Plaintiffs Andrew Guy Chatwin and Patrick Leroy Pipkin allege that the FLDS, Colorado City marshals, the town of Hildale, Utah and municipal attorney Kenneth Brendel conspired to prevent them from using property they were legally entitled to over a dispute with a “squatter” who had no right to the property but was connected to the polygamous sect.
Chatwin and Pipkin, who do not belong to the FLDS, were arrested for trespassing on what was once a city zoo on October 13, 2015 and then again four days later. However, Brendel asked the court to drop the charges in January, shortly after a trial began in Phoenix alleging that Hildale and Colorado City had been discriminating against non-FLDS residents who sought utilities and other basic municipal services.
A jury found the cities guilty in March, and a settlement of $1.6 million was reached with nine victims. The judge will convene a hearing next week to hear arguments over the federal government’s claim that the Colorado City Marshal’s Office should be disbanded for its role in the discrimination.
Chatwin, Pipkin and leaseholder Claude Seth Cooke allege they were authorized to work on the property by the owner, a former communal trust called the United Effort Plan (UEP). The arrests violated plaintiffs’ Constitutional rights, damaged the business and their reputations, and cost them time and money, according to the lawsuit.
Plaintiffs are seeking both compensatory and punitive damages against the FLDS church “for malicious conduct,” attorney’s fees and other relief as deemed reasonable. The lawsuit was filed on October 12, 2016 in the U.S. District Court for Arizona in Prescott — In Re: Prairie Farms LLC, et al. vs. Town of Colorado City, et al. — Case No. 3:16-cv-08232.
Source: The Spectrum