge tax burden on all of us.

If the State can't do this, tell me how to become an illegal alien so I can get some perks.

J. Yergensen
Dammeron Valley
 
 
THE VENT
The Spectrum
Originally published Saturday, March 27, 2010

These census forms we're getting, are they sending special forms to the polygamists?  Polygamy is illegal!
 
 
Warrants served on polygamous towns in Utah, Ariz.
By JENNIFER DOBNER
Associated Press Writer
KSRO Newstalk 1350 AM - Santa Rosa, California
Originally published April 6, 2010

Utah and Arizona authorities served search warrants Tuesday on government offices in a pair of towns dominated by a polygamous sect.  Salt Lake City attorney Rod Parker, who represents the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, said warrants for records were served at fire stations in Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah.  Additional warrants were served on the homes of the city manager and fire chief in Colorado City.  Management of the twin towns, the FLDS and its religious traditions have been under increasing scrutiny since 2005, following allegations of an increase in underage marriages and misuse of church funds.  The scope of the warrants was unclear, said Parker, adding he had not yet seen the documents.  Residents said there appeared to be at least 10 marked police cars and other unmarked cars in the communities when the documents were delivered.  Mohave County sheriff's office spokeswoman Trish Carter said she could only confirm department personnel were in the Arizona community.  In Utah, Washington County Undersheriff Jake Adams said several of his officers were assisting Arizona authorities.
 
 
BREAKING NEWS: Officials shut down Hildale public safety department
BY TIFFANY DeMASTERS
The Spectrum
Originally published April 6, 2010

HILDALE -- Law enforcement officials from two states served warrants this morning in Hildale and Colorado City, one of which forced the shutdown of the Hildale public safety department.  One of the warrants served this morning came from the Washington County Attorney's Office.  It was served at the city's fire station.  Firefighter-paramedic Glen Jeffs said that warrant alluded to the "misuse of funds."  As a result, the Hildale public safety department was closed, with emergency personnel only allowed to respond after gaining approval from Washington County officials, Jeffs said.   Another warrant was served in Colorado City by Mohave County Sheriff's Office deputies.  Contents of that warrant are unknown.  A total of five warrants were served -- three going to the local fire stations, one at the Colorado City Fire Chief's home and another at his secretary's home.  The warrants were served at 7 a.m. today.  For more, please check this Web site later in the day.
 
 
Colorado City officials hit with search warrants
By Chelsea Smith
The Arizona Republic
Originally published April 6, 2010

Colorado City's fire chief and its city manager were served with search warrants at their homes Tuesday morning in connection with an investigation into fraud and misuse of public money, according to the Mohave County Sheriff's Office.  The warrants were issued to "obtain evidence and information of misuse of public funds," according to a press release from the sheriff's office.  Investigators were also seeking any connection to fraudulent schemes within the city government and the fire department, the release said.  A search warrant was issued to the home of Colorado City Fire Chief Jake Barlow and another at the home of City Manager David Darger.  Search warrants were served also at four fire station buildings.  Twenty-five law enforcement personnel, investigators from Mohave County Attorney's Office, detectives and deputies from the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, and forensic computer experts from the Arizona Attorney General's Office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety served the warrants.  A sixth search warrant was issued to Hildale, Utah, which was issued by the Washington County Superior Court.  Management of the twin towns, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - whose members dominate most of the government operations there - and its religious traditions have been under increasing scrutiny since 2005, following allegations of an increase in underage marriages and misuse of church funds.

Includes information from The Associated Press
 
 
Read Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan's Special Press Release about serving warrants on Colorado City and Hildale Fire Department officials for misuse of public funds and fraudulent schemes dated April 6, 2010
 
 
Warrants served on fire stations, officials' homes in Colorado City
By Jennifer Thomas
3TV - Phoenix
Originally broadcast April 6, 2010

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. -- Utah and Arizona authorities served search warrants on several fire stations and the homes of two city officials in a polygamous community in Mohave County Tuesday morning.  Five search warrants were executed in Colorado City, Ariz., and one in Hildale, Utah, with the assistance of the Washington County Sheriff's Office.  The warrants were served at four fire station buildings and at the homes of Colorado City's fire chief, Jake Barlow, and Colorado City's town manager, David Darger.  Law enforcement officials are looking into alleged misuse of public funds and fraudulent schemes in connection with the city government and fire departments.  There are allegations that city and utility monies were used to sustain polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs while he was on the 10 Most Wanted list.  Twenty-five law enforcement personnel, investigators from the Mohave County Attorney's Office, detectives and deputies from the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, forensic computer experts from the Arizona Attorney General's Office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety simultaneously served the six search warrants.  Forensic experts are going through computer hard drives and financial documents.  3TV's Mike Watkiss is en route to the area and will have more details on "Good Evening Arizona."
 
 
Hildale Mayor: 'I don't know where the budget can be a concern'
BY TIFFANY DeMASTERS
The Spectrum
Originally published April 6, 2010

ST. GEORGE – Investigators from two states are searching computers and files in a polygamous community located on the Utah-Arizona border, alleging misuse of public funds as well as participating in fraudulent schemes with the city government and fire departments.  Sheriff's deputies from Washington County, Utah and Mohave County, Ariz., descended on the cities of Hildale and Colorado City at 6:30 a.m. today to execute six search warrants – five in Colorado City, one in Hildale.  Four were executed at fire stations in the twin communities, once known as the Short Creek area.  The others were executed at the homes of Colorado City Fire Chief Jake Barlow and the city manager, David Darger.  Details of the warrants have not been revealed.  Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap said the Utah warrant was sealed under the order of 5th District Judge James Shumate at the request of Arizona investigators.  "We don't know the reasoning behind it," said Hildale Mayor David Zitting.  "Yes, there's been search warrants for fire stations in both communities. It's centered on the fire department, coming from Arizona. The Washington County (Utah) Sheriff's department is assisting, but it's an Arizona action."     Read more
 
 
Warrants claim misuse of funds in polygamous towns
By JENNIFER DOBNER
Associated Press Writer
KMIR 6 - Palm Springs, California
Originally published April 6, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Government officials in twin polygamous communities along the Utah-Arizona border were served Tuesday with search warrants seeking evidence on suspected misuse of public funds, authorities said.  The warrants allege City Manager David Darger and Fire Chief Jake Barlow in Colorado City, Ariz., personally benefited or took money for their own use from the fire department "by false pretenses and/or without authority of law," sometime between Aug. 1, 2004 and Feb. 1, 2010.  "There's an investigation being conducted by the county attorney's office at this time for a possible misuse of public funds and fraudulent schemes at the Fire Department and possibly the city government," Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan told The Associated Press.  No one was arrested or charged.  Darger, who also serves as secretary-treasurer of the Fire Department, was out of town Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.  Barlow declined to comment but expressed concern over the records being taken.  "The Fire Department wants to do the very best they can for the citizens and wants to help them," Barlow said.  "Now all of their records are being exposed ... we have protected medical histories on thousands of patients - all in the name of the county attorney's office investigation."     Read more
 
 
Raids in polygamist community
Reported by: Brent Hunsaker
ABC 4 News
Originally broadcast April 6, 2010

Colorado City, AZ (ABC 4 News) - Investigators from both Mohave County, Arizona and the Arizona Attorney General's office conducted raids Tuesday on both sides of the border in this polygamist community.  25 officers served 6 search warrants at 3 fire stations, a maintenance facility as well as the homes of both the fire chief, Jake Barlow and city manager, David Darger of Colorado City.  Investigators would not say what they were looking for, but a statement from the Mohave County Sheriff's office indicated they were looking for evidence of misuse of public funds and "fraudulent schemes" in both city government and the fire department of the twin towns of Hildale and Colorado City.  The raids caused a commotion in the community especially since they were conducted on April 6 -- an important and sacred date for the FLDS polygamist sect.  Officers served their search warrants early in the morning and continued working into the evening.  A small "U-haul" truck was used to carry away documents, boxes and computers from several of the locations.  No arrests were made on Tuesday.
 
 
Warrants Served On Polygamous Towns' Offices
Reported by: Cristina Flores
KUTV 2 News
Originally broadcast Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Authorities suspect fraud and misuse of public funds in the polygamous towns of Colorado City, Arizona and Hilldale, Utah.  At about 6:30 Tuesday morning officers from the Mojave, Arizona Attorney and Sheriff's offices served search warrants at 3 fire stations in Colorado City.  On the Utah side of the border in nearby Hilldale, deputies with the Washington County Sheriff's office helped serve a search warrant at a fire station there.  In a phone interview with 2 News, Mojave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan said county investigators served the warrants to look for evidence of possible fraud and misuse of public funds – mostly through credit card use.  "We are not going to name individuals that may be suspects at this time, but we're looking at what could be multiple individuals who were improperly using credit cards for personal use."  Sheahan would not say how much money might have been misused.  Although search warrants were also served at the homes of Colorado City Fire Chief Jake Barlow and City Manager David Darger, there were no arrests.  Sheahan said arrests may come after investigators look through credit cards receipts, computer and paper records.  Sheahan said officers only encountered resistance at the home of David Darger.  At that location, uniformed officers announced their presence several time, but when people in the house refused to open the door, Sheahan said officers forced their way in.  Utah Attorney general spokes person Paul Murphy said that office had nothing to do with the actions on Tuesday morning.  Jerry Jager, Deputy District Attorney in Washington County said officials there only assisted Mojave County in serving the warrant in Utah.
 
 
Agencies serve search warrants in Colorado City
Government facilities targeted
By Erin Taylor
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published April 7, 2010

KINGMAN - Search warrants were served Tuesday morning at several locations in two polygamist communities along the Arizona-Utah border.  Trish Carter, spokesperson for the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, said authorities were looking for evidence of the misuse of public funds as well as fraudulent schemes in connection with the city government and its fire departments.  She would not elaborate because the investigation is on-going.  Around 25 law enforcement authorities, including investigators from the Mohave County Attorney's Office, detectives and deputies from the Sheriff's Office, forensic computer experts from the Arizona Attorney General's Office and officers with the Arizona Department of Public Safety served the six search warrants.  The warrants were executed at three fire station buildings in Colorado City as well as the homes of Fire Chief Jake Barlow and City Manager David Darger.  A sixth search warrant was served at a fire station in Hilldale, Utah, with the assistance of the Washington County Sheriff's Office.  The communities of Colorado City and Hildale are home to members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.     See photo
 
 
Agencies raid fire stations
Officers swarm facilities in Colorado City, Hildale seeking financial records
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Wednesday, April 7, 2010

KINGMAN — More than two dozen law enforcement officers from two states raided four fire stations and two homes Tuesday morning in Colorado City and Hildale, Utah.  The search involved three fire stations in Colorado City and one fire station in Hildale, Utah.  Also searched were the homes of Colorado City Fire Chief Jake Barlow and Colorado City Manager David Darger.  Investigators from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Arizona Attorney General's Office, the Mohave County Sheriff's Office and the Mohave County Attorney's Office participated in the search.  The search warrant for the Hildale fire station was issued by the Washington County Superior Court.  Investigators searched the fire station's computers and financial records and financial records discovered at the two homes.  The investigation looked into misuse of public funds for personal use in connection with the fire departments and the city government, Sheriff Tom Sheahan said.  The search also involved the misuse of the fire department's credit cards.  No arrests were made Tuesday in the searches but possible arrests may be made in the future, Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith said.  Barlow declined to comment but expressed concern over the records being taken.  "The fire department wants to do the very best they can for the citizens and wants to help them," Barlow said.  "Now all of their records are being exposed ... we have protected medical histories on thousands of patients — all in the name of the county attorney's office investigation."  Darger, who also serves as secretary-treasurer of the fire department, was out of town Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.     Read more
 
 
Search warrants served in border communities
Law enforcement targets fire stations, residences in Arizona-Utah towns
By DAVE HAWKINS
SPECIAL TO THE LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Originally published April 7, 2010

KINGMAN, Ariz. -- More than two dozen law enforcement and support personnel served six search warrants at fire stations and residences Tuesday in the border communities of Colorado City, Ariz. and Hildale, Utah.  Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan said the warrants were served simultaneously at 6:30 a.m.  Three fire stations in Colorado City were searched as well as another in Hildale.  Sheahan said authorities also searched the homes of Colorado City Manager David Darger and Fire Chief Jake Barlow.  "We're looking for evidence of misuse of public funds as well as fraudulent schemes in the city government and the fire department," the sheriff said.  "We're looking for financial records, paper records and also computer records."  Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith said officers also were looking for receipts and other evidence involving misuse of municipal credit cards.  Smith said computer forensics experts from the Arizona attorney general's office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety were busy downloading files and information from sophisticated computers.  Smith said the computers are being left in place rather than seized.  He said authorities would be spending the night because the forensic computer work was to continue today.  Sheahan said there was little resistance during the morning raids, but he said officers did have to force their way into one of the homes as its occupants refused to open the doors.  No one was taken into custody initially.  "I don't anticipate anybody's going to be arrested today, but down the road there's a good possibility," Sheahan said.     Read more
 
