News that the property is back on the market, listed for $189,000, relieved residents in the remote area near the town of Grand Marais, where some once feared the group would establish a new compound, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported Thursday.
The land has belonged since 2018 to Seth Jeffs via the Montana-registered entity Emerald Industries LLC. Seth Jeffs was convicted in 2006 of concealing his brother, Warren Jeffs, who was sentenced in 2011 to life in prison for sexually abusing underage members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, whose members consider him a prophet. Seth Jeffs pleaded guilty to food stamp fraud in 2016 in a scheme to divert benefits to church members.
The FLDS split from the main Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, widely known as the Mormon church, after the latter renounced polygamy in 1890. Seth and Warren Jeffs’ father, Rulon Jeffs, held leadership roles in the FLDS church for many years.
Property records show Seth Jeffs also bought 80.5 acres of land near Menomonie, Wisconsin, in 2020, which he continues to own. A call to a phone listing for him was not immediately returned Thursday.
A compound that he once led in South Dakota’s Black Hills was bought at auction in 2019 by three former members who broke with the sect years ago. A judge had ordered it sold to pay for a lawsuit settlement.
Nothing was ever built on the Minnesota property, said Tim Nelson, Cook County’s land services director. The county ordered Emerald Industries in 2019 to stop working on the site because of land-use and septic permit violations. The issues were resolved, but Seth Jeffs did not reapply after the permits expired.
“It’s just a nice North Woods property,” said real estate agent Jacob Patten, of Red Pine Realty, which has the listing.