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Subpoenas on hold in FLDS trust

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SAN ANGELO, Texas — Lawyers for the court-controlled real-estate holdings arm of the Fundamentalist LDS Church said they will wait until a criminal investigation into the polygamous sect subsides before pushing subpoenas to see evidence.

The United Effort Plan Trust's court-appointed special fiduciary wants to see evidence that was seized by authorities during the raid on the YFZ Ranch. Subpoenas were served on prosecutors here, but no hearing has been scheduled on the matter.

"The subpoena will stay in place until they've taken care of job one," Sam Allen, a San Angelo attorney retained by the UEP Trust, told the Deseret News on Wednesday. "When they've done their priority of investigating materials and how they decide to address the criminal case."

A judge on Monday ordered an agricultural financial institution to give up information about the funding of the ranch.

"We're just tracking assets," said Bruce Wisan, the special fiduciary of the UEP Trust.

Wisan is seeking information about the UEP Trust's management before the courts took over, as well as any assets to satisfy an $8.8 million judgment against FLDS leader Warren Jeffs and other former trustees who were accused of mismanaging it.

The Deseret News first reported last month that Wisan issued subpoenas to Tom Green County, Texas, prosecutors — seeking evidence seized in the raid on the YFZ Ranch. Wisan wants to know about the financing of the ranch and the FLDS' first-ever temple.

"What we're asking there is that we get that information after they finish the criminal work, but before they give it back to the FLDS," he told the Deseret News.

The UEP was taken over by the courts in 2005, amid allegations that Jeffs and other top FLDS leaders had mismanaged it. The trust controls homes, businesses and property in the FLDS strongholds of Hildale, Utah; Colorado City, Ariz.; and Bountiful, British Columbia in Canada.

The courts ordered reforms recently, paving the way for private property ownership.

Wisan said the information that was taken from the YFZ Ranch is valuable to him — records dealing with property and UEP assets have disappeared, been destroyed or moved. Already, he has managed to get access to documents and evidence seized from a Cadillac Escalade when Jeffs was arrested outside Las Vegas in 2006.

"We have sprinkles on the frosting, but we don't have the cake or the frosting," Wisan said.

E-mail: bwinslow@desnews.com