 
Investigators seize records in Hildale, Colorado City
BY TIFFANY DE MASTERS
The Spectrum
Originally published April 7, 2010

Investigators from the Mohave County Sheriff's Office spent all day Tuesday collecting paperwork and hard drives from fire stations in Hildale and Colorado City.  They were joined by members of the Mohave County Attorney's Office, forensic computer experts from the Arizona Attorney General's Office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety, to simultaneously serve six search warrants in the polygamous communities.  Trish Carter, public information specialist for Mohave County Sheriff's Office, said the warrants were issued because investigators were obtaining evidence in an investigation on misuse of public funds as well as fraudulent schemes in connection with the Colorado City government and the fire departments.  "They came in and shut down public safety in order to go on a fishing trip," said volunteer firefighter and paramedic Glen Jeffs as he watched investigators search the Hildale fire station.  The homes of Colorado City Fire Chief Jake Barlow and City Manager David Darger were also searched.  Five of the warrants were issued from Mohave Superior Court.  One was issued from Utah's 5th District Court.  Washington County Sheriff's Office was also present while the warrants were executed.  Jeffs said investigators took hard drives and office data such as payables, receivables, patient care reports and anything paper that could be a receipt.     Read more
 
 
Alleged Misuse of Public Money: Restaurants, Chocolates...
By Brian Mullahy
KUTV 2News
Originally broadcast Wednesday, Apr 7, 2010

Apparent targets of an investigation in the polygamous communities of Hildale-Colorado City may have a liking for frequent restaurant meals, fancy chocolates, and Costco purchases.  Officials in Mojave County, Arizona have released an affidavit for a search warrant, executed Tuesday at homes and fire stations near the Utah-Arizona border.  Records and computers may be among the items seized.  "Starting in 2008 the Mojave County Attorney's Office began an investigation dealing with the suspected misuse of public funds by the Colorado City Fire District," according to the court document.  The district is said to be governed by two men, Fire Chief Jacob L. Barlow and Secretary/Treasurer David William Darger.  Investigators seem focused on credit card use, which they outlined in the 22 page affidavit.  There were "multiple purchases several days of any given week...to restaurants in St. George," motel receipts for a three room, two night stay in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, "an invoice for one hundred candy gift boxes," seven Turbo Tax software purchases, and over a four year period, nearly $23,000 spent at Costco.  "This is a clear example of an overreaching and overly broad search," FLDS Spokesman Willie Jessop told 2News.  "Clearly there's an agenda that goes far beyond any kind of allegations, and that's really the story here."     Read more
 
 
Read the Mohave County April 5, 2010 Affidavit For Search Warrant which led to serving warrants on Colorado City and Hildale Fire Department officials on April 6, 2010 for misuse of public funds
 
 
Search warrants issued in twin southwest towns controlled by FLDS church
Law enforcement officers from Utah and Arizona swept down on twin towns controlled by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
NBC 11 News
KKCO-TV - Grand Junction, Colorado
Originally published April 7, 2010

Colorado City, ARIZ. (KKCO) - Law enforcement officers from Utah and Arizona swept down on twin towns controlled by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Sheriff's deputies moved in to Colorado City, Ariz. And Hildale, Utah on Tuesday, seeking evidence on suspected misuse of public funds and fraudulent schemes in connection with city government.  Officers served warrants at four fire stations and the private residences of the City Manager and Fire Chief in Colorado City, searching documents and computer records.  Similar records were subpoenaed months ago for the water system of the polygamous community.  Millions of dollars in expenditures were discovered, even through the water company was doing no construction and the records indicated more than $4 million was diverted to the family of a public official, to FLDS companies and to construction of the FLDS colony in Texas.  Bruce Wisan, a court-appointed fiduciary, says, "All the residents of the community are not members of the FLDS church and so you have some people that appear to be taking advantage of the religion and their access to money."  No arrests were made Tuesday.  Both communities are home to FLDS members that follow Warren Jeffs, a church leader serving prison time in Utah after being convicted of rape as an accomplice for his role in the marriage of a 14–year–old follower to her 19–year–old cousin.
 
 
Arizona authorities release details on polygamous towns investigation
Ben Winslow, Reporter and Jared Preusz, Web Content Producer
FOX 13 News
KSTU-TV
Originally broadcast April 8, 2010

HILLDALE, Ariz. AND COLORADO CITY, Utah - Arizona authorities have released details about why they raided city buildings in the polygamous border towns of Hildale and Colorado City.  In search warrant affidavits made public, the Mohave County Attorney's Ofice reveals it has been conducting a misuse of public funds investigations into Colorado City Fire District Chief Jake Barlow and City Manager David Darger.  Arizona authorities claim they've misused public funds.  The search warrants claim there were multiple purchases for restaurants, gas stations and nearly $600 in candy.  The warrants also allege they spent a small fortune at Costco buying, a leather sofa, Christmas hams, food supplies and computer storage devices as well as many other items.  Earlier this week, authorities raided the Hildale/Colorado City fire departments and carted out boxes of items.  They also searched the homes of Darger and Chief Barlow.  This is the latest in a series of investigations leveled at the cities of Hildale and Colorado City.  Fox 13 first reported last month on a criminal investigation by the Utah Attorney General's Office into a misuse of funds case involving the communities' waterworks company.  An attorney for FLDS members tells FOX 13 that what has been purchased is not that unusual for a fire department to typically have.
 
 
Warrants are latest salvo in Colorado City drama
By Dennis Wagner
The Arizona Republic
Originally published April 8, 2010

The investigation of two municipal officials in Colorado City suspected of embezzling public funds appears to be just one more prong in a seven-year campaign against corruption and child sexual abuse in northern Arizona's polygamist enclave.  Since 2003, prosecutors in Arizona, Utah and Texas have collaborated in a host of civil and criminal cases aimed at the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, imprisoning leaders, confiscating properties and eroding the sect's control.  The latest assault came in the form of search warrants executed Tuesday against Town Manager David W. Darger and Fire Chief Jacob "Jake" Barlow.  In an affidavit filed with Mohave County Superior Court, investigators accuse the two of looting money for personal use from the local Fire Department.  Based on information submitted to the court, prosecutors received permission to search the suspects' homes, offices and computers for evidence of fraudulent schemes.  Darger and Barlow have not been charged with any offense.  They did not respond to phone messages.  Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith declined to comment except to issue a statement indicating that charges may not be filed for months, if ever.  According to the search warrant, Darger and Barlow serve as a two-member governing board over the Colorado City Fire District, a public agency funded by taxpayers.     Read more
 
 
Explaining the raid
Affidavit: Probe examines purchases made on fire district's credit cards
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Friday, April 9, 2010

KINGMAN — Documents recently released show purchases made on Colorado City Fire District's credit cards included trips, computers, food and other personal items.  Mohave County and Arizona law enforcement officers searched three fire stations in Colorado City and one fire station in Hildale, Utah, Tuesday.  Also searched were the homes of Colorado City Fire Chief Jake Barlow and Colorado City Manager David Darger.  Investigators searched the fire station's computers and financial records and financial records discovered at the two homes.  Information included tax returns, pay stubs, travel claims, credit card receipts and spread sheets.  The investigation looked into the alleged misuse of the fire department's credit cards for personal use in connection with the fire departments and the city government.  No arrests were made Tuesday but possible charges coming from the ongoing investigation may take months, Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith said.  Charges listed on the search warrant's affidavit include fraudulent schemes and artifices and a less serious charge of failure to comply with the duties and liabilities of a custodian of public money.  Barlow and Darger are members of the Colorado City Fire District Board.  The search looked at expenses and purchases allegedly made by Barlow and Darger with public money from September 2004 to June 2009, according to the search warrant's affidavit.     Read more
 
 
No comment on warrants
BY TIFFANY DE MASTERS
The Spectrum
Originally published April 9, 2010

Officials in the polygamous community of Hildale and Colorado City are still not commenting about warrants served Tuesday alleging misuse of public funds by the fire department, even after an affidavit detailing the warrants was released by the Mohave County Attorney's Office Thursday morning.  The affidavit included a Costco receipt that includes purchases made with a fire department credit card for more than $120 worth of smoked salmon, two spiral-cut hams and more than $200 worth of expensive chocolates and crepes.  The purchases were made just before Christmas of 2007.  Law enforcement from Mohave County, Ariz. and Washington County served the warrants Tuesday at four fire stations and two private residences in the polygamous community located along the Arizona Strip - the homes of Colorado City Fire Chief Jake Barlow and secretary/treasurer David Darger, both elected officials.  The warrants were issued after a two-year investigation of Barlow and Darger that led to allegations of fraudulent schemes and misuse of public funds, including large expenditures.  According to the affidavit, the Mohave County Attorney's Office launched the investigation in 2008 when it suspected the misuse of public funds by members of the Colorado City Fire District.  The affidavit released Thursday includes the Mohave County Attorney's Office request for various documents from bank and credit card statements, invoices and records dealing with expenses and purchases by Barlow and Darger made with CCFD public monies beginning in September 2005 and concluding last June.  In addition to purchases from local stores, Costco and Sam's Club, there were other purchases that included food, furniture, a trip to Lava Hot Springs, Idaho and gift cards.     Read more
 
 
Transfers of large sums of money focus of probe
By DAVE HAWKINS
SPECIAL TO THE LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Originally published April 10, 2010

KINGMAN, Ariz. -- Allegations of transfers of large sums of money from the fire department's business account to traditional banking accounts and use of fire district credit cards to purchase groceries, restaurant meals, furniture, candy and gift certificates has triggered an investigation in Colorado City.  The questionable accounting practice and expenditures are outlined in an affidavit of probable cause for search warrants served Tuesday in five locations in Colorado City and another just across the Utah border in Hildale.  Some two dozen law enforcement officers and support personnel conducted searches at four fire stations and at the personal residences of Colorado City Fire District Chief Jake Barlow and David Darger, the Secretary/Treasurer of the Fire Department who also serves as Colorado City Manager.  Authorities rented a U-Haul to transport back to Kingman boxes of evidence seized in the search that are now stored at the Mohave County attorney's office there.  County Attorney Matt Smith said it will take weeks to process the evidence to determine whether criminal charges will be filed.  Barlow's attorney, Mike Piccarreta, said the show of force and the searches were unnecessary.  "All the county had to do was send a request over and they'd get all the documents that they want; ask to talk to the people involved and the people would cooperate and they wouldn't have to bring an armada of people to get it done," Piccarreta said.  He said there are reasonable explanations for all of the expenditures and that the whole matter is more a miscommunication than a criminal case.
 
 
Probe begins with phone call
2-year investigation in Colorado City reveals startling purchases
By Suzanne Adams
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published April 16, 2010

KINGMAN - A phone call about a dinner and a credit card set off a two-year investigation by the County Attorney's Office and generated a laundry list of thousands of dollars worth of items allegedly purchased for personal use with funds from the Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City fire districts.  The investigation culminated in the April 6 search of the two cities' fire district offices and the homes of CCFD Fire Chief Jake Barlow and Colorado City Manager David Darger.  According to an affidavit filed with the Mohave County Superior Court April 5 and signed by Judge Rick Williams, the items included dinners, some exceeding $200, in St. George, Utah; $575 worth of candy gift boxes; invoices for 35 gift certificates to a Colorado City gas station and Garden Gate, Inc. (a business owned by Darger); numerous purchases at the Cooperative Mercantile, the only general store in Colorado City; around $23,000 spent between May 2003 and September 2008 at Costco for furniture, food, iPods and accessories and other electronics; around $14,000 spent at Sam's Club between January 2007 and September 2008 for more food, furniture, clothing and electronics; out-of-state trips and hundreds of dollars in tax software and computer equipment.  The investigation also turned up two bank accounts and six credit cards held by the CCFD in addition to its lawful County Treasurer's warrant account.  The warrant account is supposed to hold all of the taxes collected by the district and supposed to be used to pay all of the district's expenses.  The CAO believes the purchases were for personal items and the money used to make the purchases may have come from the district's warrant account.  The office is investigating Barlow and Darger for felony fraudulent schemes and artifices and felony misuse of public moneys as custodians of such moneys.     Read more
 
 
Enforce laws to solve problem
Letters to the Editor
The Spectrum
Originally published August 8, 2010

How about giving kudos to the citizens who will solve the illegal alien problem. Do not listen to the critics. The government isn't doing this or that (politicians you voted into office). We need our own laws.

How about enforcing the law against businesses hiring illegals for their own greed? No jobs, no more illegals. Would you go to a foreign country looking for work if you knew through the grapevine your chance of obtaining employment was slim to none?

Solution: Visit every suspected business and obtain documentation on their employees to determine if they are legit. Profiling?

Not if we aren't singling out a certain race.

How come it's OK for polygamists to run rampant in Utah and collect welfare, Medicaid and education for their two or four wives and 15-plus children as we pay the taxes. Get real.

