Summarized by Eileen Bell
State Suing Polygamist To Recoup Welfare Aid
Deseret News 21Jun99
By Greg Burton: Salt Lake Tribune
Polygamist Has a Politically Connected Ally
Salt Lake Tribune 18Jun99 L7
By Dan Harrie: Salt Lake Tribune
Lawsuits are flying as a prominent Utah polygamist is being sued by the
state, and has launched lawsuits of his own. Thomas Arthur Green has
spoken about his lifestyle on several national TV shows.
The state wants to get back some of the 74 thousand dollars in welfare
money that the Green family has collected since 1995. Green doesn't think
that's fair. "I've taken advantage of what the government has established,
just like every American with the same needs." The family listed in the
suit include 18 children from five mothers. It calls for Green to provide
child support and medical help for the children.
Green has now launched lawsuits against the Tapestry of Polygamy group, its
leader, and its lawyer. Green claims that the anti-polygamy lobby group
has defamed him by accusing him of child abuse. "They have crossed the line
from being a help group to being a hate group." Tapestry says the 60
thousand dollar lawsuit against them is just a reaction to the state suit
The Greens live in a complex in western Utah that they call "Greenhaven."
"If people would leave us alone and let us live our lives, we could take
care of ourselves. We have never taken advantage of the benefits we have
been entitled to, according to government guidelines . . . It's not like we
were begging the government -- we took advantage of the social programs
that the government set up, and if there's a crime in that, they need to
change the standards."
State Representative David Zolman of Taylorsville was at the Green's news
conference. He says he takes no position on the lawsuit by the state, but
says, "It signifies that I see Tom not as a polygamist, but as a person
whose civil rights are currently jeopardized."
Zolman has defended the rights of polygamists before. "I want the
polygamist people to know that I support them in their political rights. I
don't care if I'm ever elected again. I believe their civil rights are
precious and secure under the First Amendment."