This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The town government in Colorado City, Ariz., on Monday provided a copy of the building permit issued for the new wall being built around the Leroy S. Johnson Meeting House, the place of worship for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
We know how big the wall will be and who is in charge of building it. But the permit also raises questions about the timing of the construction and whether Colorado City's government is enforcing its own codes.
J. Daniel Jessop, with a Colorado City post office box, applied for the permit Wednesday. The permit was issued the next day. Jessop did not return a call seeking comment Monday. (I redacted Jessop's phone number from the copy of the permit I placed online.)
A primitive blueprint attached to the application says the masonry wall will be about 9 feet tall and about 8 inches thick.
Witnesses have said the construction started either late on Wednesday or so early in the morning on Thursday that the town offices could not have been open.
Attached to the permit were some instructions to anyone seeking such a permit. It states that: "Solid fences at street corners cannot be more than four (4) feet high within a triangular area formed by the street property lines and a connecting line for twenty-five (25) feet from the intersection."
Yet, according to photos I've seen and observers I've heard from, there's no indication the fence is any height other than 9 feet at the street intersections.
I have a question into the town offices about the discrepancy between the start of construction and the date of the permit and the issue of the fence height. In the past, the government of Colorado City and adjoining Hildale, Utah, have been found to give preferential treatment to the FLDS.
In 2014, Ron and Jinjer Cooke won a jury verdict in a federal civil rights lawsuit against the towns and their utilities. They were found to have discriminated against the Cookes when they failed to provide them a water connection and were slow to provide other city services. The Cookes and the towns settled after the verdict for $3 million.
The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the towns, too, claiming they discriminate against people who no longer follow FLDS leaders. Lawyers for the towns have countered that any discrimination happened years ago, did not do significant harm and the towns are already under an order from the Cooke case not to discriminate. The Justice Department lawsuit is expected to go to trial next year.