Polygamy has been against the law for decades. Anyone who aides or condones the same are just as guilty as the parties practicing it. Talk about hypocrisy.

Love your neighbor as yourself? You are nothing! Native to all the greedy politicians and the people who support them, you will answer to God.

George LaDamus, St. George
 
 
NOTICE OF PROPOSED TAX INCREASE
Legal Ads
The Spectrum
Originally published August 15, 2010

The Following entities are proposing to increase property tax revenues within Washington County.

Data is based on a county-wide average home/business value of $193,000. Concerned citizens are invited to attend public hearings on their tax increases.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT THE INDIVIDUAL ENTITIES AT THE NUMBERS LISTED BELOW.

Entities Proposing a tax increase
Hildale Town

If approved, tax will increase
From $178.33 to $601.02 home
From $324.24 to $1,092.77 business

Public Hearing Information
8/17/2010 - 6:00 pm
Hildale Town Offices
320 E. Newell Ave.
Hildale, Utah 435-874-2323
Read more
 
 
Tax hikes are few, but steep
28 governments consider raising property taxes to combat job, revenue loss
By Lee Davidson
Deseret News
Originally published Sunday, Aug. 15, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY — For those who think their property taxes are rising too high, it could be worse.  Try living in Hildale, the well-known polygamist enclave on the Arizona border.  It is proposing to more than triple its property tax this year, going from $231 to $779 on a $250,000 home — an increase of $548.  "I know some people seeing that here are probably falling over," Mayor David Zitting said.  "But it's a matter of trying to make our budget work."  Hildale is one of just 28 local governments in Utah proposing to raise their overall property tax revenues this year, according to data collected by the Utah Tax Commission.  They represent about 5 percent of the 520-or-so local governments in the state that charge such tax, ranging from cities to counties, school districts, water districts, cemetery districts and even mosquito abatement districts.  The number of increases is down from recent years as governments appear to be trying to hold the budget line during tough times in the recession.  Last year, twice as many local governments — 56 — raised property taxes.  The year before that, 81 did.  Those proposing raises list reasons ranging from loss of business revenue during the recession to the need for local public works projects.  Hildale's problems seem to be unique in size and source.  Zitting would not talk in detail about the problems of his city, population 1,956.  He did say the city had not raised taxes in 15 years, and that helped to create a budget hole.  He said some local firms had gone out of business, and that cost the city tax revenue.     Read more
 
 
Hildale to meet, discuss tax hike
Brian Ahern
The Spectrum
Originally published August 17, 2010

HILDALE - The town of Hildale will have a public hearing tonight to discuss increasing its share of property taxes by more than 300 percent.  Under the proposal, homes would go from paying the town $178.33 annually to $601.02.  For businesses, the town's portion of property taxes would increase from $324.24 annually to $1,092.77.  Town Manager Jerry Barlow said revenue has dropped significantly in recent years and officials had cut as much from the budget as possible.  "It's a skeleton budget at this point," he said.  "We were cutting the budget to the point of essential services."  Mayor David Zitting said the cuts were so severe that it was affecting public safety.  "The police department had to cut patrols because of the budget," he said.  "They're not having patrols in certain night hours that they had in the past."  Barlow added all the additional tax revenue would go toward police and fire services.  The amount taxes will be hiked, however, has yet to be nailed down.  The town council still has to determine an exact number following today's public hearing.  "It could change if the council doesn't want to go forward with it," Barlow said.  Before they do, the council still has to face what officials expect to be a full house of residents at tonight's meeting.  "We anticipate quite a bit of participation," Zitting said.  The meeting is at 6 p.m. at Hildale Town Offices, 320 E. Newell Ave.
 
 
Hildale town council raises property taxes 237 percent
Ben Winslow
FOX 13 News
KSTU-TV
Originally broadcast August 17, 2010

HILDALE, Utah - The town council in the polygamous border community of Hildale voted to raise property taxes Tuesday night by a whopping 237 percent.  The council did it to make up for a significant budget shortfall.  Hildale city officials said they have not raised taxes in 15 years.  The tax hike means about $550 would be added to the annual bill for a home valued at $250,000.  Property in Hildale and neighboring Colorado City, Ariz. is communally owned.  It is a part of the United Effort Plan Trust, which is the real estate holding arm of the Fundamentalist LDS Church.  The UEP Trust was taken over by a judge in Salt Lake City 3rd District Court back in 2005, over allegations that Warren Jeffs and other FLDS leaders mismanaged it.  On Tuesday, a court appointed accountant overseeing the trust objected to the tax hike.  "This proposed tax increase is unprecedented in size," said Bruce Wisan in a statement to FOX 13.  "To the extent that the increase is being used to shift the tax burden to those who are actually paying their tax, it is totally discriminatory."  Wisan blamed delinquent tax payers in the community for much of the problem.  He threatened to release a list of delinquent tax payers in the town, which he said included members of the town council and the mayor.     See photo
 
 
Hildale OKs 300 percent tax increase
Brian Ahern
The Spectrum
Originally published August 18, 2010

HILDALE – The Hildale Town Council unanimously approved a property tax hike of more than 300 percent Tuesday, garnering scowls and disapproval from the residents in attendance.  "It's just disgusting," said local business owner Richard Holm.  "These local governments are just numb to the will of the people."  Mayor David Zitting said the increases were necessary, however, as the town had cut deeply into essential services like its police and fire departments in recent years.  "We're in a situation that's tough on everybody," he said.  "It's going to hurt a lot of people, but I don't know what else to do about it."  The new tax rate will go into effect in October and raise annual property taxes to $601.02 for homes and $1,092.77 for businesses.  It's the first property tax hike the town has made in more than 15 years.  "One-hundred percent of that would go into public safety," Town Manager Jerry Barlow said.  Former Utah Lt. Gov. Val Oveson said the tax increase would be devastating during the current economic climate.  "I understand why you're doing it and why you need it," he said.  "But it's not a good time to raise property taxes in any shape or form."  Holm expressed similar sentiments.  "It's extremely hard to feel good about these taxes, especially with an unfriendly business environment," he said.  "I would suggest we look over these policies and make it more friendly toward the business environment here."  Zitting agreed it might not be an ideal time for a tax hike, but said the new taxes wouldn't hinder businesses as much as people might think.  "I don't know if it's going to be a factor," he said.  "The amount of increases on businesses isn't going to be enough to drive them out."     Read more
 
 
Residents petition Hildale tax hike
BRIAN AHERN
The Spectrum
Originally published September 8, 2010

Outraged at the Hildale Town Council's decision last month to hike property taxes by more than 237 percent, a group of residents is demanding the town reconsider.  Mike Pipkin is one of those residents and was eager to attach his name to a petition that has circulated throughout the town.  It accuses the local government of discriminating against residents who choose to follow the law and pay their taxes.  "There are so many people who aren't paying their taxes," he said.  "They're punishing the people who are."  For Pipkin, that "punishment" comes in the form of nearly $400 in additional taxes per year.  "Some people who have bigger homes would pay more than that," he said.  "We're going to have to tighten our belts to pay the increase."  At last month's truth in taxation hearing on the matter, former Utah Lt. Gov. Val Oveson said more than 50 percent of Hildale's residents don't pay property taxes.  Many of those delinquent in their taxes, he said, were defiant members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  "Use your influence with the FLDS church to let people know they need to pay their property taxes," Oveson told the council.  "It's unfair to raise the rates on those paying the additional amount."  City officials, however, argued that the tax hike was needed to keep the city afloat.  Deep cuts had been made to the city's essential services, they said, and little more could be cut.     Read more
 
 
Colorado City denied return of seized items
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Tuesday, October 19, 2010

KINGMAN — A Mohave County judge denied a motion allowing the return of seized computer items from a Colorado City fire department.  Superior Court Commissioner Derek Carlisle denied a request by the city of Colorado City to return computer hard drives and cameras sized when Mohave County law enforcement officers raided the fire stations April 6 in Colorado City and in Hildale, Utah, as well as the homes of Colorado City Fire Chief Jake Barlow and Colorado City Manager David Darger.  The investigation is looking into the alleged misuse of the fire department's credit cards for personal use in connection with the fire departments and the city government.  Carlisle also denied the appointment of a special master, an unbiased third party who would review data from the seized computers.  A Utah judge also denied returning the items seized in Hildale but did appoint a special master to review information on the computers, Deputy Mohave County Attorney James Schoppman said.  Schoppman added that the case still is being reviewed by his office for criminal charges against Barlow or Darger.  The computers are being examined by experts from the state's Attorney General's Office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety in Phoenix.     Read more
 
 
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG)
Legal Notices
The Spectrum
Originally published November 19, 2010

HILDALE CITY WILL HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING TO CONSIDER POTENTIAL PROJECTS FOR WHICH FUNDING MAY BE APPLIED UNDER THE CDBG SMALL CITIES PROGRAM FOR PROGRAM YEAR 2011. SUGGESTIONS FOR POTENTIAL PROJECTS WILL BE SOLICITED, BOTH VERBALLY AND IN WRITING, FROM ALL INTERESTED PARTIES. THE EXPECTED AMOUNT OF CDBG FUNDS FOR THIS PROGRAM YEAR WILL BE DISCUSSED ALONG WITH THE RANGE OF PROJECTS ELIGIBLE UNDER THIS PROGRAM AND A REVIEW OF PREVIOUSLY FUNDED PROJECTS. THE HEARING WILL BEGIN AT 6:00 P.M. ON NOVEMBER 26, 2010 AND WILL BE HELD AT THE HILDALE CITY HALL, 320 EAST NEWEL AVENUE, HILDALE, UTAH. FURTHER INFORMATION CAN BE OBTAINED BY CONTACTING MAYOR DAVID ZITTING AT 435-874-2323. IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, INDIVIDUALS NEEDING SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS (INCLUDING AUXILIARY COMMUNICATIVE AIDS AND SERVICES) DURING THE HEARING SHOULD NOTIFY VINCEN BARLOW, CITY RECORDER AT THE HILDALE CITY HALL, 320 EAST NEWEL AVENUE, HILDALE, UTAH AT LEAST THREE DAYS PRIOR TO THE HEARING.

PUBLISHED IN THE SPECTRUM ON NOVEMBER 19, 2010.

Pub#L3051
published November 19, 2010
The Spectrum
UPAXLP
 
 
Census could change number of supervisors
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Friday, December 24, 2010

KINGMAN — Mohave County could know in three months if there will be five supervisors elected in November 2012.  The elections office expects to have U.S. 2010 census results of county or state elections by March or early April 2011.  Depending on the county's population, the supervisor districts will likely change from three to five districts.  Other district boundaries that also could change are the Mohave Community College and the justice of the peace districts, both which already have five districts, elections director Allen Tempert said.  Once the census numbers are released, the board of supervisors likely will meet by the end of 2011 to divide the county into five supervisory districts.  The board will define the boundaries and make the districts equal to each other, with no district having a 10 percent difference in population, Tempert said.  The 2009 census estimates that Bullhead City has 40,747 people.  Kingman's population was estimated at 27,521 and Lake Havasu City's population was 55,657.  The fourth incorporated city in the county is Colorado City with an estimated population of 4,668 in 2009.  Preliminary figures released Tuesday for the 2010 census showed Arizona's population rose 24.6 percent, the second fastest in the country behind Nevada, which had a 35.1 percent increase.  California's population rose 10 percent and Utah's population rose 23.8 percent.  Arizona now has almost 6.6 million and the nation has 308.7 million people.     Read more
 
 
County releases delinquent tax list
Brian Ahern
The Spectrum
Originally published December 30, 2010

ST. GEORGE - Washington County released its 2010 delinquent tax list this week, and officials say collection rates continue the lower-than-normal trend of recent years.  With property tax collection rates hovering around 90 percent the past few years, County Administrator Dean Cox said the burden of keeping the county's budget afloat continues to shift more heavily to those who are responsible with their tax payments.  "It's a problem for the county and it's a problem for all the other taxpayers," he said.  "The state adjusts the mill levy to compensate for that."  County Auditor Kim Hafen said property taxes are the second-highest source of revenue for the county and rates for those taxes are inexplicably linked to the success in collecting them.  Every December the county locks in the following year's budget while predicting how much tax revenue will be received during that year.  Any discrepancies between how much is predicted and how much is collected, Hafen added, would have to be made up in the form of higher rates.  "The county operates all year on the money that won't be collected until November and December," he said.  "If the collection rates are going down, then that means the tax rates go up."  An example of this could be seen in the county's 2011 budget.  When the preliminary budget was proposed in November, the county had collected about $3.9 million out of the nearly $14 million tax collection budget.  The county will not know until the end of the year how much of that $14 million has been collected.  As for how much the tax rates are expected to change, Hafen said that is usually determined during the middle of the year.  "We do those calculations in May and June," he said.  The ramifications of festering delinquent property taxes could be seen in the town of Hildale.     Read more
 
 
The Vent
The Spectrum
Originally published January 29, 2011

I am very angry.  The other night at the big box store 2 women from the south had just used over $1000 worth of food stamps.  I guess they collect from all the wives.  My money supporting all these people.
 
