The heirs of a member of the Kingston polygamous group have filed a $1.2 million lawsuit against the church and its leader.

The lawsuit was filed late Friday in Salt Lake City's 3rd District Court by some of the heirs of Deward John Peterson, who died in 1996. It accuses the Latter Day Church of Christ, the Davis County Cooperative Society and church leader Paul Kingston of misappropriating the dead man's estate.

According to the lawsuit, Peterson was a member of the church and sold fruits and vegetables door-to-door for more than 29 years, depositing his daily sale proceeds in an account held with the cooperative.

"At the time Peterson died ... he had funds in the amount of approximately $1.2 million in his Secret Account," attorney Douglas White wrote in the lawsuit, adding that Peterson also owned a pair of properties in Murray and Woods Cross.

Members of Peterson's family went to court, and in 2003 were declared heirs of his estate.

"The Plaintiffs have demanded that the Defendants return the money and the real properties, but the Defendants have refused to do so," White wrote.

In addition to the $1.2 million, the lawsuit also seeks a new trustee to manage Peterson's estate.

An attorney representing the church did not immediately return a message seeking comment on Wednesday.


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