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UTAH REJECTS BID TO DISSOLVE UTE DISTRIBUTION BUSINESS

Published: Thursday, Aug. 1 1996 12:00 a.m. MDT

The state of Utah has officially reinstated Ute Distribution Corp. as a viable business. A document fraudulently filed with the Utah Department of Commerce earlier this month had purportedly dissolved the corporation.

At the same time, a federal judge has denied a request for a temporary restraining order to stop Ute Distribution from doing business.Articles of dissolution, meant to terminate a business, were filed with the state Department of Commerce by Dora Van, president of Affiliated Ute Citizens.

The corporation was created by Affiliated Ute Citizens in 1959 to administrate the stock holdings of 490 mixed-blood Ute Indians who were terminated from tribal rolls. She has accused Ute Distribution Corp. of mismanaging the assets because the majority of the stock has been sold to non-Indians. Van contends that as their "parent company" it has the right to dissolve them.

But according to Korla Woods, director of the Division of Corporations and Commercial Codes, the paper filed by Van was done in defiance of state law.

"Once we looked at the articles of dissolution filed by Dora Van, we cross-referenced names on the articles with the names of the UDC governing body and it wasn't there, so it gave us leeway to reject the articles," Woods said. "We put the corporation back in good standing."

According to state law, a non-profit corporation can only be dissolved by two-thirds of its shareholders, and the articles of dissolution must be signed by the president of the corporation. Van signed as the president of a corporation other than Ute Distribution Corp., said Woods.

This is the first time in his three years as director of the commerce division that he has had someone file to dissolve a company when the company itself had no knowledge of it, he said.

Ute Distribution attorney Max Wheeler has asked the U.S. Attorney General's Office to investigate the case for possible criminal violations. If no action is taken at that level, the Ute Distribution Board of Directors says it may consider filing formal charges.

Ute Tribal Chief Judge George Tah Bone earlier denied Van's request for a temporary restraining order against Ute Distribution Corp., but scheduled a hearing in the dispute for Aug. 14.

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