Board of Trustees

  • Ray Jessop

    President, Trustee

  • Miriam Jessop

    Vice President, Trustee

  • Leonard Black


  • Zachary Renstrom


  • Donia Jessop


  • Janelle Fischer


  • Bygnal Dutson


Team Members

  • Jeff Barlow

    Executive Director
  • Rakel Holm

    Office Manager
  • Allen Bistline

    Office Staff
  • Monica Holm

    Office Staff
  • Vivian Barlow

    Office Staff
  • Ted Barlow

    Property Manager

More Information


The UEP Trust office will be closed for the following holidays:

New Year’s  - Monday, January 1 , 2024

Martin Luther Kings Day - Monday, January 15, 2024

President’s Day - Monday, February 19, 2024

Memorial Day - Monday, May 27, 2024

Independence Day - Thursday, July 4, 2024

Labor Day - Monday, September 2, 2024

Thanksgiving - Thursday & Friday, November 28 & 29, 2024

December 24, 2024 - Office will be open 8AM-12PM

Christmas  - Wednesday, December 25, 2024

December 31, 2024  - Office will be open 8AM-12PM

Frequently Asked Questions

Ask The Board A Question
  • What is the United Effort Plan Trust?

    The United Effort Plan Trust (the “UEP” or “Trust”) is a Utah charitable trust which holds property for the benefit of specific charitable purposes with a specified beneficiary class.  The Trust was originally established as a private trust in 1942 and was thereafter amended and restated to become a charitable trust in 1998.  In 2005, the Trust was placed under the jurisdiction of the Utah probate court in Case No. 053900848 in the Third Judicial District Court of Salt Lake County, Utah (the “Probate Court”).  In 2006, the Probate Court entered a Reformed Declaration of Trust of the United Effort Plan Trust Dated October 25, 2006 (the “Reformed Trust Declaration”) which is the Trust’s governing document.  In 2019, the probate case was dismissed, and official court oversight ended.  The Trust is now managed by a 7-member Board of Trustees.

  • What is the purpose of the Trust?

    Under the Reformed Trust Declaration, the purpose of the Trust is to provide for members of the Trust’s beneficiary class (known as Trust Participants) according to their just wants and needs.  The primary purpose is to providing housing with the goal of securing residences for Trust Participants.  Secondary purposes concern education, occupational training, economic development, and the provision of food, clothing, and medical needs.

  • Who controls the Trust?

    Pursuant to the rulings of the Probate Court and the provisions of the Reformed Trust Declaration, the primary authority for administering the Trust presently lies with a Board of Trustees (the “Board”).  The Board has engaged an Executive Director and other employees to assist in running the day-to-day operations of the Trust in accordance with the directives of the Board.

  • Who are the Trustees?

    The Board of Trustees consists of seven members, some of whom were appointed and/or approved by the Probate Court.  The current members of the Board are Shirlee Draper,  Jean Allred, Ramona Barlow, Ray Jessop Jr, Miriam Jessop, Zachary Renstrom, and Leonard Black.

  • How are the Trustees selected?

    The initial members of the Board were appointed by the Probate Court from applicants who were first vetted by the Utah Attorney General’s Office. While many people applied to be on the Board, the individuals who were selected as Trustees were all locals who had grown up living on UEP property.  Since the appointment of the initial Board, additional trustees were added to the Board by the Probate Court in accordance with a selection process set forth in the Reformed Trust Declaration.  Upon the expiration of the staggered terms of the Board members, additional Trustees were then selected in accordance with the Reformed Trust Declaration.  A form Application for selection to the Board is found on the Trust’s website, at

  • Does the Board discriminate on the basis of religion?

    No.  The Reformed Trust Declaration requires that the Trust be administered in a religiously neutral manner, and the Board does not discriminate or favor any petitioner based upon religious affiliation.  The Board seeks to be accommodating to religious beliefs and practices to the extent such accommodation can be made without violating the religious-neutrality requirements.

  • Why are there no members of the FLDS Church on the Board?

    To the knowledge of the Board, no member of the FLDS Church has applied to be appointed to the Board since the commencement of the Trust probate action in 2005.  In accordance with the Reformed Trust Declaration, all Board applicants have been, and will continue to be, evaluated according to religiously-neutral principles without discrimination or favoritism based upon religious affiliation.  The Board does not ask for the religious affiliation of applicants and does not consider such in the selection process.