 
When politicians goof, we all pay for it
By Les Leyne
Times Colonist - Victoria and Vancouver Island
Originally published March 3, 2011

Taxpayers shelled out $245,000 to a failed casino developer 11 years after the notorious scandal over the gambling licence in Burnaby brought down former premier Glen Clark.  A recently released annual report of all the legal settlements made by the government of B.C. brought the old story -in which New Democratic Party leadership candidates Adrian Dix and Mike Farnworth figured prominently -to light once again.  The payout was authorized by government lawyers to avoid a claim based on malfeasance and negligence.  The recipient of the payout is a numbered company that submitted a casino plan for a Burnaby location when the government put out a request for proposals in 1998.  Another company, headed by a neighbour of then-premier Clark, also submitted a plan.  Clark's relationship with that proponent eventually turned into a scandal that forced him to resign.  It also brought the process of selecting a new charity casino proposal in Burnaby to a crashing halt.  That appears to be the basis for a legal claim fled by the first proponent -471438 B.C. Ltd., a company owned by businessman Derrick Luu.  Clark was charged with breach of trust and acquitted in 2002.  His neighbour, Dimitrios Pilarinos, was convicted and sentenced to house arrest.  The claim by the numbered company was filed in 2004 and quietly proceeded to the settlement stage over the years.  The settlement payment to Luu's company was made in March 2010.  The explanation was that the company had made a claim against the government based on "alleged negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, negligence and misfeasance in public office, arising from the rejection of the plaintiff's ... proposal for a casino in Burnaby, in 1998."  The notice said that a government lawyer advised that in his opinion the plaintiff might be successful in its claim.  So it was deemed in the public interest to settle the claim.  It included interest, taxable costs and disbursements.     Read more
 
 
Airport improvements on ADOT's radar
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Thursday, March 17, 2011

KINGMAN — The state transportation department released construction projects for the next five years, including several projects in Mohave County.  The Arizona Department of Transportation released its five-year projects amounting to $6.4 billion for the state from 2012 to 2016.  Of that, Mohave County will see $163.2 million in projects in the five years, including $27.7 million in 2012.  The projects include construction or repair of highways, freeways and airports.  The Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport is scheduled to get $34.5 million to extend a thousand feet of the runway, buying 75 acres of land for development, taxiway reconstruction and runway preservation.  The Kingman airport will get $16.8 million, the Lake Havasu City airport will get $2.5 million, the Grand Canyon West airport will get $38.3 million and the Colorado City airport will get $6.9 million.  The county is still looking at state or federal funding for the Vanderslice Road project in Mohave Valley.  The design and construction of the Vanderslice Road project would turn the road into a paved, two-lane north-south alternative road to Highway 95.
 
 
The Vent
The Spectrum
Originally published March 26, 2011

Scream all you want about the illegals taking advantage of Medicaid and food stamps, but they can't hold a candle to the abuse of the program of polygamists.  But Utah doesn't seem to care about losing millions of dollars to them and turns a blind eye to them breaking the law of bigamy under the guise of freedom of religion.  Shame on the attorney general for not protecting the children and failure to protect the young men who are thrown out if they are a threat to the old men.
 
 
The Vent
The Spectrum
Originally published April 2, 2011

I agree with the person about the polygamists and the fact our A.G. won't prosecute them.  Just go to the store and watch the guy set in his nice new vehicle and talk on the cell while three or four or more very young girls go in and shop with their food stamps and whatever other programs they get free.  Do your job Mr. Attorney General!
 
 
Unemployment hits some parts of county harder than others
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Tuesday, July 5, 2011

KINGMAN — The unemployment rate for May varies from rural areas of Mohave County compared to its four incorporated cities.  Mohave County's unadjusted unemployment rate for last month is 9.7 percent, a decrease from 10.2 percent in April.  It was at 10.9 percent in March.  In May 2010, the county's seasonal adjusted unemployment rate was 10.8 percent.  With a work force of about 21,700 people, Bullhead City's unemployment rate is 9.3 percent for May or 2,014 people who are unemployed.  The unemployment rate in Mohave Valley is 7.3 percent with a labor force of almost 8,500 people, according to the Arizona Department of Administration.  For the month of May, Kingman has an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent while Lake Havasu City's unemployment rate is 7.4 percent.  The unemployment rate in Golden Valley is 19.7 percent.  Colorado City has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the county at 6.3 percent.  The highest areas of unemployment in the county include Dolan Springs at 22 percent and Peach Springs at 24.6 percent.  The Butler area of Kingman also has a high unemployment rate at almost 15 percent for the month of May.  Arizona's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped slightly to 9.1 percent in May compared to April.  The unemployment rate in Arizona was 10 percent in May 2010.  In the United States, the unemployment rate edged up slightly to 9.1 percent for May as compared to 9 percent in April.  In May 2010, the country's unemployment rate was 9.6 percent.
 
 
Bleeding the Beast: Polygamist sect accused of abusing welfare
Keith Lovely Jr.
In Session
CNN
Originally published August 3, 2011

In discussions about Warren Jeffs and the FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) church the topic of "bleeding the beast," or taking advantage of government money, often comes up. A former polygamist sect member, Laurie Allen, talked about it in an interview on In Session. Allen produced "Banking on Heaven," a documentary about the FLDS under Jeffs' leadership. During our interview last week, Allen claimed the FLDS collects food stamps and other forms of public assistance because many of the women technically are still single. In the FLDS, multiple women are often "celestially married" to one man, with only one of the women being legally married to their collective husband. That means the other illegitimate wives can collect assistance for themselves and their children.

Allen said the group also collects government assistance for children with disabilities – disabilities she attributes to inbreeding in the FLDS community. She claims "in the state ofArizonaalone, they're getting between 20 and 30 million dollars a year" and most of the members "are living off taxpayer money." She interviewed former Attorney General Terry Goddard in her documentary. Goddard told her 80% of the FLDS members are on welfare and more than 4,000 of them have state medical insurance access.     Read more
 
 
Illegal polygamist groups should not get welfare funds
By Jacqueline Bradford
Opinion
Standard-Examiner - Ogden, Utah
Originally published August 8, 2011

I have been writing to Congress and the White House to get someone anyone to expose the truth about the FLDS sects. I am aware that the LDS church does not want to get involved but is there anyone there with some moral fiber? Not only are the children abused in all matter of the word they are also "bleading the beast" us the tax payers as part of their "religion" which I am hard pressed to say. What about our states welfare money? Why should they get Government money for polygamy? I need some help financially too should I also committ fraud against the State of Utah in the name of God? Do not wimp out; contact law makers and enforcers to do what needs to be done. Break it up - tear it down and quit funding it through my taxes.

Jacqueline Bradford
Ogden
 
 
Read Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith's Press Release regarding the 30 indictments against Colorado City Fire District Chief Jacob Barlow, issued August 16, 2011
 
 
Colorado City fire chief indicted for misuse of funds
by Aaron Granillo
KTAR
Originally broadcast August 16, 2011

Colorado City's Fire Chief, Jacob Barlow, has been indicted on 30 counts including the misuse of fire funds for personal gain.  Barlow allegedly spent fire funds on things like digital picture frames, travel and computer equipment.  "Some of the information in the indictment is based upon moving fire district funds...to a more traditional bank account and then funds being used for his use or another's use out of those bank accounts," said Deputy Mohave County Attorney James Schoppmann.  Barlow has been indicted on 27 counts of violating the duties of a custodian of public monies, two counts of participating in a criminal syndicate and one count of assisting a criminal syndicate.  Barlow's attorney has been identified as Michael Piccarreta, who was also an attorney for Colorado City polygamist Warren Jeffs.
 
 
FLDS officials indicted
By Dave Hawkins Special to the Standard-Times
San Angelo Standard-Times
Originally published August 16, 2011

SAN ANGELO, Texas — While polygamous sect prophet Warren Jeffs settles into his life prison sentence in Texas for sexually assaulting two underage girls, law enforcement officials continue applying pressure against alleged corruption in Northern Arizona and Southern Utah, where the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is based.  A 30-count criminal indictment returned by a Mohave County Superior Court Jury Aug. 4 in Kingman, Ariz., alleges misappropriation of public funds by Colorado City Fire District Chief Jacob Barlow.  Three counts are for participating or assisting in a criminal syndicate while the other 27 charges are for "violating the duties of a custodian of public monies."  Another man charged in portions of the Aug. 4 indictment is unnamed because he has not been served or arrested.  Deputy Mohave County attorney James Schoppmann said the investigation began in January 2008 after a manager of a restaurant in St. George, Utah, reported that Barlow, 55, used a fire district credit card to purchase lunch for his wife.  The probe led to searches of fire stations in Arizona and Utah in April 2010 as well as the homes of Barlow and David Darger, the Colorado City town manager who also was serving as fire district treasurer/secretary at the time.  An affidavit for the search warrants indicated authorities were investigating alleged misuse of fire district credit cards and funds for computer equipment, travel, motels, meals, groceries and furniture. Boxes of evidence seized during the unwelcome raids were transported to Kingman, where Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith said it would take months to review to determine whether charges would be filed.     Read more
 
 
Colorado City Fire Chief Jacob 'Jake' Barlow Indicted
by Brian Wedemeyer
KCSG Television
Originally published August 16, 2011

(Kingman, AZ) - The Chief of the Colorado City Fire District has been named in a 30 count criminal indictment.  Jacob Barlow is charged with 27 counts of violating his duties as custodian of public monies.  He also has been charged with three counts of participating in a criminal syndicate in the August 4 indictment by a Mohave County grand jury.  Another Colorado City Fire District official who has not yet been publicly named faces 12 of the same 30 charges.  Arraignments in the case involving alleged misuse of public funds are expected early next week.  Management of the twin towns (Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah), as well as the FLDS Church and its religious traditions, have been under increased scrutiny since 2005, following allegations of a number of underage marriages and misuse of church funds.  This led Utah officials to appoint a special fiduciary, Salt Lake CPA Bruce Wisan, to oversee the communities' holdings, which are known as the United Effort Plan Trust.  Utah took over financial oversight of the United Effort Plan Trust in 2005 amid allegations of mismanagement by the FLD leader, Warren Jeffs, who is now serving a life sentence in Texas after being convicted of sexual assault on two underage girls in his church.  Wisan said at the time of the raid in April 2010 that there was evidence of funds having been mishandled and as much as $2-million dollars misappropriated over seven years.     See photo
 
 
Colorado City Fire District chief indicted
By Dave Hawkins
SPECIAL TO THE LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Originally published August 16, 2011

KINGMAN, Ariz. -- Jacob Barlow, chief of the Colorado City Fire District in northern Arizona, has been indicted on three counts of participating in or assisting in a criminal syndicate and 27 counts of "violating the duties of a custodian of public monies."  The indictment dated Aug. 4 alleged that district funds, from $8,000 to $38,000 at a time, were transferred illegally into traditional bank accounts.  It details offenses from February 2004 until search warrants were served in April 2010.  The name of a second defendant charged in portions of the indictment has not been disclosed.  Authorities served search warrants at fire stations, at Barlow's home and at the home of David Darger, the Colorado City town manager who served as secretary/treasurer of the fire district in April 2010.  Boxes of receipts and other evidence seized during the searches were taken to Kingman, where Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith said it would take months to review the materials.  An affidavit for the search warrants indicated authorities were investigating misuse of fire district funds for travel, motels, meals, groceries, gifts, furniture, computer equipment and other items.  "I'm actually fairly mystified that they would bring these charges, but I'm not surprised," said Barlow's attorney, Michael Piccarreta, calling it a "frivolous prosecution."     Read more
 
 
Indictment: Fire chief stole polygamous town funds
JENNIFER DOBNER
Associated Press
The Spectrum
Originally published August 17, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY — The fire chief in the polygamous sect-run border town of Colorado City, Ariz., is facing a 30-count felony criminal indictment that alleges he improperly used public funds to pay for items including furniture and an out-of-state trip.  The town is one of two on the Utah-Arizona border dominated by followers of Warren Jeffs' Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Jeffs, 55, is serving a life sentence in Texas after being convicted of sexually abusing underage sect girls.  A Mohave County, Ariz., grand jury returned the indictment against Fire Chief Jacob Barlow on Aug. 4 — the same day the Texas jury returned two guilty verdicts against Jeffs.  Barlow has been summoned to appear in a Kingman courtroom Tuesday, Deputy Mohave County Attorney James Schoppmann said.  The indictment, which Schoppmann described but has not yet been made public, alleges 27 counts of violating the duty of a custodian of public money, two counts of participating in a criminal syndicate and one count of assisting in a criminal syndicate.  "We believe it's a frivolous indictment," Barlow's attorney, Michael Piccarreta told The Associated Press on Wednesday.  "There are lots of expenses for running a fire department beyond driving to and back from a fire."  Mohave County's investigation of Barlow began in January 2008 after a St. George, Utah, restaurant manager contacted county authorities to report that he believed Barlow had used a fire department credit card to buy dinner for his wife.     Read more
 
