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FLDS compound near Pringle sells for $750,000 at auction
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FLDS compound near Pringle sells for $750,000 at auction

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The 140-acre compound owned by a polygamous cult just 15 miles from Pringle sold in 13 minutes to one of the men who filed a successful lawsuit against the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-day Saints.

Patrick Pipkin, manager of Blue Mountain Ranch of Colorado, said Thursday the group isn’t sure what they’ll do with the property.

“I do want people to know that the corruption of this church is coming to an end,” he said. “We are part of that side that’s helping correct and make a difference here and other places where there’s other locations they supposedly own.”

Pipkin purchased the compound for $750,000 on Thursday morning at the Custer County Courthouse. According to the Custer Department of Equalization, the nine parcels have a valuation of $9,054,669. Custer County Sheriff Marty Mechaley said the group was not delinquent on property taxes.

The compound has multiple dorm-like structures, additional buildings, a watchtower and is surrounded by trees. A barbed-wire fence surrounds the complex while eight-foot-tall wooden fences straddle the public access road, blocking the buildings from view, save for a few fallen boards.

The auction started around 10 a.m. with the affidavit reading. Pipkin made the first bid for $500,000 around 10:10 a.m. After a short back and forth with Terry Peak Chalets’ Rob Huber and a five-minute break for a phone call, the auction ended at 10:23 a.m.

Mechaley previously told the Journal he believed about 20 adult members remained on the property who would be leaving once the property was sold. 

Pipkin said the people there are family on his side but isn’t sure where they’ll go.

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“It’s kind of a family dispute situation working through it,” he said.

He said he was born in the FLDS and left the church about 15 years ago. He said he’s previously been to the property but didn’t see it immediately before purchasing it.

Pipkin said he’s not religious now and doesn’t believe in any of the FLDS teachings or “nonsense that they taught at all.”

Pipkin, Seth Cooke and Andrew Chatwin filed a lawsuit in August 2020 to collect damages from the FLDS. A judge made the order in 2018 on a default judgment after the FLDS didn’t respond to a 2016 federal lawsuit that included Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah. The cities settled with the trio for $221,000.

Mechaley said the $750,000 spent Thursday will be applied to the judgment against the property.

Pipkin said they will likely go after another parcel the church owns. They already own a 180-acre property 10 miles north of Mancos, Colorado.

Karl Von Rump, a retiree from Minnesota, shares a fence line with the property. He told the Journal on Wednesday that he’s glad the FLDS members are gone and hopes the property won’t get turned into another community.

Photos: Aerial images of FLDS compound near Pringle

— Contact Siandhara Bonnet at siandhara.bonnet@rapidcityjournal.com

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