  • What is the Board’s vision for the future?

    The Board’s overall vision is to use and distribute Trust property for the benefit of Trust Participants in accordance with the terms of the Reformed Trust Declaration.  The Board desires to empower Trust participants and to benefit the community by establishing home ownership, fostering education and training, and developing public-use lands, resources, and facilities.

  • Who owns the Trust property?

    The property of the Trust consists primarily of real property, including residences, located in Hildale, Utah, Colorado City, Arizona, and Bountiful, British Columbia.  The Trust’s property is owned by the Trust and is administered by the Board subject to the provisions of the Reformed Trust Declaration.  No state, entity, or individual has any ownership rights to Trust property, other than the Trust.

  • What is the State of Utah’s involvement with the Trust?

    Because the Trust is a Utah charitable trust organized under Utah law, it is subject to Utah charitable trust laws and regulations.  This does not mean that the State of Utah owns or controls the Trust or its property.Under the law, the Utah Attorney General’s office is tasked with oversight of all Utah charitable trusts.  This oversight is designed to ensure that charitable trusts are administered in accordance with their governing trust documents and all relevant laws.

  • Does the State of Utah own the Trust or its property?

    No—see “Who owns the Trust property” and “What is the State of Utah’s involvement with the Trust?”

  • Are there any specific Trust beneficiaries?

    No.  While a private trust has specific named beneficiaries who are entitled to benefits, a charitable trust has a large class of potential beneficiaries.  Members of a charitable beneficiary class are eligible to receive benefits under the discretion of the trustees, but they are not entitled to receive any benefit and they have no rights or claims to the use or ownership of trust property.  For this reason, the Reformed Trust Declaration uses the term “Trust Participant” in referring to members of the UEP Trust’s beneficiary class, and the Board uses the term “participant” or “petitioner” to refer to eligible persons seeking a benefit from the Trust.

    Pursuant to the Reformed Trust Declaration, the members of the UEP Trust’s beneficiary class consist of: “those individuals (1) who can demonstrate that they had previously made Contributions to either the Trust or the FLDS Church; or (2) who subsequent to date of this Agreement make documented Contributions to the Trust which Contributions are approved by the Board.”

    While no person is entitled to receive anything from the Trust, the Board desires that the Trust’s property be used for the benefit of eligible Trust Participants and it is working hard to be responsive to the “just wants and needs” of petitioning members.

  • What is the process for determining the use and distributions of Trust property?

    The Board of Trustees meets regularly to consider petitions for benefits received from eligible Trust participants. In making its decisions, the Board considers some or all of the factors specified in the Reformed Trust Declaration, including the financial needs of the petitioner, the petitioner’s cooperation with the Board, and the petitioner’s contributions to the Trust.  After consideration, deliberation, and a formal vote on each petition, the Board’s decisions are then carried out by the Executive Director.

    The Trust has prepared a form Petition for Benefits for Trust Participants to use in seeking benefits from the Trust (which form can be found on the Trust’s website at Completed Petitions should be submitted to the UEP Office, who will present them to the Board for consideration.

  • Is the Trust a political organization?

    No.  The Trust is a charitable trust responsible for preserving Trust assets and using them for the benefit of members of the beneficiary class.

  • Is the Trust a religious organization?

    No. The Trust is religiously neutral and neither supports nor discriminates based on religion.

  • Why does the Trust charge the $100 Occupancy Fee?

    Since 2008, the Trust has imposed a $100 monthly occupancy fee for reach residence on Trust land.   This occupancy fee was originally imposed under the direction and authorization of the Probate Court for the purpose of helping to raise funds necessary to meet the Trust’s many ongoing expenses – including the costs of managing the Trust’s property and fulfilling the purposes of the Trust.  While the Trust owns many properties, it does not have a readily available source of liquid funding.  Stated differently, the Trust is land rich and cash poor, and it requires the collection of fees from the occupants to continue its operations.  Historically, before the involvement of the Probate Court in 2005, occupants of Trust property made sizable payments to the trustees in order to allow for the continued management and operation of the Trust.

  • Why has the Trust filed eviction lawsuits?