 
Colorado City fire chief faces 30 charges
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Wednesday, August 17, 2011

KINGMAN — The Colorado City fire chief has been indicted on 30 criminal charges based on an April 2010 raid on that city's fire station and official's homes.  Colorado City Fire Chief Jake Barlow was charged on an original indictment Aug. 4 on 27 counts of violating the duties as custodian of public funds, two counts of participating in a criminal syndicate and one count of assisting in a criminal syndicate, Deputy Mohave County Attorney James Schoppman said.  Barlow is expected to be arraigned Aug. 23 before Superior Court Judge Steven Conn.  His defense attorney will be Mike Piccarreta, the Tucson attorney for Warren Jeffs when he faced criminal charges in Mohave County.  Barlow faces up to 12 years and six months in prison if he is tried and convicted of each of the more serious participating in a criminal syndicate charge.  Mohave County law enforcement officers raided the fire stations April 6, 2010 in Colorado City and in Hildale, Utah as well as the homes of Barlow and Colorado City Manager David Darger.  The investigating into Darger is ongoing.  Colorado City, along with Hildale, is the home of the polygamist sect of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church.  The investigation looked into the alleged misuse of the fire department's credit cards for personal use in connection with the fire departments and the city government.  Seized in the raid were computer hard drives and cameras.  The computers were examined by experts from the state's Attorney General's Office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety in Phoenix.     Read more
 
 
Indictment: Fire chief stole polygamous town funds
by Dennis Wagner
The Arizona Republic
Originally published August 17, 2011

The fire chief in a polygamist community on the Arizona-Utah border has been indicted by a Mohave County grand jury on 30 felony counts related to the alleged looting of public funds.  Jacob "Jake" Barlow, who oversees the Colorado City Fire District, is accused of violating his custodial duty to oversee public funds in 27 felony counts, according to the Mohave County Attorney's Office.  He also is charged with three counts related to the operation of a criminal syndicate.  A search-warrant affidavit issued in April said investigators discovered that Fire District credit cards had been used to purchase tens of thousands of dollars worth of computers, food, furniture and other items unrelated to firefighting operations.  The affidavit alleges that Barlow and David W. Darger, secretary-treasurer of the district, also periodically withdrew "large check warrants" for themselves.  Barlow was not arrested but is scheduled for arraignment Tuesday in Mohave County Superior Court.  He could not be reached for comment.  Barlow's attorney, Michael Piccarreta, said he offered to explain to prosecutors that "each and every dollar was spent with a fire department purpose, but they chose to bring an indictment instead. So now we'll have to explain that in the courtroom," he added.  Prosecutors would not disclose whether any other suspects are charged in the indictment.  Authorities are legally constrained from divulging names of defendants until they have been served.  Darger, who also is town manager, did not respond to a phone message.     Read more
 
 
Colorado City chief indicted
Erin Taylor
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published August 18, 2011

KINGMAN - A Colorado City official is facing charges in connection with an investigation into the alleged misuse of Fire District funds.  Fire Chief Jacob Barlow is charged with 30 counts, including three counts of participating or assisting a criminal syndicate and 27 counts of violating his duties as a custodian of public funds.  Barlow was indicted Aug. 4 but was not placed under arrest.  He'll make his first court appearance when he is arraigned in Mohave Superior Court next week.  The County Attorney's Office said it cannot comment if any more indictments will be handed down.  Prosecutors said Barlow's indictment is connected to search warrants served in April 2010 at the Colorado City and bordering Hildale, Utah, fire district offices, as well as the homes of Barlow and Colorado City Manager David Darger.  The affidavit leading to the search warrant alleged that Barlow and Darger were transferring money out of the district's account with the County Treasurer's Office and into two bank accounts.  The account with the Treasurer's Office contains tax money given to the fire district that is to be used for district expenses.  Two transfers in December 2009 and January 2010 totaled $30,000.  That money was believed to have been used to pay off fire district credit cards.  The fire district reportedly had six credit cards at the time the search warrants were granted.     Read more
 
 
Read Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith's Press Release regarding the 13 indictments against Colorado City Fire District Secretary/Treasurer David Darger, issued August 18, 2011
 
 
Second official from Arizona polygamous community indicted for alleged misuse of public funds
Article by: Associated Press
Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune
Originally published August 18, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY - A second official from the polygamous sect-run town of Colorado City, Ariz., has been indicted on criminal charges for an alleged misuse of public funds.  The Mohave County attorney's office says in a statement that David Darger improperly used a city credit card while serving as secretary-treasurer of the city fire district.  Darger faces 13 felony counts of violating the duty of a custodian of public money, participating in a criminal syndicate and assisting in a criminal syndicate.  An arraignment is set for Aug. 23 in Kingman's Mohave Superior Court.  A message left after hours for Darger's attorney, Colin Campbell, was not returned.  Colorado City sits along the Utah border and is home to followers of convicted child sex offender and Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leader Warren Jeffs.
 
 
Colorado City official named in indictment
By Dave Hawkins
SPECIAL TO THE LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Originally published August 18, 2011

KINGMAN, Ariz. -- Colorado City Town Manager David Darger is the second public official named in a 30-count indictment alleging widespread misuse of public funds.  That Darger is the co-defendant of Fire District Chief Jacob Barlow became public Thursday when Darger's attorney, Colin Campbell, accepted service of the Aug. 4 indictment by a Mohave County Grand Jury in Kingman.  Barlow, 55, is charged with 27 counts of misuse of public monies and three counts of either participating or assisting in a criminal enterprise.  Darger, 41, faces each of the three criminal enterprise-related counts, but only nine of the others.  All of the counts involve alleged misuse of Fire District funds or credit cards from February 2004 until April 2010.  The counts for Darger involve his previous role as Fire District secretary/treasurer, not his general municipal administrative duties.  As a basis for warrants authorizing searches of fire stations and the residences of Darger and Barlow in April 2010, an affidavit said authorities were investigating questionable expenditures for travel, motels, furniture, computer equipment, groceries and candy.  The indictment earlier this month also alleges that the defendants were responsible for illegal transfers of large sums of money from the Fire District to traditional bank accounts which were used to finance illegal purchases.  The nine transfers in question involved increments ranging from $8,000 to $38,000.     Read more
 
 
Letters To The Editor
Utah must put a stop to polygamy
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published August 20, 2011

In 1868, my great-grandfather, Morris, was asked to take a second wife. She was a young widow with infant twin sons. He was asked to do this because he was a merchant and had the ability to support them.

In 1883, my great-grandfather, James, was asked to take a second wife, a middle-aged woman who came from Denmark with no family or friends. He was asked to do this because he had a large farm and could support her.

It seems that with our friends south of here, a man sees a woman (girl) that looks good to him and never gives a thought of how he will support her. When she has a baby, she is put on the welfare records as a "single mother" and receives all the benefits of the state welfare.

As a senior citizen living on a fixed income, and not having a raise for a few years, I get upset at the thought that my large taxes are supporting this "single mother." She buys huge amounts of expensive meats and groceries, while I can hardly afford to feed my husband and myself, just so some man can enjoy his "benefits." It is past time for the state of Utah to do something about this situation!

SONDRA B. LOGAN, HURRICANE
 
 
Colorado City manager indicted on 13 charges
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Monday, August 22, 2011

KINGMAN — The Colorado City manager has been indicted on 13 criminal charges after an April 2010 raid on his home and the city's fire station.  Colorado City Manager David Darger was indicted on 10 counts of violating the duties as custodian of public funds, two counts of participating in a criminal syndicate and one count of assisting in a criminal syndicate.  The violations allegedly occurred between February 2004 and April 2010, Deputy Mohave County Attorney James Schoppman said.  Darger had been elected the secretary-treasurer for the Colorado City Fire District.  The fire district is now governed by a five-member board.  Colorado City Fire Chief Jake Barlow was also indicted Aug. 4 on 27 counts of violating the duties as custodian of public funds, two counts of participating in a criminal syndicate and one count of assisting in a criminal syndicate.  Barlow had also been elected the fire chief for the district.  Darger and Barlow are expected to be arraigned Tuesday in Kingman before Superior Court Judge Steven Conn.  Each charge of the participating in a criminal syndicate carries a potential prison sentence of up to 12 1/2 years.  The investigation, which began in 2008, looked into the alleged misuse of the fire district's credit cards for personal use such as purchases at restaurants, grocery stores, discount department stores and even food and lodging at an Idaho resort, which was claimed to be for training.     Read more
 
 
Polygamy town officials set for court hearing
Posted by Jennifer Jones
KPHO CBS 5 Phoenix
Originally published Aug 23, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Government officials from the polygamous sect-run town of Colorado City, Ariz., are scheduled for arraignment on criminal charges for allegedly misusing public funds.  Fire Chief Jacob Barlow and City Manager David Darger are both expected to enter not guilty pleas during a Tuesday hearing in Mohave Superior Court in Kingman.  Barlow and Darger were indicted separately on charges of violating the duty of a custodian of public money, participating in a criminal syndicate and assisting in a criminal syndicate.  Barlow faces 30 counts.  Darger faces 13.  Attorneys for both men could not be reached before the hearing Tuesday.  Colorado City is one of two towns on the Utah-Arizona border dominated by followers of convicted child sex offender and Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leader Warren Jeffs.
 
 
2 plead not guilty in funds case
Colorado City officials accused of misappropriations
By Dave Hawkins
Special to the Standard-Times
San Angelo Standard-Times
Originally published August 23, 2011

KINGMAN, Ariz. — Two public officials accused of misappropriating funds from the Colorado City Fire District entered not guilty pleas during their Tuesday arraignments in Mohave County Superior Court.  Superior Court Judge Steve Conn scheduled Sept. 26 case management conferences in the case against fire district Chief Jacob Barlow, 55, and Colorado City Town Manager David Darger, 41.  The isolated twin communities of Colorado City and Hildale, Utah, are occupied almost entirely by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the sect led by Warren Jeffs, who was recently convicted by a Tom Green County jury of two counts of child sex assault and sentenced to life in prison.  Barlow is charged with 27 counts of misuse of public money and three counts of either participating or assisting in a criminal enterprise.  Darger faces each of the three criminal enterprise related counts, but only 10 of the others.  All of the counts involve alleged misuse of fire district funds from February 2004 until April 2010.  The counts for Darger involve his previous role as fire district secretary/treasurer, not his general municipal administrative duties.  As a basis for warrants authorizing searches of fire stations and the residences of Darger and Barlow in April 2010, a probable cause affidavit said authorities were investigating questionable expenditures for travel, motels, furniture, computer equipment, groceries and candy.     Read more
 
 
Colorado City officials plead innocent
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Wednesday, August 24, 2011

KINGMAN — The city manager and fire chief of Colorado City pleaded not guilty Tuesday to criminal charges after an April 2010 raid on their homes and the city's fire station.  On April 6, 2010, Mohave County law enforcement officers raided the fire stations in Colorado City and Hildale, Utah as well as Colorado City Manager David Darger and Colorado City Fire Chief Jacob Leonard Barlow's homes.  Colorado City, along with Hildale, is the home of the polygamist sect of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Darger was arraigned Tuesday in Superior Court on 10 counts of violating the duties as custodian of public funds, two counts of participating in a criminal syndicate and one count of assisting in a criminal syndicate.  The actions allegedly occurred between February 2004 and April 2010.  Darger had been elected the secretary-treasurer for the Colorado City Fire District.  Barlow was also arraigned on 27 counts of violating his duties as custodian of public funds, two counts of participating in a criminal syndicate and one count of assisting in a criminal syndicate.  Barlow had also been elected the fire chief for the fire district, which is now governed by a five-member board.  Deputy Mohave County Attorney James Schoppman told the judge Tuesday that he may also file charges against the suspects based on a search warrant in Utah.  Schoppman did not release an amount on the misused funds.  He also said the rare charge of violating public funds had been used in Arizona and had fit the codefendant's crime.     Read more
 
 
Polygamous town officials enter pleas in funds case
Associated Press
Deseret News
Originally published Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011

KINGMAN, Ariz. — Two officials from the polygamous sect-run town of Colorado City, Ariz., pleaded not guilty Tuesday to allegations that they misused public funds earmarked for a regional fire district.  Fire Chief Jacob Barlow and City Manager and fire district treasurer/secretary David Darger entered the pleas in Mohave Superior Court in Kingman, Darger's attorney Anne Chapman said.  Both remained free on their own recognizance.  Colorado City and its twin community of Hildale, Utah, are dominated by followers of Warren Jeffs, the convicted child sex offender and Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leader.  Church members serve at every level of government services and administration.  A Mohave County, Ariz., grand jury returned separate indictments against Barlow and Darger on Aug. 4 — the same day a Texas jury convicted Jeffs, although the timing was coincidental, Deputy Mohave County Attorney James Schoppmann has said.  Barlow and Darger were indicted on felony charges of violating the duty of a custodian of public money, participating in a criminal syndicate and assisting in a criminal syndicate.  Barlow faces a combined 30 counts, and Darger faces 13.  Chapman, of Phoenix, said the indictment stems from alleged technical violations of state laws.  "I don't think there will be that much in dispute" once its clear how the fire district funds were used, she said.     Read more
 
 
Board to review flood control improvements
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Sunday, September 11, 2011

KINGMAN — An agreement with Bullhead City for flood control improvements goes before the county supervisors Monday.  The board of supervisors will reconsider the agreement with the city that was approved at the June meeting for more than $1,384,000 for flood control improvements in the Bullhead City area for the 2011-12 fiscal year.  Also to be discussed is more than $855,000 for improvements in Kingman, more than $2.5 million for improvements in Lake Havasu City and less than $23,000 for flood control improvements in Colorado City.  In the Bullhead City area, the project includes flood control improvements for Havasupai Wash, Chaparral Wash and Fox Wash.  Other projects include sewer improvements, maintenance of all washes and drainages throughout Bullhead City and completion of work on Montano Wash near Gold Rush Road.  The flood control division will also begin Monday the Rapid Infiltration Basin project at Saguaro Way in the Rancho Palo Verde subdivision in Mohave Valley.  The flood control project is to partially drain water from collecting on the paved street after a storm.  The project is expected to take about a week with construction hours from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  The board of supervisors will hold its meeting at 9:30 a.m. Monday in the board of supervisor's auditorium at the county administration building, 700 W. Beale St., Kingman.
 
