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Boreal Community Media

A sigh of relief as it is learned the polygamist group was not behind possible Pike Lake land purchases

Mar 29, 2019 08:12AM ● By Editor

Seth S. Jeffs being served by an attorney in the Twin Cities earlier in 2019. Photo: KARE

By Brian Larsen of the Cook County News Herald - March 29, 2019

A week ago, when landowners on the Pike Lake Road received letters asking them if they were interested in selling their land, there was fear that the buyers might be from an infamous polygamist group who purchased property near them last fall.

It turns out, however, the potential buyers were a group who need property so they can start a private shooting range.

“As a realtor I’m not supposed to reveal my clients,” said Jessica Tolley, a Twin Cities real estate agent who represents the potential buyers. Jessica said she spent quite a bit of time taking phone calls over the last couple of weeks from people asking for hints of who the potential buyers were.

And while Tolley didn’t name any names, she said she felt compelled to disclose that neither she nor her clients are in any way shape or form connected to Seth Jeffs, the brother of the infamous polygamist Warren Steed Jeffs, the president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints (FLDS Church), who last fall purchased 40 acres of land with the intention of building a 5,760-square-foot pole barn complete with living quarters on the Pike Lake Road. 

In 2011, Warren Jeffs was sentenced to life plus 20 years after he was convicted of two felony counts of child sexual assault. He had been the leader and prophet of the church since 2001or 2002, depending on which source is used.

Seth Jeffs, one of Warren’s seven brothers, is the reputed leader of an FLDS sect in the South Dakota Black Hills near a town called Pringle. He purchased the Pike Lake 40-acre parcel as the registered agent of Emerald Industries LLC for $88,000. The LLC is registered at Seths’ Eden Prairie address and at an address in Helena, Montana.

Alan Mortenson, an attorney from Salt Lake City, Utah, caught up to Seth Jeffs in Bloomington, Minnesota this past January, and issued a subpoena to him. Mortenson had been unable to locate Jeffs since he filed a lawsuit on Dec. 24, 2018 in the Third Judicial Court in Salt Lake City, Urah.

Mortensen is also the attorney for a young woman identified in court papers as “R. H.” who filed a complaint against defendants Warren S. Jeffs, Lyle Jeffs, Seth Jeffs, Wendell LeRoy Nielsen, and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, stating that as part of an FLDS religious ritual she was sexually abused by Warren Jeffs “on a regular basis, between five and six times a week, from the age of 8 years old until she turned 14.”

According to Mortenson, Seth Jeffs is also wanted for court-appointed unpaid child support and unpaid alimony. Seth was also convicted in 2006 of harboring or concealing his brother Warren and in 2016 he pleaded guilty to food stamp fraud.

As for Tolley’s clients, she describes them as working in law enforcement with military backgrounds. Tolley’s clients made contact with local sheriff, Pat Eliasen, to explain exactly who they are and what their intentions are so that there is no confusion within the community about Tolley’s and her clients’ interest in property in the area. They are interested in finding land to establish a private shooting range they would occasionally come up and use for training purposes.

The search for that property will continue, said Tolley, hoping she can find a suitable parcel for her clients. 

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