Law Suit: Owen Allred
and The Apostolic United Brethren
Owen A. Allred
On July 30, 2002, Owen A. Allred lied on the witness stand. It was a pathetic sight watching him struggle with his thoughts, looking wistfully at his nephew, Ron Allred, as if for guidance, trying to decide how to answer the question proffered. He was on his own. The answer had to come from his mouth and no other, not his attorney, not John Putvin who was nervously pulling on his beard, not Ron Allred the AUB priesthood watchman. There was no room for mistake, it was not a trick, the question was simple, no one was taking advantage of an old man. And when Owen A. Allred answered the question, he gave the worst answer possible for the defense. It was an obvious, blatant lie and the whole court room knew it. The judge turned away with an expression of disgust on his face. Owen's attorney lowered his head. John Putvin tugged ferociously at his beard while his tongue darted in and out, moistening his lips. Don Redd, the plaintiff attorney, said, "No more questions." He wisely let the lie linger. The denial was many times more dramatic and damaging for the defense than an admission.
Where much is claimed, much is expected. Allred's 7000 followers revere him as the one man on earth who holds the priesthood keys of authority, the same keys once held by Joseph Smith, in other words, Owen A. Allred is revered as prophet, seer and revelator.
Owen doesn't talk about holding the sacred keys, he lets his apostles and loyal followers do that. Owen, who can be very charming, spends his talking time praising the men who practice polygamy For example, he has told the media that he and his people are "the true torchbearers of the Word." More than once he has said that "a man with two wives is twice the man than a man with only one wife; a man with eight wives," he says, "is eight times the man as a man with only one wife." His straightforwardness has convinced a few members of the media that if not prophet he is at least a religious mogul of the highest degree.
On Tuesday, July 30, 2002, Owen Allred's reputation as an honest man took a nose dive and crashed. I doubt very much that all the kings horses and all the kings men can put Humpty Dumpty's reputation back together again.
The primary purpose of the hearing was to introduce as evidence the infamous November 13, 1989 tape recording. As it turned out, the transcript of the tape recording was accepted as evidence, which for purposes of the court, is much better than the actual tape recording. Pertinent words and phrases are much easier referenced from a transcript than a tape recording.
The defense had spent three years trying to keep the 111389 tape recording from being admitted as evidence. In fact, John Putvin, under oath, while giving a deposition, claimed that the tape recording was a fraud of his manufacture. He testified that he made the recording from a combination of many other different tapes and it was not an actual representation of the conversation that took place.
In listening to the tape recording, it purports to be a conversation or dialogue between John Putvin, Dennis Matthews and Owen Allred, conspiring to steal one million dollars. Putvin said he manufactured the tape recording to deceive Rod Williams and it was not reliable evidence.
In the exchange of audible dialogue on the November 13th tape recording, Putvin tells Owen Allred that Matthews has in his possession one million dollars given to him by John Shugart to purchase the DI Ranch. Putvin tells Owen that he has been retained to negotiate the purchase. Putvin and Matthews lead Owen to believe that the money was donated to Shugart by a wealthy woman with no strings attached. Matthews admits that he has the money, that he has counted it, and put it in food storage cans. Putvin asks Owen to inquire of the Lord what they should do with the money because Putvin feels that if Shugart is allowed to purchase the DI Ranch, Shugart will be in a position to hurt "our people," which of course is the AUB membership. Both Matthews and Putvin covenant to abide by Owen's decision. After a moment of hesitation Owen says, (Page 17, beginning with line 22) "For instance, you get the title to the Granite, get the title to the D.I., and in your name faithfully and completely clear on the records of the law. Now in that we have been instructed, and instructed to do. Now we don't change anything else because we are a polygamous group."
Owen then gives Matthews and Putvin blessings. The next day Owen ordains Dennis a bishop. Seven days later, Dennis Matthews, acting as bishop and agent of Owen Allred, obtains from John Shugart an additional $500,000.00. Dennis is driving a new Honda he has purchased with the first million dollars. Shugart knew that Dennis drove an old car. Shugart's wife, Dolly, asks Dennis if he bought the new car with their money. Dennis laughs the question off without answering. Shugart is unaware that Dennis has conspired with Owen Allred and John Putvin to deprive him of both the DI Ranch and the money. Shugart still thinks that he and Dennis Matthews are kindred spirits, that Dennis is an honest and honorable man. John Shugart was acting as agent for Virginia Hill in her absence and had absolute confidence in Dennis.
Don Redd, called Owen A. Allred to the witness stand and read to him key phrases and sentences from the transcript. Owen was asked under oath if he remembered the statements read. In each instance, Owen either denied that the statements were made or that he did not remember. He even hedged about having heard the tape recording.