    The Trust has been compelled to seek the eviction of certain occupants from Trust property based upon the occupants’ continual refusal to abide by the minimum occupancy requirements as determined by the Board and the Probate Court.  In particular, there are three requirements which are deemed necessary for continual occupancy of a residence on Trust property: (1) paying the property taxes associated with the residence; (2) paying the $100 occupancy fee; and (3) signing an Occupancy Agreement (and abiding by its terms).  Where occupants have shown an unwillingness to comply with the minimum requirements, the Trust has determined to remove such occupants and replace them with other Trust Participants who are willing to comply.

    At the present time, the Trust is focusing upon the first requirement and is devoting its eviction efforts toward those occupants who are delinquent in the payment of property taxes.  Otherwise, there is a risk that Trust property could be lost through property tax sale.  Once the eviction process has commenced, the Trust requires compliance with all three requirements in order to stop the eviction.

  • I signed an Occupancy Agreement in 2008. Is it still valid?

    Yes, as long as the house has not yet been evicted and certain conditions are met: (1) the Occupancy Agreement has not been terminated by either party; (2) the occupant still resides in the home; and (3) the occupant is current in the payment of taxes and occupancy fees.

  • What is Jeff Barlow’s position with the Trust?

    Jeff Barlow serves as the Executive Director of the Trust, running the day-to-day operations of the Trust according to the directives of the Board.  The Board has given the Executive Director and certain Trustees certain limited decision-making authority with respect to certain limited matters.

  • What is Jethro Barlow’s position with the Trust?

    Jethro Barlow was retained by the Board as a general consultant and to provide accounting services.  He does not have any decision-making authority.

  • What is the status of the subdivision of the Trust’s property in Colorado City?

    The vast majority of Trust property in Colorado City, AZ has now been successfully subdivided.  The UEP Board is legally allowed to distribute and sell AZ property and has been doing so since 2018.

  • How do I receive a deed for Trust property if I only received a partial distribution and can’t afford to pay for the remainder of the distribution?

    As another benefit to Trust Participants, the Trust has implemented a seller financing program for petitioners who cannot get approval for a traditional mortgage.   For more information about this program, please inquire at the Trust office.

  • How do I get ahold of Jeff Barlow?

    The best way to reach Jeff Barlow is by calling the UEP office at 435-874-1126 or by sending him an email him at

  • How do I get on the Board agenda for a housing decision?

    The Board of Trustees usually meets once a month to review petitions and meet with petitioners.   They meet with approximately 15 to 20 petitioners each month.  Due to the high volume of incoming petitions, it may take months, even years, for the Board to meet with all petitioners.  The Trust prioritizes the timing of considering petitions based upon a number of factors, including participant status, urgency and the need of the petitioners, as well as the disposition of the house being petitioned for.

  • If I am the only person to petition for a home, or if I petitioned first, am I guaranteed to be approved?

    No.  All petitions are evaluated by Board based on their individual merit.

  • Can I receive a benefit based on a contribution my parents or grandparents made?

    No.  While the petitioner’s contributions to the Trust is one of the factors considered by the Board (as set forth in the Reformed Trust Declaration), this does not include contributions by the petitioner’s parents or grandparents.

  • Does the UEP Trust own water rights? And if so, are those water rights being deeded to the cities?

    Yes, the Trust does own irrigation water rights and other irrigation water infrastructure (such as water lines, reservoirs, and irrigation ditch easements).  There has been discussion about those irrigation water rights being converted to culinary water rights and then being used by the cities to improve and expand the culinary water system.  So far, no agreement has been reached, but the UEP Board has indicated their willingness to consider all ideas and plans as long as they 1) improve the quality and 2) lower the cost of water to the residents.  For now, the water rights continue to be used for irrigation purposes as they have always been.

  • Does the UEP Trust handle the irrigation water, and how do I get irrigation water to my property?

    While the UEP Trust owns the irrigation water resources, a new entity known as the Short Creek Irrigation District has been established and officially registered in Mohave County to manage and maintain the irrigation system.  Accordingly, SCID is now working with Residential Home Owners to bring irrigation water to all lots where doing so is practical.  SCID has monthly Board Meetings, which are open to the public, and is in the process of establishing contracts, rates, processes, and policies to serve the Short Creek Valley.  Please contact Jayson Cooke at (435)229-8765 for more information.

