Utah B&B opens at former polygamous compound site

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Former Polygamist Leader's Compound Becomes Bed-And-Breakfast


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Continental breakfasts are now being served at a bed and breakfast that has opened on the site of a sprawling, mostly unoccupied compound in southern Utah that was built for the leader of a polygamous sect.

America's Most Wanted Suites and Bed and Breakfast takes its name from Warren Jeff's time on the list of the FBI's 10 most wanted fugitives. Accommodations in the Hildale, Utah, bed-and- breakfast run from $85 to $200 a night.

America's Most Wanted Suites and Bed and Breakfast
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Utah B&B opens at former polygamous compound site
A wall taller than the allowed 4-foot height limit surrounds a large home nestled against jagged, red spires of rock Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2007, in Hildale, Utah. Fences and no trespassing signs went up when stewardship of the town's trust was handed to attorney Bruce Wisan by the state. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
FILE - This Aug. 9, 2011, file photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows polygamist leader Warren Jeffs in Huntsville, Texas. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice says Jeffs is no longer hospitalized and has been returned to prison in East Texas. Agency spokesman Robert Hurst confirmed Thursday, March 27, 2014, that Jeffs was discharged from Hospital Galveston, a TDCJ facility southeast of Houston. (AP Photo/Texas Department of Criminal Justice, File)
HILDALE, UTAH - MARCH 2: A woman walks ouside a large wall surrounding the compound of Warren Jeff's the prophet leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) in Hildale, Utah March 2, 2004. The FLDS Church, which believes in Polygamy, is in legal battles with several former male members of the church over property rights and custody custody of their wives and children after they were kicked out of the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
**FILE ** A sign marks an entrance to the compound of Warren Jeffs, the reclusive prophet of the polygamous Fundamental Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter Day Saints in this Jan. 23, 2004 file photo, in Hildale, Utah. Jeffs who was on the FBI's Most Wanted List has been arrested and faces sexual misconduct charges for allegedly arranging marriages between underage girls and older men, authorities said Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2006. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac, File)
HILDALE, UTAH - MARCH 3: A large unfinished house (R) stands in contrast to the finished homes in the compound of the Prophet (L) of The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) Warren Jeffs March 3, 2004 in Hildale, Utah. Most of the homes in Hildale and Colorado City which is run by the FLDS Church are unfinished. The FLDS Church which believes in Polygamy, and is in legal battles with several former male members of the church over property rights and custody custody of their wives and children after they were kicked out of the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
Lorin Holm, an exiled member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, looks on as video of a deposition of FLDS Church leader Warren Jeffs is played for the court during a custody hearing between Holm and his two ex-wives who still belong to the FLDS Church in 5th District Court in St. George, Utah Thursday, March 27, 2014. Holm's attorneys have argued that the mothers of Holm's children should be denied custody due to the possible influence that Warren Jeffs, who was sentenced to life in prison by a Texas court in 2011for sexually assaulting two underage girls whom he had taken as spiritual wives, might have over the children. (AP Photo/The Spectrum & Daily News, Jud Burkett, Pool)
FILE - Hildale, Utah sits at the base of red rock cliff mountains with its sister city, Colorado City, Ariz. in the foreground in this Thursday, April 20, 2006 file photo. An attorney for local law enforcement in the two polygamous towns, where most residents are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints run by the group’s jailed leader Warren Jeffs, says the U.S. Justice Department plans to sue both communities, claiming religious discrimination. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
Warren Jeffs, right, is escorted out of the Tom Green County Courthouse by a law enforcement officer, left, Friday Aug. 5, 2011, in San Angelo, Texas. Jeffs, a polygamist sect leader convicted of child sexual assault walked out of his sentencing hearing in protest Friday, after reading a statement he claimed was from God. The statement promised a "whirlwind of judgment" on the world if God's "humble servant" wasn't set free.(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, right, arrives at the Tom Green County Courthouse, Tuesday, July 26, 2011, in San Angelo, Texas, where jury selection continues. Jeffs faces two counts of sexual assault of a child. . (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Defense witness Charlotte Jessop is sworn in during Warren Jeffs' trial Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2007, in St. George, Utah. Jeffs, head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is charged with two counts of rape as an accomplice for allegedly coercing the marriage and rape of a 14-year-old follower to her 19-year-old cousin in 2001. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus, Pool)
FILE - In this May 20, 2006 file photo, a woman takes a baby out for a stroll in the polygamist town of Hildale, Utah. The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the largest-known group of organized fundamentalists living in the FLDS-dominated border towns of Hildale and Colorado City, Ariz. Besides its Eldorado, Texas compound, the church has outposts in southern Colorado, South Dakota and British Columbia. Third District Judge Denise Lindberg rejected a proposed settlement on Wednesday July 22, 2009, that would have returned control of a state-managed land trust to followers of polygamous leader Warren Jeffs. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac, File)
A car leaves Hildale, Utah on August 29, 2006. The tiny communities of Hildale and Colorado City, Arizona are home to Warren Jeffs, the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, who was arrested today in Nevada. He is know to his followers at "The Prophet."(AP Photo/Laura Rauch)
The home and compound of Warren Jeffs sits in Hildale, Utah on Aug. 29, 2006. Jeffs, a fugitive famous for his control of a polygamist community on the borders of Utah and Arizona, was arrested today in Nevada. (AP Photo/Laura Rauch)
FILE - In this April 20, 2006, file photo, "no access" signs are posted outside the homes of Warren Jeffs in Hildale, Utah. A Utah judge said Friday, June 13, 2014, that hundreds of people living in Warren Jeffs' polygamous sect on the Utah-Arizona border who have collectively failed to pay millions in occupancy fees for their houses should be evicted. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac, File)
Ross Chatwin, with most of his family, rear, makes a statement at a news conference Friday, Jan. 23, 2004, in Colorado City, Ariz. Ross Chatwin, who was kicked out of the polygamy-practicing Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, broke his silence about the shake-up in the sect's hierarchy, telling reporters that leader Warren Jeffs "has to be stopped before he ruins all of us." (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
Unfinished houses covered with painted sheets of plywood are occupied Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2007, in Hildale, Utah. Homes here are built in sometimes strange configurations for large plural families. There are mansions of brick and stone behind 14-foot fences and rickety, ramshackle buildings sided with nothing more than plywood. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

