ELDORADO, Texas — A judge has cleared the way for the state of Texas to seize the Fundamentalist LDS Church’s sprawling ranch.
In an order signed Monday, 51st Judicial District Judge Barbara Walther entered a default judgment in favor of the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
The court papers, obtained by FOX 13, reveal that no one responded from the FLDS Church — including imprisoned polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.
“Therefore, there being no remaining issues or parties in this case, the Court hereby renders Final Judgment of Forfeiture and the terms of the default judgement and judgment concerning ad valorem taxes are merged into this final judgment,” Walther wrote.
The Texas Attorney General’s Office did not return FOX 13′s request for comment.
Texas filed to seize the ranch, claiming it was used to commit crimes. Jeffs and 11 other FLDS men were convicted in the aftermath of a 2008 raid on the Yearning For Zion Ranch of charges related to underage marriages. Jeffs is serving a life, plus 20-year sentence for child sex assault.
Judge Walther’s order leaves open room for an appeal from the FLDS Church and the ranch’s owner, the United Order of Texas Trust. The Eldorado Success, which first reported the default judgment, said they have 30 days to file an appeal before the judgment is final.