  • Does the UEP rent out any of its residential property, or is all property used for Occupancy Agreements and Distributions?

    While the primary focus of the UEP Board is to use the residential property to solve Trust Participant housing needs with either an Occupancy Agreement or a Deed, there are some properties that are being converted to apartments to be rented out.  This is being done for a few reasons.  First, the state of Utah has agreed to provide some funding for rent assistance for a limited number of trust participants that qualify.  Thus, the Board of Trustees has elected to invest some money and effort into fixing up a few properties to meet habitability requirements with the goal of collecting the cost of that construction back through the state grants.  The second reason the Trust is converting some properties into apartments and renting them out is that an excess of Trust-owned giant houses exists. These houses, because of their size, condition, and tax burden, are unsuitable to solve normal housing requests.  Additionally, the high cost and strict legal requirements of converting the structures from residential single-family use to commercial multi-family has proven to be a barrier to most in the private market.

  • Why is the UEP taking down fences and painting houses?

    The UEP Board of Trustees is committed to promoting community beautification through removing unsightly fences and painting unfinished home exteriors.  Further, many of the fences actually violate city code, and many of the home's unfinished wood exteriors are deteriorating.  For these reasons, the Board has instructed its staff to identify and solve problematic fences and raw-wood exteriors that meet specific criteria.

  • Is the UEP Trust hiring construction workers and buying construction equipment? If so, why?

    Yes and yes.  Originally, all construction work was contracted out and all equipment was rented.  However, based on the amount of UEP construction work needed, it became more cost effective and more efficient to hire employees directly and buy equipment rather than rent.  In addition, the newly created Short Creek Irrigation District will need the equipment long term.  Thus, the UEP Trust can use the equipment until the Board deems it appropriate to transfer ownership to the SCID.  So far, the Trust has purchased 2 pickup trucks, 1 backhoe, 1 dump truck, 1 mini-ex, and 3 trailers.  In each case, used equipment was purchased under careful and thoughtful Board review.

  • Is the UEP giving out educational scholarships?

    Yes, on a limited basis.  While the Reformed Trust Declaration does allow money to be spent on educational benefits, the Board's primary focus has been on housing needs.  The Board has only authorized two $1,000 scholarships and two $500 scholarships per high school per year so far.

  • What happened to the Hildale Health Center (FMJ house and surrounding complex)?

    The Hildale Health Center is a complex property consisting of commercial space, warehouse space, residential space, and unfinished space.  In addition, this particular property holds significant historical and sentimental value. After the property was originally vacated in 2016, the UEP Board approved a proposal submitted by a local construction company (with no connection to the UEP Trust or Jeff Barlow).  In that deal, the UEP would retain all the commercial space in the eastern half of the property (medical clinic, birthing clinic, Focus Eye space, and future growth area for pharmacy or other use).  The rest was to be sold (the residential space to the west under the standard apartment conversion deal and warehouses to the south for full value) but only after 4 years of delinquent taxes were paid.  Although approved, the project never made it to fruition - no taxes were paid and no construction work was ever done. Then, after the property sat vacant for another year (a few more problematic proposals being submitted and rejected by the board), Jeff Barlow partnered with a construction company and together they agreed to the purchase under the same terms as the original approved agreement.  They are currently renovated the residential area into multi-family residential apartments.  The UEP still owns all of the eastern commercial half - and has now renovated a space for 1) Helen Barlow / birthing suite, 2) the Focus Eye Center, and 3) a WIC Office.  In addition, the Creek Valley Health Clinic uses several UEP-owned offices for their administration and hopes to re-open the medical clinic for Utah residence in the near future.

  • How much does the Trust spend on Professional Fees, including Attorneys, in-house Attorney, and the Executive Director?

    *See the UEP Annual Report - uploaded to each year.

  • What is Bruce Wisan’s role with the UEP Trust?

    Bruce Wisan, once the court-appointed Special Fiduciary, was released from his position back in 2016.  The Trust still owes him money and will continue to pay him quarterly payments until that debt is retired, but Mr. Wisan no longer works for the UEP Trust.

  • What is the relationship between the UEP Trust and the two cities (Colorado City, AZ and Hildale, UT)?