 
County funnels $2.5 million toward Havasu flood projects
By JAYNE HANSON
Today's News-Herald - Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Originally published Tuesday, September 13, 2011

KINGMAN — The Mohave County Board of Supervisors — sitting as Board of Directors for Mohave County Flood District — handed out $4.8 million Monday for flood-control projects in communities throughout Mohave County.  During the meeting, city officials from two of the four cities gave slideshow-type presentations of projects funded by Flood District money at the Board's request.  Kingman city officials deemed its channel and box culvert project associated with Johnson Canyon Wash project, projected to cost $2.7 million, is the focus of their 2011 monetary award of $855,000.  Bullhead City city officials earmarked the $1.3 million award for the third and fourth phases of Chaparral/Havasupai flood project, and the Montana Wash project, and Silver Creek Slope Stabilization project.  Colorado City city officials didn't attend but met with staff Friday to discuss the $22,000 that would subsidize the restructuring of areas hit hard during a Dec. 2010 storm that resulted in the region being designated an emergency area.     Read more
 
 
Cities receive funds for flood control projects
Suzanne Adams
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published September 14, 2011

KINGMAN - In an ironic twist of fate, the Board of Supervisors asked representatives from the three major cities and Colorado City to present a prioritized list of flood control projects Monday, a day before a flash flood warning was issued for Mohave County.  The intergovernmental agreements between the county's flood control district and each of the four cities were approved in June, but Board Chairman Buster Johnson asked the Board to reconsider the funding because the county expects to take in less money through property taxes this year and he wanted to give the cities a chance to prioritize their projects.  Greg Henry, an engineer for the city of Kingman, said the city has 10 projects that it hopes to fund.  The most important project was improvements to Johnson Canyon Wash.  The wash runs past the downtown Kingman wastewater treatment plant, Henry said.  The city is under a state mandate to upgrade the plant and remove it from the wash's flood plain.  Work on the project has already been started, he said.  The city has already installed a box culvert to divert a 100-year flood flow and is currently working on widening the wash channel in order to bring the plant out of the flood zone.  The project will also include erosion control measures.     Read more
 
 
Motions argued against Colorado City officials
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Monday, October 3, 2011

KINGMAN — Several motions were argued Friday on the spending practices of the Colorado City Fire District.  Mohave County law enforcement officers raided April 6, 2010 the Colorado City and Hildale fire stations as well as Colorado City Manager David Darger and Colorado City Fire Chief Jacob Leonard Barlow's homes.  Colorado City and Hildale, Utah, are the homes of the polygamist sect of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church.  Darger faces 13 felony counts including 10 counts of violating the duties as custodian of public funds, two counts of participating in a criminal syndicate and one count of assisting in a criminal syndicate.  The charges allegedly occurred between February 2004 and April 2010.  Darger had been elected the secretary-treasurer for the Colorado City Fire District.  Barlow is charged with 27 counts of violating the duties as custodian of public funds, two counts of participating in a criminal syndicate and one count of assisting in a criminal syndicate.  Barlow had also been elected the fire chief for the fire district, which is now governed by a five-member board.  Darger and Barlow's attorneys argued several prosecution motions including adding allegations that the defendants committed multiple offenses on separate occasions.  That could allow Darger and Barlow to face stiffer prison sentences if convicted since some of the counts could be seen as prior convictions.     Read more
 
 
FLDS lawyers Seek Remand of Charges Involving Fire District Funds
By Dave Hawkins
KCSG Television - St. George, Utah
Originally published December 14, 2011

(Kingman, AZ) - Tucson attorney Mike Piccarreta flooded the Mohave County Courthouse in northwest Arizona with voluminous motions during his representation several years ago of Warren Jeffs, the imprisoned prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints based in Northern Arizona and southern Utah.  It appears Piccarreta will do the same in his defense of Jacob Barlow, chief of the Colorado City, Ariz., fire district.  Barlow and Colorado City Town Manager David Darger are charged in an indictment alleging more than three dozen criminal offenses involving misappropriation of thousands of fire district dollars.  Piccarreta has filed a motion to remand the case back to the grand jury for reconsideration of any possible criminal charges.  Piccarreta's 36-page remand motion, and eight more pages of exhibits, alleges Deputy Mohave County attorney James Schoppman blundered his grand jury appearance on the fire district matters.  "This grand jury presentment is one of the worst and most biased presentments to a grand jury that counsel has reviewed. Imprecise facts, erroneous facts and inadequate description of the law were used to obtain these indictments," the motion stated.  "There was no attempt to conduct a fair and accurate presentment of the law or the facts."     Read more
 
 
FLDS attorneys seek dismissal of charges
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Monday, January 30, 2012

KINGMAN — Whether the Mohave County Attorney's Office should prosecute two former officials of Colorado City Fire District were discussed Friday in Superior Court.  Colorado City Manager David William Darger and former Colorado City Fire Chief Jacob Leonard Barlow are charged with the alleged misuse of the fire district's credit cards for personal use such as purchases at restaurants, grocery stores, discount department stores and food and lodging at an Idaho resort, which was claimed to be for fire training.  The fire district money was allegedly deposited into the suspect's own bank account.  The county attorney's office began their investigation in 2008.  On April 6, 2010, Mohave County law enforcement officers raided the Colorado City and Hildale, Utah fire stations as well as Darger and Barlow's homes.  Colorado City, along with Hildale, is the home of the polygamist sect of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church.  Barlow's attorney, Mike Piccarreta, who once represented Warren Jeffs on his Arizona charges, argued that since Mohave County Attorney's Office has represented the fire district in the past that would have an appearance of impropriety if it prosecuted this case.  It was also the prosecutor's job to provide advice to the fire district in civil matters.     Read more
 
 
Judge denies motion to remove county attorney's office from FLDS case
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Sunday, February 12, 2012

KINGMAN — A Superior Court judge denied a motion to disqualify the Mohave County Attorney's Office from prosecuting two former officials of Colorado City Fire District.  Colorado City Manager David William Darger and former Colorado City Fire Chief Jacob Leonard Barlow are each charged with the alleged misuse of the fire district's credit cards for personal use.  The fire district's money was allegedly deposited into the suspect's own bank account and used for purchases at restaurants, grocery stores, discount department stores and food and lodging at an Idaho resort, which was claimed to be for fire training.  At a January hearing, Barlow's attorney, Mike Piccarreta, argued that since Mohave County Attorney's Office has represented the fire district in the past that would have an appearance of impropriety.  It was also the prosecutor's job to provide advice to the fire district in civil matters.  The defense attorney, who once represented Warren Jeffs on his Arizona sex abuse charges, downplayed the items bought as necessary for volunteer firefighters.  Deputy Mohave County Attorney James Schoppman argued that the defense attorneys failed to prove specifically when or on what case his office represented the fire district.  The prosecutor also said he is not prosecuting the fire district but rather Darger and Barlow for the misuse of the funds.     Read more
 
 
Corruption case keeps prosecutors
U.S. News
United Press International
Originally published Feb. 14, 2012

COLORADO CITY, Ariz., Feb. 14 (UPI) -- An Arizona judge says he will not disqualify prosecutors in a case against two officials in a corruption case.  Colorado City (Ariz.) Fire Chief Jacob Barlow and town Manager David Darger are each accused of multiple felonies involving illegal purchases and suspicious travel expenses.  Defense attorneys asked that the Mohave County's Attorney's Office be removed from the case, arguing a conflict of interest, that the attorney's office was the Fire District's attorneys at the time of the alleged crimes.  Superior Court Judge Steven Conn in denying the motion indicated there was no evidence the attorney's office represented the men or offered them legal advice, the Mohave Daily News reported.  Barlow and Darger were indicted on public corruption counts in August, after police in the adjacent towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City sought evidence of illegal money transfers, travel expenses and purchases.  The majority of the towns' residents are adherents of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints, led by Warren Jeffs, which encourages polygamy.
 
 
FLDS defendants file $10 million claim against County, prosecutors
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Friday, February 17, 2012

KINGMAN — Two former officials of Colorado City Fire District filed papers two weeks ago with the intent to sue Mohave County and its county attorney's office for $10 million.  Colorado City Manager David William Darger and former Colorado City Fire Chief Jacob Leonard Barlow filed notice of claims against Deputy Mohave County Attorney James Schoppman, the county attorney's office and Mohave County.  They are claiming malicious prosecution, defamation, negligence and abuse of process.  Darger, the fire district's former secretary-treasurer, and Barlow, its former fire chief, are asking for $5 million each for harm to their reputation, mental anguish and legal costs if the case goes to a civil trial.  Barlow's attorney, Mike Piccarreta is also accusing the county attorney's office of targeting Darger and Barlow for being members of the "disfavored" religious group, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Piccarreta also represented Warren Jeffs, the church's prophet, when he faced charges in Mohave County of sexual conduct with a minor.  Those charges were later dropped. Jeffs is serving life in prison on rape charges in Texas.  A 10-year prison sentence for rape in Utah was overturned.  Piccarreta and Darger's attorney, Anne Chapman, argued that the fire district's account is used to conduct day to day business, to pay for "small" expenses such as annual picnics, award banquets and for food and lodging for out-of-state fire training for its volunteers.  They also said the county attorney's office did not advise the defendants about the law.     Read more
 
 
Former Colorado City fire officials declare intent to sue county for malicious prosecution
Kevin Jenkins
The Spectrum
Originally published February 17, 2012

ST. GEORGE – The Colorado City manager and the city's former fire chief have filed papers declaring their intent to sue Mohave County, Ariz., and its county attorney's office as a result of criminal charges filed last year against the two officials, an Arizona newspaper is reporting.  Former Colorado City Fire Chief Jacob Leonard Barlow and town manager David William Darger, who is the fire district's former secretary-treasurer, filed a notice claiming malicious prosecution, defamation, negligence and abuse of process, according to the Mohave Daily News.  Darger faces 13 charges and Barlow faces 30 charges, all alleging misuse of public funds and participating in or assisting a criminal syndicate following claims they inappropriately used the fire district's credit cards for personal use at businesses in St. George and as far away as southern Idaho.  The fire district's money was allegedly put in an unauthorized bank account and used for purchases at restaurants, grocery stores and lodging at a hot springs resort where the fire crew reportedly went for training.     Read more
 
 
Judge rules against Colorado City fire district
Conn sees no conflict in Colorado City theft case
Erin Taylor
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published February 20, 2012

A Mohave Superior Court Judge has ruled against defense lawyers trying to have the Mohave County Attorney's Office disqualified from the prosecuting two Colorado City Fire District officials charged with theft.  At issue with the motion filed by attorneys representing former fire chief Jacob Barlow and town manager David Darger was the defense's assertion that the County Attorney's Office had previously served as counsel on legal matters for the fire district, which they said would amount to a conflict of interest for Prosecutor James Schoppmann.  According to court documents, Schoppmann spoke at a March 2008 meeting of the Mohave County Fire Officers Association where he reportedly gave advice on fee schedules, property deeds, elections and Department of Justice forms.  He also reportedly approached the district at some point in seeking records of district business.  Another County Attorney also met with the district in 2009 where the district was advised at some point to retain their own counsel.  Judge Steven Conn said most of the defense's arguments weren't detailed enough to warrant merit.  He said it's not clear if Darger and Barlow even attended the 2009 meeting.  As far as Schoppmann's meeting with the pair, he said the defense's own description of that meeting suggests that it was an adversarial encounter, not one where Schoppmann relayed legal advice.     Read more
 
