Monday, February 14, 2011

Colonial Rift

It seems sectarian tension can develop anywhere.

A judge's ruling to dissolve a Brown County Hutterite colony and sell its assets is being appealed to the state Supreme Court. In November, Judge Jack Von Wald ordered the colony's corporation dissolved with the assets to be sold and distributed to members. During the process, a receiver - Aberdeen attorney Harvey Jewett - has been named to manage Hutterville Colony's financial matters.


In recent years, Hutterville members have lived together on colony property but have split into two groups that have been bickering. Supporters of Johnny Wipf and followers of George Waldner Sr. differ on which branch of the Hutterite religion the colony should follow. Both groups claimed to be the colony's proper leaders.....Wipf and his supporters asked for the colony to be dissolved. Now, Waldner and his backers are appealing the decision.

I was unaware that there is more than one branch. Googling.... the internet is a wonderful thing.

It's allegedly gotten ugly.

Von Wald ruled that the colony's directors were deadlocked and that there was a nearly even split among colony members as to whom they support. Von Wald also ruled that there have been oppressive acts that include Waldner's followers locking gas tanks and buildings that house firefighting equipment to restrict access by Wipf and his backers....Rochelle Sweetman, an attorney representing Wipf's supporters, said during a brief court hearing conducted by telephone Wednesday that the appeal is an attempt by Waldner's group to remain in power and control the colony's $55 million in assets. She said Wipf and his backers are still being denied financial support, including payment of medical bills.

The article notes that they could still patch things up, but....

During the trial, Waldner's attorney had argued that Wipf's group could not be in control of the colony because they had been excommunicated.

That's not a good sign.

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