    The UEP Trust, The Town of Colorado City, and Hildale City are each separate and distinct entities.  The UEP Trust has no authority or control over either city, nor does any UEP Trustee, Director, or Consultant.  The UEP Trust does, however, have significant real estate holdings in both cities.  An argument could be made that many of those properties (such as parks, cemeteries, creek ways, fire stations, town halls, etc) would be better served by being owned and operated by one city or the other.  Accordingly, a good relationship between the UEP Trust and the cities is essential as these ideas are being resolved.  Ongoing discussions and collaboration should not only be allowed, it should be encouraged.

  • What property was sold by Bruce Wisan before the UEP Board of Trustees had management authority?

    *see map (Coming Soon)

  • What is the process and requirements to petition for vacant lots - and why does it take so long?

    The UEP Trust does own vacant lots, but they are in short supply.  The Trust's last remaining lots are exclusively in Colorado City, AZ (all UT lots are under contract or have been sold). The Board places great priority on helping those who are ready to build find a lot.  To be considered for approval to purchase a vacant lot, please submit three things: 1) a petition for benefits, 2) house plans for your project, and 3) documents to prove you have the financial ability to complete your project.  Once all 3 have been received by staff, they will submit your request to the Board of Trustees for a decision.  Getting approved for a vacant lot can take significant time.  The Board has chosen to prioritize Petitions seeking a deed to an existing home much higher than selling vacant lots.  Persistence is understandable, but please be patient.

  • What is the Trust doing with all the money it gets from selling property?

    While the cost of administering the trust has been dramatically reduced over the years through careful and prudent Board oversite, administrative costs still exist.  In addition, the Board has been and still is paying off the $6.5 Million debt they inherited when they assumed control of the Trust.  Lastly, the Board has various community projects that await funding - such as the Short Creek Community Center, the Short Creek Sports Complex, Legacy/Johnson Park, Big Rock Park, planned trail systems, and various other parks and cemeteries.

  • Can a UEP Trustees, employees, and consultants purchase property from the Trust? Is this a Conflict of Interest?

    Trustees, employees, and consultants are allowed to Petition for Benefits and purchase property from the Trust.  Such transactions are neither prohibited by Utah Charitable Trust Law nor the Reformed Trust Declaration itself.  There are, however, specific requirements and Board policies that control how such transactions are to be handled.  For example, if a Trustee or his/her family member stands to benefit from a transaction, such would constitute a conflict of interest, and that Trustee is required to recuse themselves from any vote approving the transaction.  The remaining Trustees would then approve or deny the request.

  • Is the UEP Trust renting office space from Jeff Barlow or The Law Office of Jeff J Barlow LLC?

    Not anymore, but it used to.  Bruce Wisan sold the commercial office building located at 1155 N. Canyon Street to Jeff Barlow for use as a Law Office back in 2015.  The transaction, based on an appraisal, was reviewed and approved by the Probate Court.  After a few year, the UEP Trust rented a few offices in the building and began using the space as its headquarters.  As the need for office space grew, the UEP Trust ultimately agreed to buy the building back to eliminate rental expenses.

  • How many houses does the UEP still own? Commercial Property? Vacant Lots? Land designated for Community Use?

    *see map (Coming Soon)

  • I put in a petition for a house that's been on the website for a long time. Why have I not been called for a meeting with the Board?

    Petitions requesting housing are sorted into 4 categories, Categories A B C and D, based on the level of contribution and history the person has with the UEP Trust.  Categories A are given priority over B, Category B over C, etc.   The board can only meet with 15 to 20 petitioners per month.  The process for setting the agenda is as follows:  The UEP Board identifies the houses that have been on the website for a sufficient amount of time.  The top 2 or 3 candidates that have petition for those selected houses are scheduled to meet the board.  Candidates for the agenda are selected based on 1) the petition, 2) urgency of need, 3) ABCD Category, and 4) information obtained from the Public Meeting - with the final decision being made by the UEP Board President (currently Arnold Richter).  Since most houses listed on the website generate numerous petitions, there will be many who will not be selected for an interview and whose petition will be denied.  Denied petitioners are encouraged to re-petition for something else.

Submit a question or comment directly to the trustees

All questions and comments will be addressed at the next public UEP meeting.