 
Accused pair fire back
Colorado City officials target county
By Dave Hawkins
Special to the Standard-Times
San Angelo Standard-Times
Originally published February 24, 2012

Public officials being prosecuted for alleged misappropriation of Fire District funds in the predominately polygamous community of Colorado City in Northern Arizona have filed notice of claims seeking millions of dollars from Mohave County.  Colorado City Fire District Chief Jacob Barlow and CCFD Secretary/Treasurer David Darger indicated they would refrain from following through with formal lawsuits if they were paid $5 million each.  Barlow, 55, is charged with 27 counts of misuse of public money and three counts of participating in a criminal enterprise.  Darger, 41, who also serves as the city manager of Colorado City, faces the same criminal enterprise charges and 10 counts of misuse of funds.  Darger's lawyer, Anne Chapman, said the prosecution is based in religious persecution.  "It is no secret that there is significant animosity among some of the populace in Mohave County to members of the Colorado City community who follow the practices of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints," Chapman's notice of claim stated.  "In the present case, it just so happens that the only individuals, apparently in the history of the state, to be criminally prosecuted in this manner are FLDS members."  Attorney Mike Piccarreta, the same lawyer who successfully represented FLDS leader Warren Jeffs in his Arizona criminal case, took the same position in the notice of claim he filed on behalf of the fire chief.  "It appears that Chief Barlow was targeted for prosecution because of his membership in a disfavored religious group," the claim notice stated.     Read more
 
 
Walker urges caution on Mohave County spending
Advice offers hint that another tight budget may be coming
Suzanne Adams
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published May 9, 2012

KINGMAN - What may be shaping up as another tight county budget has put funding for a variety of flood control projects in Kingman, Lake Havasu City, Bullhead City and Colorado City on hold.  The Board of Supervisors tabled four intergovernmental agreements with the various cities Monday after County Manager Ron Walker suggested that the county hold off on doling out the dollars until the Board saw the preliminary county budget.  Representatives from each city presented a variety of flood control projects they would like to fund with the money from the district including street improvements, drainage improvements, and wash and culvert improvements.  If the agreements had been approved Kingman would have received more than $509,000, Bullhead more than $712,000, Lake Havasu more than $1.3 million and Colorado City more than $16,000.  Walker said his office was currently working with several county departments to complete the preliminary budget and expected to have it complete by the Board's July meeting.  The county divides up property taxes collected by the Mohave County Flood Control District between the cities each year.     Read more
 
 
Polygamy opens opportunity to take money from taxpayers
Letters to the editor
The Spectrum
Originally published June 6, 2012

While I can agree with much that The Spectrum has written regarding Utah's polygamy policy, the fact is that in a polygamy relationship only the first "wife" is legal by law and remaining wives are "spiritual." But the children of all the wives should be the sole responsibility of the family. The state should not have the responsibility to clothe and feed them.

Many polygamists and others use our welfare laws to supplement their income for the care of several children, legal or not. My understanding is that the state may pay more than $1,500 per month for the care of each child of unwed mothers and foster children. Abuse of this system must not continue. No state can afford to sustain this type of abuse of our laws.

Taxpayers should not pay for polygamist's spiritual wives' children. The decision to have many wives with children lies with the polygamists. Why would anyone choose to work when 10 children on welfare will provide $15,000 or more per month?

NEIL BARNES, ST. GEORGE
 
 
Reader dreams of health plan for members of polygamist groups
Letters To The Editor
The Spectrum
Originally published June 10, 2012

I would like to respond to the letter regarding polygamists taking money from tax payers.

I appreciate the writer's view as it is only through communication that issues can be addressed. I am a nurse, and I have worked for several insurance companies. What I would like to add to your information is that our society does not provide any other option for health insurance to sister wives other than the government-sponsored program. If we allowed them to legally marry based on religious beliefs, and purchase insurance from an employer-sponsored program, I believe most would do so. Individual health policies are not in a price range for the average family, I checked.

Many families in this community pay out of pocket for routine medical expenses however. When there is a serious illness, the costs of hospitalization far exceed the means of most people in any community. Hospitals often require uninsured individuals to apply for Medicaid if they are eligible for it. I assure you another choice would be welcome. My dream job would be to create a health plan for FLDS.

SUSAN MICHAEL, WASHINGTON CITY
 
 
Judge refuses to dismiss charges against FLDS officials
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published June 11, 2012

KINGMAN — A Superior Court judge denied a motion Tuesday to dismiss six of the 30 counts facing the Colorado City manager.  Colorado City Manager David William Darger and former Colorado City Fire Chief Jacob Leonard Barlow are each charged with more than a dozen felonies for the alleged misuse of the fire district's credit cards for personal use.  Darger is charged with 10 counts of violating the duties as custodian of public funds, two counts of participating in a criminal syndicate and one count of assisting in a criminal syndicate.  The charges allegedly occurred between February 2004 and April 2010.  Darger had been the secretary-treasurer for the Colorado City Fire District.  Barlow is charged with 27 counts of violating the duties as custodian of public funds, two counts of participating in a criminal syndicate and one count of assisting in a criminal syndicate.  Barlow had also been the fire chief for the fire district, which is now governed by a five-member board.  Barlow's attorney, Mike Piccarreta, argued at a hearing two weeks ago to dismiss six of the charges based on selective prosecution or that the prosecutor discriminated against the fire district because Darger and Barlow are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church, a polygamist sect in Colorado City.     Read more
 
 
City leaders protest potential loss of some flood control funds
By GREG MOBERLY
Today's News-Herald - Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Originally published Friday, July 6, 2012

If the Mohave County Board of Supervisors follow through in taking a portion of flood control funds from its cities, Lake Havasu City simply plans to get by with what it receives.  But city officials, along with Bullhead City, Kingman and Colorado City officials won't let the supervisors go ahead with their plan without a protest.  At issue, is flood control district funds that are collected by the county and distributed back to the cities.  The funds which are assessed on property taxes are used for wash restoration, storm cleanup, box culverts and wash street crossings.  In its tentative budget, the county has decided to take about $198,000 of Lake Havasu City's nearly $1.4 million, $104,000 of Bullhead City's nearly $713,000, $104,000 of Kingman's nearly $510,000 and about $2,000 of Colorado City's more than $16,000.  Those flood control funds and some diverted library district funds instead will be used by the Sheriff's Office which would have had to eliminate 17 deputy sheriff positions without the funds.     Read more
 
 
Superior Court judge denies motion to remand FLDS charges to grand jury
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Friday, July 13, 2012

KINGMAN — A Superior Court judge denied a motion Tuesday to send a criminal case against two Colorado City officials back to the Mohave County grand jury.  Judge Steven Conn denied a motion to send the criminal cases of Colorado City Manager David William Darger and former Colorado City Fire Chief Jacob Leonard Barlow back to the grand jury.  Darger and Barlow are each charged with more than a dozen felonies for alleged misuse of the fire district's credit cards for their personal use.  Darger and Barlow's attorneys argued that evidence Deputy Mohave County Attorney James Schoppman presented to the grand jury was improper and that he did not allow the defendant's to present their own evidence of prejudice and harassment by law enforcement to the polygamist community.  Colorado City, along with Hildale, Utah, is home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church, a polygamist sect of Mormonism.  The judge previously ruled against a motion to dismiss six of the charges ruling that he found no evidence that Schoppman discriminated against the men because of their religion in pursing the charges.     Read more
 
 
Colorado City recovering from hail, flooding
by Cassondra Strande and Trisha Hendricks
12 News Breaking News Team
The Arizona Republic
Originally published July 17, 2012

Life returned back to normal a bit Tuesday in Colorado City, a day after a storm that dropped marble-sized hail and led to flooding that required emergency crews to respond.  Residents of the Arizona-Utah border town say it's unusual to see the amount of rain the town got Monday.  One creek that is typically dry was teeming with about 2- feet deep water after the monsoon storm swept through.  "I got water in my basement, I've been panning out. It filled up my window wells, and leaked through the panes of glass," said James Pipkin of Colorado City.  The National Weather Service put out early warnings about the flooding, allowing town officials to move into emergency response mode before the storm moved in.  Despite the early warnings, not everything went as planned.  "We had people stranded in the middle of the flood, and a structure fire with smoke coming out of an outlet right in the middle of the flooding," said Colorado City Manager David Darger.  The storm passed through by Monday night clearing up the skies Tuesday.  The weather is expected to be warm and dry with temperatures hovering in the low to mid-90s for the duration of the workweek in Colorado City, according to the National Weather Service.  However, the town of almost 5,000 residents might see another round of thunderstorms over the weekend.
 
 
 
Stop rewarding irresponsible behavior
Written by David Smith
Writers Group
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published July 24, 2012

The founding nature of the United States was established on, among other things, a collective self-responsible behavior encouraging self-reliance and fostering a sense of individual dependability while cultivating charitable behavior and community spirit.  Unfortunately, the growing "gimmy, gimmy" attitude of the populous, coupled with the "nanny-state" mentality of the U.S. government, has moved us further away from this mutual accountability while rewarding lazy, irresponsible behavior.

A lesson to be learned:

"The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing the greatest amount of free meals and food stamps ever. Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us to 'Please do not feed the animals.' Their stated reason for the policy is because the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves."  Governmental programs end up rewarding irresponsible actions while discouraging responsible behavior and ignoring the perpetual cycle of dependency it creates.     Read more
 
 
County supervisors to discuss county budget; proposed RV park in Havasu Heights
By JAYNE HANSON
Today's News-Herald - Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Originally published Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mohave County Board of Supervisors meet for a general meeting Monday in Kingman and are set to discuss the county's fiscal year 2012-2013 budget and a proposed recreational vehicle park in the area of Havasu Heights, which is north of Lake Havasu City.

THE PROPSED BUDGET

Supervisors are set to discuss the county's tentative budget that was approved June 2 by a 2-to-1 vote, with Supervisor Gary Watson, R-Dist. 1, opposed.  Watson was opposed citing reasons of concern pertaining to the other supervisors' intent to sweep $700,000 of flood district dollars earmarked for communities including Havasu, Kingman, Bullhead City, and Colorado City in order to balance budget woes.  The sweep also accumulated $142,500 each from the county's library and television districts.  For example, Lake Havasu City officials had their eye on county flood dollars in the amount of $1.3 million.  After proposed sweeps, Havasu's allocation would be reduced by $198,000 to $1.1 million.  Bullhead was expecting $712,000, but sweeps would reduce that city's portion by $104,000, to $609,000.  Kingman's original $509,893 would be reduced by $74,000, to $435,000, and Colorado City's $16,000 would be reduced by about $2,000 to $13,800.     Read more
 
 
Kingman, other cities get flood reprieve
Suzanne Adams
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published August 7, 2012

Mohave County's four major cities won't lose flood control money to the county sheriff's office this year, thanks to a request from District 2 Supervisor Tom Sockwell.  Before representatives from Lake Havasu and Bullhead cities could lobby the Board to eliminate or reduce the funding cuts, Sockwell asked that the county budget be amended to allow the four cities to receive their full share of the flood control dollars.  Recent storms in Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City have caused havoc and the cities are in need of the funds, he said.  County Manager Ron Walker asked Sockwell if he wanted the county to take the brunt of the $700,00 sweep from its flood control funds.  "Yes," Sockwell said.  The Board of Supervisors had considered cutting some of the funding to Kingman, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu City and Colorado City, as well as the county flood control department, TV District and Library District in July in order to cover a $1 million shortfall in the Mohave County Sheriff's Office's budget.  County Financial Services Director John Timko told the Board in July that sheriff's office was looking at more than $1 million in budget cuts, which would have led to the loss of at least 17 deputies and impacted public safety.  The plan at that time was to sweep more than $900,000 from the special taxing districts, including $142,000 from the Library District, more than $142,500 from the TV District and $700,000 from the Flood Control District.     Read more
 
 
County could bear huge cost of FLDS members defense
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Tuesday, August 21, 2012

KINGMAN — The attorneys for two Colorado City officials charged with the misuse of public funds have asked the judge to withdraw, possibly putting Mohave County on the hook for their defense.  Superior Court Judge Steven Conn set a hearing for the prosecutor's response to a request by the attorneys for Colorado City Manager David William Darger and former Colorado City Fire Chief Jacob Leonard Barlow to withdraw from their cases.  The defendants are each charged with more than a dozen felonies for the alleged misuse of the fire district's credit cards for their personal use.  Darger's attorney, Colin Campbell, and Barlow's attorney, Mike Piccarreta, each have recently filed motions to withdraw as counsels.  Both attorneys argued that the defendants' fees are each in excess of $100,000.  Darger and Barlow's financial statements showing how much money each defendant still owes their attorneys have been sealed.  Both attorneys have said that the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church have paid "some" of their fees.  Campbell and Piccarreta have called their clients indigent and entitled to court-appointed counsel.  Piccarreta also stated that without being paid, it was impossible for him to handle the case without "disastrous financial consequences" to himself or his firm.  He also said most of the work on the large case has not been completed.  Piccarreta would not comment on whether his client is still a member of the FLDS.  No trial date in the two cases has been set.     Read more
 
