A federal judge has ruled that the federal government did agree to pay The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints enough money for a parcel of land it seeks for the Jordanelle Dam project.
U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Greene ordered the government to pay the LDS Church the additional $139,950 agreed to for a 126-acre parcel of land that straddles Hailstone Junction south of Heber in Wasatch County. The government condemned the land and took possession in 1987. The purchase price has been in dispute since then.The matter landed in court when the government sued the LDS Church for not selling the land to the government after the government offered $355,050 for it. Church attorneys argued that the purchase price was not a fair one and held out for more.
The church and government agreed to a purchase price of $495,000. Greene rubber-stamped that agreement with Thursday's ruling. The government has already paid $355,050 to the church. Greene ordered it to send a check for $139,950 plus appropriate interest to church attorneys.
"I'd guess it's a pretty good settlement," said Assistant U. S. Attorney Stephen J. Sorensen. "We think it's a little high, and they think it's a little low."
"You could say that everybody is reasonably dissatisfied," B. Lloyd Poelman said. Poelman said the parcel had been a church welfare farm, but the church idled the farm when it realized construction on the Jordanelle Dam, part of the Central Utah Project, was to proceed.
The church is operating another farm in Wasatch County farther north, he said. The condemned property sits atop the junction of U.S. 40 and U.8 189.