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Permits expire for polygamist group on Pike Lake property

Jan 17, 2020 06:33AM ● By Editor

Photo:  Cook County News Herald 

By Brian Larsen of The Cook County News Herald - January 17, 2020

Seth Jeffs, a leader of the FLDS, an offshoot group of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, believes in child brides and that polygamy brings exaltation in heaven, has let his building permits expire on property purchased last year near Pike Lake.

“Mr. Jeffs’ permits expired in December 2019 without any attempt on his part to extend the timeline,” said Cook County Land Director, Tim Nelson.

“If he were to want to construct any structures, he would now have to basically start all over again and re-submit for any (and all) new permits. Pretty much all of the work that was completed last fall was geared to correct the violations and get the cease & desist order lifted. The necessary corrective actions have all been resolved, and the cease & desist order was rescinded late last fall,” Nelson said. 

As the “Managing Member” of Emerald Industries LLC, Jeffs purchased 40 acres of land in the county intending to build a 5,760-square-foot pole barn complete with living quarters on the west side of Pike Lake Road.

Seth Jeffs is the brother of the disgraced polygamist and prophet Warren Steed Jeffs, the President of the FLDS Church, who is serving life in prison after he was con- victed of two felony counts of child sexual assault.

Last July, Seth Jeffs was ordered to return to Utah to face charges of failing to pay court-ordered child support.

According to the complaint, Jeffs had not paid child support or communicated with his son since 2012, when the child’s mother decided to leave the FLDS church.

In 2006, Seth Jeffs was accused of harboring or concealing his brother Warren, and in 2016, he pleaded guilty to food stamp fraud.

Tonia Tewell and author/detective Sam Brower were both brought to Cook County from Utah by a group of concerned citizens to talk about their encounters and knowledge about the FDLS church, which believes in polygamy and child brides.

Tewell is in charge of the non-profit organization Holding Out Help. Through her organization, Tewell has helped hundreds of people escape from the church. Her organization assists people fleeing from the FDLS bonds by finding them food, shelter, clothing, legal assistance, schooling, jobs, counseling, or anything else that a refugee might need.

Last May, the county placed a temporary cease and desist order on Seth Jeffs asking him to halt construction on his 40-acre Pike Lake property after they noted 13 violations to his permit.

The order came from Cook County Land Services after they conducted a site visit to the property.

Jeffs was ordered to stop work until comprehensive erosion and sediment controls were established, and site stabilization was demonstrated.

On January 15, Cook County Land Service Director Tim Nelson said,” At this point, Mr. Jeffs’ has not submitted for any new permits of any kind, nor has he had any contact with our staff to indicate that he will be submitting any new applications in the near future.” 

As for the Pike Lake property, Jeffs was working on it at various times through the fall, but as Nelson noted, “We have been made aware of the equipment movement on his property, but according to our staff, there hasn’t been any activity out there that would require any permitting.”

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