Hildale and neighboring Colorado City, Arizona, are both home to members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Former Jeffs bodyguard Willie Jessop runs the bed-and-breakfast. He took ownership of the $3.6 million compound in 2013 in a successful lawsuit he brought against the church. Jessop says only one family is living full-time in the compound after a fire destroyed their home.

Jeffs is in a Texas prison serving a life sentence for sexually assaulting girls he considered brides. Members of his church, an offshoot of mainstream Mormonism, believe polygamy brings exaltation in heaven.

Even though its title refers to the imprisoned leader, the bed-and-breakfast aims to help the community move past its dark history, Jessop said.

"Jeffs has never seen it and he never will. It was never lived in, it doesn't have any spooky history," Jessop said.

Guests have been staying in the bed-and-breakfast rooms and one master suite for about a week, and managers are still working out issues, he said. Calls to an 800 number listed for reservations went unanswered Monday, and the business has not registered with the state's chamber of commerce.

Guests can choose to stay for breakfast on site or head to the nearby Merry Wives Cafe, which is operated by church members.

The compound went up in 2010 and 2011 while Jeffs was awaiting trial. Residents have said it was designed for the leader, his wives and his family.

The bedroom intended for Jeffs won't be rented out, Jessop said, and instead will temporarily house families of the sect who need a place to stay.

Soaring red rock borders Hildale, which is about a two-hour drive from Lake Powell and an equal stretch from the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

Jessop expects the inn to cater to curious travelers and former members of the sect who have left voluntarily or because they were exiled.

"This is just one more step to have life after Jeffs and have something positive come after something so sinister," he said.

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