You may be wondering how the plaintiff came in possession of the Nov. 13, 1989 tape recording. The story is both convoluted and intriguing, involving divided loyalties and intense hatred. The Nov. 13, 1989, meeting was tape recorded by Owen Allred. At the time, Owen had the habit of tape recording important priesthood business. Dennis was suppose to destroy the tape but it wound up in the possession of John Putvin.
In 1991, John Putvin and Karen Thompson went to court over the custody of their daughter, Deborah. Owen supported Karen and Joe Thompson instead of Putvin. This made Owen and Joe, John Putvin's arch enemies. Owen also told investigators that when he refused to assist Putvin in laundering the money, Putvin threatened to destroy him.
John Putvin, hoping to use Rod Williams to destroy Owen Allred mailed to Rod from New Zealand an edited copy of the Nov. 13th tape recording. He indicated to Rod that by holding the tape recording over Owen's head, he could get back into AUB and have as many wives as he wanted.
Rod had been expelled from AUB for alleged heresy. Rod's adult children were given the choice of following Owen Allred or their father. They chose to follow Owen. This naturally upset Rod who become disenchanted with AUB and its leaders, and Putvin knew it. But Putvin's plan to subordinated Rod backfired. Rod pretended to go along with Putvin while gathering information, the coup de grace being the November 13, 1989 tape recording. Putvin, thinking the statute of limitations had run, voluntarily but diabolically, furnished Rod Williams with evidence of criminal activity, not just about Owen Allred and Dennis Matthews, but about himself.
John Putvin used Virginia's money to out spend Karen. He hired private detectives, lawyers, social workers. Owen Allred said he spent money like it grew on trees. He even rented a helicopter to surveil a ranch where he thought Karen was hiding Deborah. Eventually he wore Karen out and she let him have custody. Winning custody of Deborah was not enough, after twelve years he was still obsessed with destroying Owen and shaming the memory of Joseph Thompson who died in 1998.
Matthews thought that because there were deletions it couldn't be used as evidence. He was wrong.
Getting back to the July 30th evidentiary hearing., after Owen denied having ever heard or said the statements read by Don Redd, John Llewellyn was placed under oath and testified that on Dec. 7, 1994, he played the November 13th tape for Owen in the morning, and played the tape recording again in the afternoon of the same date for both Dennis Matthews and Owen Allred. Llewellyn played a small segment of a conversation he had with Dennis Matthews on Dec. 7th establishing that he had in fact played the tape. The tape was placed into evidence.
While Owen was still on the witness stand, Rod Williams then played a segment of a tape recording he made on Dec. 9, 1989, between himself and Owen Allred. Reference was made to the Nov. 13th tape recording Llewellyn played for Owen and Dennis two days prior. Owen Allred was overheard to say, "Rod, I cannot deny anything on that tape, I cannot deny anything on that tap."
The voice on the tape was clearly that of Owen Allred. There could be no mistake. But when Don Redd asked Owen if that was his voice and if he remembered the conversation, the old gent hung his head in thought for a few seconds. All eyes were on him, waiting to see how he would answer. Finally, while looking at Ron Allred he said, "That is not my voice. That is not me speaking. That did not happen."
The effect of Owen's denial was like a skyrocket going up. Had he said, "yes that's my voice but I have no recollection of the conversation," he would have maintained some dignity. But to flat deny as he did, he destroyed his credibility.
Owen is 92 years old, thin, frail and decrepit in appearance. I felt sorry for him as he thought out his dilemma. The look on his face said, how should I answer this question? It was the most dramatic moment thus far since the complaint was filed in August 1997. Before answering he looked directly at Ron Allred. and kept eye contact with Ron as he made his denial. Did Ron give Owen some kind of signal, I don't know, and I'm not saying he did. But from the way Owen denied all of Don Redd's questions, and from having had discussions with Owen in the past, I got the distinct impression that he had been instructed by someone to deny, deny, deny, or don't remember.
According to Dennis Matthews, it was John Putvin who masterminded the theft and dreamed up the scheme to launder Virginia Hill's money. And, according to Matthews, it was Putvin who six months after Matthews took possession of the money that Putvin wound up with all the money. Dennis told Llewellyn that one day he would tell him how Putvin got possession of all the money. However, he never did. No matter, it was Putvin who told Rod Williams how he got all the money. According to Rod, Putvin said that "when the feds got involved Owen and Matthews panicked and couldn't get rid of the money fast enough. "They dumped it all in my lap." After the threat of arrest had passed they asked for the money back". Putvin, of course, told them no.
It was James Sandmire that Putvin used to front for several Diamond, dba's and corporations until Sandmire learned the ropes and went out on his own. And it was Sandmire that Putvin used to set up corporations, issue trust deeds and assignment of trust deeds, an elaborate scheme to launder into AUB, with the cooperation of LaMoine Jenson, $500,000.00 in $2500.00 increments. According to Ed Alder, who was privy to the purchase of the Granite Ranch, the sum paid for the Granite Ranch was $500,000.00. Ed said they could have gotten it for $75,000.00.