 
Judge OKs attorneys' request to withdraw from Colorado City corruption case
FELICIA FONSECA
Associated Press
The Spectrum
Originally published August 21, 2012

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — A Mohave County judge has granted a request for case withdrawal by attorneys for two former Colorado City fire officials accused of misusing public funds, leaving taxpayers on the hook for legal representation.  William Darger and Jacob Barlow have pleaded not guilty to charges of violating the duty of a custodian of public money, and participating in and assisting in a criminal syndicate.  Barlow, the former fire chief, faces 30 counts.  Darger, who served as the fire district's secretary/treasurer, faces 13.  Attorneys Colin Campbell and Michael Piccarreta argued during a hearing Tuesday that the men are indigent and entitled to court-appointed counsel.  Piccarreta said the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints had picked up some of the tab for legal expenses but those costs are expected to exceed $100,000 for each man if he and Campbell were to continue with the case.  Superior Court Judge Steven Conn granted the request for the attorneys to withdraw following the hearing and appointed the public defender's office to represent the men.  Conn said he would issue a written ruling later.  Deputy Mohave County Attorney James Schoppman said he did not object to the defense request.  He and Piccarreta said Conn likely wants to elaborate on how the public defender's office can avoid conflicts of interest in taking over the case, which could be done with attorneys contracted with that office.  Piccarreta has called the indictment handed down against Darger and Barlow a year ago "frivolous."  "I do think if they are going to bring a ridiculous case, that Mohave County should be responsible for paying both sides of that," he said Tuesday.     Read more
 
 
Attorneys withdraw from Colorado City case
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Wednesday, August 22, 2012

KINGMAN — A Superior Court judge granted a motion Tuesday to allow private defense attorneys to withdraw from the case of two Colorado City officials charged with the misuse of public funds.  Colorado City Manager David William Darger and former Colorado City Fire Chief Jacob Leonard Barlow are each charged with more than a dozen felonies for the alleged misuse of the fire district's credit cards for their personal use.  Colorado City is home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church, which is a polygamist sect of Mormonism.  Darger's attorney, Colin Campbell, and Barlow's attorney, Mike Piccarreta, asked to withdraw as defense counsels, arguing that the defendants' fees are each in excess of $100,000.  Both attorneys have said that the FLDS church have paid part of their fees and claim that their clients are indigent and entitled to court-appointed counsel.  Piccarreta also said most of the work on the complicated case has not been completed.  With no opposition from Deputy Mohave County Attorney James Schoppman, Judge Steven Conn allowed Campbell and Piccarreta to withdraw from the case and said in a written order expects to reassign the case to the public defender's office. Whether the cases are assigned to public defenders or private attorneys, who are contracted out by the county has not been determined.     Read more
 
 
Burden shifts to Mohave County taxpayers in Colorado City case
Erin Taylor
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published August 26, 2012

Private attorneys representing two Colorado City officials withdrew from the cases last week.  That means that taxpayers will now be paying for the defense of Town Manager David Darger, who formerly served as the fire district's secretary/treasurer, and Fire Chief Jacob Barlow.  Their attorneys, Michael Piccarreta and Anne Chapman, withdrew from the case Monday after the two defendants were declared indigent.  Mohave Superior Court Judge Steven Conn assigned the cases to the Public Defender's Office, though he said in his order that the office will likely kick one of the cases to the Legal Defender's Office since the PDO cannot represent both.  Conn acknowledged that both of those offices are dealing with staffing issues and that it's possible the cases could be assigned to contract counsel, with a pricetag unknown.  "Assigning any one of these cases to contract counsel could have significant financial consequences for Mohave County, although that might depend on the terms of whatever contract they have with the county," Conn wrote.  Prosecutor James Schoppmann has alleged that Darger and Barlow used fire district moneys as their personal slush fund and bought items for themselves on the department's credit card.  Piccarreta said previously that the County Attorney's Office has a vendetta against Colorado City because it was forced to drop charges against polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs.     Read more
 
 
FLDS TRIALS: Taxpayers to cover pair's defense costs
2 in Arizona are accused of misusing funds
By Dave Hawkins Special to the Standard-Times
San Angelo Standard-Times
Originally published September 13, 2012

Private attorneys have abandoned their clients for lack of payment and taxpayers will foot the bill for the criminal defense of two men who are accused of misusing thousands of dollars of public money from a fire district serving the predominately polygamous northern Arizona community of Colorado City.  The city and the neighboring Utah border town of Hildale are an anchor community for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), which also owns the YFZ Ranch in Schleicher County south of San Angelo.  An investigation that began more than four years ago led to the August 2011 multiple count indictments alleging that Jacob Barlow and David Darger misused funds transferred from the Colorado City Fire District account.  Darger serves as the town manager for Colorado City but is charged based on his previous role as secretary/treasurer of the CCFD.  Barlow served as chief of the CCFD but retired in July after 37 years of service to the district.  Both men previously had legal representation from high-powered defense counsel based in the Phoenix area, hundreds of miles from Colorado City.  Darger was initially defended by attorneys with the Osborn Maledon firm while Barlow was defended by Mike Piccareta.  Piccareta previously successfully defended FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs in Arizona before Jeffs was convicted and sentenced to prison in Texas following convictions for sexually assaulting two underage sect girls whom he took as plural wives.     Read more
 
 
Trial still not set for Colorado City officials
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Wednesday, September 26, 2012

KINGMAN — Two Colorado City officials charged with the misuse of public funds made their first appearance Monday in Superior Court with new attorneys.  Colorado City Manager David William Darger and former Colorado City Fire Chief Jacob Leonard Barlow are each charged with the misuse of the fire district's credit cards for their personal use.  Colorado City is home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Darger's new attorney, Interim Chief Deputy Public Defender Joe Carver, and Barlow's attorney, Bill Porter, of Kingman, were before Judge Steven Conn, laying out the scheduling of the complex case.  Porter said he only got the case a week ago.  Deputy Mohave County Attorney James Schoppman sought an April 2013 trial date but both defense attorneys argued against setting any trial date.  The judge eventually set the next hearing for Jan. 7, 2013, with the trial date still to be determined.  The defendant's former attorneys withdrew from the case, claiming their clients are indigent and entitled to court-appointed counsel.  They also claim the FLDS church have paid only part of their fees, which were each in excess of $100,000.     Read more
 
 
Colorado City official enters guilty plea
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Sunday, February 3, 2013

KINGMAN — One of two Colorado City officials charged with the misuse of public money accepted a plea agreement Friday.  Former Colorado City Fire Chief Jacob Leonard Barlow pleaded guilty to two counts of solicitation of misuse of public money.  Under the plea agreement, Barlow will be sentenced to probation for up to three years.  If he completes probation, the felony charges revert to misdemeanors.  Barlow also must pay $7,000 to the county attorney's office and the sheriff's office for the cost of the investigation.  He could also face up to a year in county jail when he is tentatively sentenced March 1.  Deputy Mohave County Attorney James Schoppman said that Barlow his co-defendant, Colorado City Manager David William Darger, deposited $24,000 and $28,000 respectively into an unauthorized account at a St George, Utah, bank.  Colorado City is home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church.  Barlow had been charged with 29 counts in one felony case and 20 counts in another case including violating the duties as custodian of public funds and participating in a criminal syndicate.  Darger, a former secretary-treasurer for the Colorado City Fire District, is still charged with 36 felony counts including violating the duties as custodian of public funds and participating in a criminal syndicate.  Those charges allegedly occurred between February 2004 and April 2010.     Read more
 
 
Ex-fire chief for Colorado City may avoid jail in deal
By Ahron Sherman
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published February 4, 2013

Jacob Barlow, the former Colorado City fire chief accused of using taxpayer money for purposes other than the fire district, pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of solicitation for misuse of public money.  As part of the plea agreement, Barlow will be sentenced to probation and required to pay $5,000 to the Mohave County Attorney's Office and $2,000 to the Mohave County Sheriff's Office to cover the costs of the investigation and prosecution.  Jail time remains a possibility as well.  All other charges against Barlow have been dismissed as part of the agreement.  If Barlow can successfully complete his probation, the two counts will be lowered to misdemeanors, but until then they will be considered felonies, said Mohave County Superior Court Judge Steven Conn.  If Barlow is unable to meet the terms of his probation, he could face two years apiece for the felony convictions.  "It's hard for me to imagine that I would put you on unsupervised probation," Conn told Barlow.  Conn will sentence Barlow in March.  Barlow and Colorado City Town Manager David Darger, who used to serve as the fire district's secretary/treasurer, were both indicted in the summer of 2011 on multiple counts related to the alleged misuse fire district money.  At the time both pleaded not guilty.  Conn said Darger has not yet entered into a plea agreement.     Read more
 
 
FIRST NEW MEXICO BANK, a New Mexico Banking Corporation, Plaintiff, vs. LEROY STUBBS, Defendant.
Legal Notices
The Spectrum
Originally published February 21, 2013

STATE OF NEW MEXICO
COUNTY OF LUNA
SIXTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT

FIRST NEW MEXICO BANK,
a New Mexico Banking Corporation,
Plaintiff,
vs.
LEROY STUBBS,
Defendant.

NOTICE OF PENDENCY OF SUIT
THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO
TO:LEROY STUBBS
GREETINGS:
You are hereby notified that a Complaint for Foreclosure is now pending in the above-entitled court wherein First New Mexico Bank is the Plaintiff, and that you are the Defendant. The general object of said action is to obtain a judgment of said Court to foreclose the mortgage and assemble the collateral of the following described property:
1983 Fleetwood Mobile Home (Serial Number TXFL1AD250307371)
1984 MERZ 3DT (VIN HINWDBAB33ADEA155961)
1998 MERZ E320 (VIN HINWDBJF65FXWA560774)
1996 UTILITY TRAILER (VIN 1UYVS2534TU7637031)
All Inventory, Chattel Paper and Accounts NOW OWNED OR HEREAFTER ACQUIRED WHEREVER LOCATED.     Read more
 
 
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Read Colin Campbell's Motion and Consent to Withdraw as Attorney of Record in the misuse of public funds case against Colorado City Manager David W. Darger, filed in Mohave County Superior court on July 27, 2012
 

 
Read Michael Piccarreta's Motion and Consent to Withdraw as Attorney of Record in the misuse of public funds case against former CCFD fire chief Jacob L. Barlow, filed in Mohave County Superior court on July 27, 2012
 

 
Read the Town of Colorado City and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT)'s Transportation Study - Final Report regarding the transportation plan funded through ADOT's Planning Assistance for Rural Areas (PARA) program, released September 19, 2011
 

 
Read Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith's Press Release regarding the 13 indictments against Colorado City Fire District Secretary/Treasurer David Darger, issued August 18, 2011
 

 
Read Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith's Press Release regarding the 30 indictments against Colorado City Fire District Chief Jacob Barlow, issued August 16, 2011
 

 
Read the Arizona Department of Transportation's 2012-2016 Tentative five-year airport program for a $6,919,973 improvement project for the Colorado City Municiple Airport (see pages 19 and 20)
 

 
See copies of Checks written on the Twin City Water Works account to the Bishop's Storehouse
 

 
See the list of the Payee Summary of checks written on the Twin City Water Works account between January 2002 and October 2009
 

 
Read the letter from Joseph Allred to Warren Jeffs regarding spending the Twin City Water Works money on personal items dated April 23, 2006
 

 
Read Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan's Special Press Release about serving warrants on Colorado City and Hildale officials for misuse of public funds and fraudulent schemes dated April 6, 2010
 

 
Read the Mohave County April 5, 2010 Affidavit For Search Warrant which led to serving warrants on Colorado City and Hildale Fire Department officials on April 6, 2010 for misuse of public funds
 

 
See The Spectrum photographer Jud Burkett's photos taken while law enforcement from Mohave County and Washington County served search warrants on the Hildale and Colorado City Fire Departments on April 6, 2010
 

 
 


John Hollenhorst covers the search warrants served on government buildings and homes of government officials April 6, 2010
 

 
 

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

 

 
Read the City of Canby, Oregon City Council Meeting Agenda Authorizing Contract with R & W Excavating, Inc. in the Amount of $2,250,704.00 for Improvements to the City's Wastewater Treatment Facility - held January 6, 2010
 

 
Read the Mohave County Board of Supervisors' Press Release about Gary Watson presenting a check for $24,198 to Colorado City Town Manager David Darger on July 6, 2009
 

 
Read the Arisona Department of Transportation communication about the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) monies given to Colorado City dated April, 2009
 
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