Former FLDS compound property listed for sale

Jason Ferguson

The former Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) compound is once again for sale, only this time it’s not being sold at auction—it’s being sold on the market for an asking price of $6.9 million.
Faith Lewis of Lewis Realty in Custer, along with Eric Lewis, also of Lewis Realty, are the listing agents on the property, which was put on the market May 1. The property, called Red Canyon Community, has received a lot of inquiries, Faith Lewis said, while cautioning tours aren’t being given to just anyone who is curious and wants to see the property.
Lewis said the owners of the property are still on site, and the public is not allowed on the private property. No showings will be done without the potential buyer producing a reference letter from a bank, personal financial statement, etc., to prove they have the funds to purchase the property.
The property was put up for auction in late February of last year and purchased by Patrick Pipkin and two other former  FLDS members—Andrew Chatwin and Claude Seth Cooke — were the successful bidders on the  property in southwest Custer County when it was sold to the highest bidder at a sheriff’s sale
Pipkin, Chatwin and Cooke purchased the property for $750,000, and did so by bidding against $1.7 million in judgments they were owed by the FLDS, a debt stemming from a federal lawsuit they filed after they were illegally arrested and harassed by the FLDS in the towns of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Ariz., two FLDS strongholds also referred to as Short Creek.
After the auction, Pipkin said in a meeting with the press that he grew up in Colorado City and Hildale, and ironically, was part of the FLDS group who helped facilitate the purchase of the Custer County property for the FLDS in 2006.
The lawsuit stated that officials in the two towns arrested them for trespassing on land they were leasing, that the marshal’s office failed to investigate reports of vandalism on the leased land and that Colorado City officials refused to provide water and garbage services to the property, according to an article in the Phoenix New Times.
The complaint stated the violations are the result of a conspiracy between the FLDS church and the towns’ officials to “punish, discriminate against and attempt to drive out of Colorado City and Hildale persons who were not believers in the FLDS faith.”
The result of that and another lawsuit in which a federal jury found the FLDS had discriminated against non-FLDS members resulted in the $2.1 million judgment for the plaintiffs. In working to collect the judgment, FLDS property in Montezuma County, Colo., was foreclosed upon to satisfy part of the judgment, leaving the $1.7 million owed.
The illegal arrest issue that spawned a lawsuit began with a report to the marshal’s office of vandalism at the site of Colorado City’s former zoo, according to the Phoenix New Times story.
United Effort Plan, which holds the deed to most of the land in the towns, had leased the land to Prairie Farms, LLC, which planned to use it for cattle. When a United Effort Plan agent holding the lease told town police of thousands of dollars of damage on the property, a responding officer said he had been told by the marshal’s office that one resident, Chad Johnson, was still living on the property.
The dispute continued as the FLDS-backed law enforcement said until Johnson was properly evicted he had sole rights to the property. Eventually, Pipkin and Chatwin were arrested by the marshal’s office, charged with trespassing and released. The two eventually returned to the property with  Cooke and were arrested again.
The article says when Prairie Farms tried to obtain garbage and water services from Colorado City, they were told the service would not be initiated until the previous registrant, Red Jessop, gave his permission. Jessop had been dead for several years.
The men alleged their First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated. The trespassing charges against them were eventually dropped.
After winning the auction, Pipkin said,“I want to let people know the corruption of this church is coming to an end. We are a part of the side that is helping correct and make a difference here and other places they own.”
Lewis said since the auction her office has developed a relationship with the owners of the property, and after looking at a variety of options, the group decided selling the property was the best option.
“It’s such a cool place,” Lewis said. “It’s a unique listing to buy your own town with its own infrastructure. It’s an unusual listing.”
The property has nine parcels and 140 total acres. There were $106,726.10 in property taxes paid on the property last year.
Parcels of the property include:
• Ten acres of baseland and an orchard
• Five acres with three tanks
• Five acres with a fourplex and a 9,855 square-foot log apartment building with 12 baths and 14 bedrooms
• Fourty acres with a 6,362 square-foot building with 14 bedrooms and 14 bathrooms, and another smaller log home with four bedrooms and five bathrooms
• Twenty acres with a duplex that has 14 bedrooms and eight bathrooms
• Twenty acres with a 13,860 square-foot lodge that has 26 bedrooms, 26 bathrooms, as well as a meeting house with 15 conference rooms and 10 bathrooms
• Ten acres with a shed, roof cover and milk barn
• Ten acres, guard tower, cat walk, greenhouse, well houses, shop and lots of tanks
• Twenty acres with a house, 6,660 square-feet building with seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a two-car garage, warehouse/equipment building/storehouse and a poultry house
Lewis said it is her hope the property is purchased by a church group for a youth camp or something in that vein, such as a healing retreat. She feels the property lends itself to such an entity.
“I think that’s our best buyers,” she said.

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