According to documents furnished to Don Redd by the defense, the purchase price of the Granite was $475,000.00. AUB put up most of the money. Unknown to the AUB membership, Owen, LaMoine Jenson and Owen's favorite son, Glen Allred formed the Red Cedar Corp. and used tithing money to purchase the Granite Ranch. The AUB membership did not learn that Red Cedar Corp. was the actual owner of the Granite until leaked by Llewellyn and Williams in 1996. Red Cedar was organized as a non profit entity. It has never been self supporting. Before Joseph Thompson died he told Llewellyn and Williams that AUB dumped between ten and twenty thousand dollars a month into the Granite Ranch.
John C. Putvin is a worthy adversary, the type of eccentric personality that writers like to create. He is the ideal antagonist intelligent, diabolical, sociopath, that is, he doesn't seem to have feelings of remorse or guilt for the victims of his machinations. The dark, scraggy beard and mustache gives him a Charles Manson
Rasputinlike appearance and builds intrigue. He is deliberate, methodical, articulate, ruthless and seems to delight in the adventure of risk taking. He is very adept in the manipulation of people and a talented actor. He can portray the whiplash victim or, according to Dennis Matthews, shed tears when ever it is appropriate. He likes to play cloak and dagger and often speaks cryptically, like when he described the AUB holy of holies to Rod Williams.
His bible is the Ayn Rand novel, Atlas Shrugged. From the leading characters of Atlas Shrugged he created and personified the personality of John d'Anconia Galt, an intrepid financier and giver of wise counsel. John Galt has no conscience. It was the John Galt personality that dreamed up the cabal and while watching from the shadows, supervised the laundering of Virginia Hill's money. John d'Anconia Galt purchased used cars and negotiated the purchase of the used car lot, Diamond Automotive Specialties, Inc. And it was the personality of John Galt who took the witness stand on July 30, 2002, and convinced Judge Eyre that he was justified in taking the Fifth Amendment in his deposition.
Don Redd had asked Judge Eyre to compel Putvin to answer the questions where he took the Fifth Amendment, because the statute of limitations had obviously passed. However, Putvin and his attorney, Ron Baker, held an "on camera interview" in the judge's chambers and Putvin was able to convince the Judge that if he was compelled to answer it would still incriminate him. This means that Putvin has apparently still done some criminal act in which he is still punishable.
When it comes to manipulating people and putting on a performance, John Putvin and Tom Green have a lot in common, except where Tom is heterosexually aggressive, John seems to be asexual. The objective of most polygamist men is the acquisition of many wives, in that regard Putvin appears to have no interest. His goal, or goals it would seem, is the acquisition of money and destruction of Owen Allred. Where Tom was busy beating the fundamentalist bushes for young wives and adopted sons, Putvin seemed to occupy most of his time playing monopoly with Virginia's money, playing cloak and dagger games, and portraying the eccentric guru. The rest of his time he spent being both mother and father to his daughter, Deborah, which may help explain why the poor girls has spent so much time in therapy, twelve years, according to Putvin.
After the complaint was filed in 1997, Putvin called a meeting of all defendants. From that time until just a few months ago, Putvin took charge of the defense and AUB paid the legal bills. It was a strange alliance. Owen Allred and John Putvin, arch enemies, the former putting his trust in the latter.
According to Owen Allred and his loyal followers John Putvin was an evil man, yet Owen, LaMoine Jenson, Matthews and others gave Putvin carte blanche. Why would supposedly righteous men place there reputations and wealth under the control of an alleged evil man?
Dennis Matthews may offer the explanation. He told John Llewellyn that Putvin was smarter than all the lawyers in Salt Lake City put together. He felt save and secure with John Putvin in control of the defense, he never lost. John Putvin drew up an affidavit for Owen's signature. Owen told investigator Llewellyn he signed the affidavit without reading it. The affidavit made Owen highly impeachable as many things stated were not true. Owen severed himself from the rest and got his own attorney. The first thing he did was withdraw the flagrant affidavit.
Eventually, the rest of the defendants pulled away from John Putvin and retained Dennis Matthew's attorney, BelAmi DeMontreux, a Black man. This surprising event created a new conundrum. Why would a racist organization that discriminated against the black race, retain a Black man to represent it? AUB will not baptize or give the priesthood to a Black man. AUB excommunicates anyone they believe even has a drop of black blood in their veins. They will not associate with anyone who ever married a black person. Some members of AUB have ties with the Aryan Nation raciest organization in Idaho. A few members of AUB believe that the holocaust never happened and was an invention to gain sympathy for the Jews. Back in the 1970s, one of Owen's apostles, George Maycock, who incidentally was excommunicated for allegedly molesting his own children, was circulating a racist book entitled Betrayal of the White Race. Among many other disgusting untruths, the book alleged that had not Abraham Lincoln been assassinated, he would have sent all the blacks back to Africa.