Canadian polygamist to sell properties in British Columbia
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — A Canadian man who was convicted last year of polygamy is selling property he owns in British Columbia, Canada, to repay creditors.
Winston Blackmore will auction off two different sets of large properties located near the small community of Bountiful in southeastern British Columbia where he leads a polygamous group, the Calgary Herald newspaper in Canada reports .
One property is listed at $536,000 and the other at $280,000. They are part of two companies owned by Blackmore: Blackmore Farms Ltd. and Church of Jesus Christ (Original Doctrine) Inc.
Blackmore, 62 was found guilty last year of having 24 wives and sentenced to six months house arrest and one year probation.
Court bailiff Michael Sandstorm of the company auctioning the properties says the new owner will get the land and any buildings on them. He says some people are still living on the properties. It’s unknown what will happen to them.
“I’m sure it will impact the community (in Bountiful), hopefully not in an adverse way,” Sandstorm said.
Hanna Blackmore, one of Blackmore’s daughters, said she was surprised and disgusted about the auction. One of the buildings on the property is a community center, she said. There about 100 families living in the community, she said.
The sale will “destroy the community,” Hanna Blackmore said.
She said she still talks with her father, who is done with house arrest and visits when possible. She has helped to raise $4,500 to help her father pay the legal fees, she said.
“He has been strapped financially, especially with his house arrest, and has a lot of people relying on him for support,” she said. “He calls his adult children to check up on us and I always look forward to his phone calls and try to visit as often as I can. My dad has a lot of friends and has helped a tremendous amount of people.”
Winston Blackmore at one point owed the Canada Revenue Agency nearly $2.4 million in unpaid taxes. The government seized some of his assets in 2017 to collect the debt.
Blackmore used to be the bishop of the Canadian enclave of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a Mormon offshoot sect that believes in plural marriage. But he was kicked out, or ex-communicated, in 2002 by the group’s leader, Warren Jeffs, who is now serving a life prison sentence in Texas for sexually assaulting underage girls he considered brides.