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Colorado City couple allege power company practices religious discrimination

by Jennifer Thomas

azfamily.com

Posted on June 24, 2010 at 8:51 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 25 at 8:23 PM

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. -- Attorney General Terry Goddard announced Friday that his office has filed a lawsuit against the twin communities of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, as well as Hildale-Colorado City Utilities, Twin City Water Authority, and Twin City Power for alleged violations of the Arizona Fair Housing Act.

The lawsuit being filed on behalf of Ronald and Jinger Cooke alleges that the company has engaged in religious discrimination. The couple say they have been denied power and water at a home they own in Colorado City because they're not members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

3TV has reported extensively about the Cookes' plight over the last couple of years.

Ronald Cooke was disabled in a work-related accident several years ago. The Cookes allege that because they are not members of the FLDS Church and because of Ron's disability they have been discriminated against by the two cities and their water and power company.

The Arizona Attorney General's Civil Rights Division concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that the defendants discriminated against Ronald Cooke by not providing water and other utility services because of his religion and by not accommodating his disability.

The Cookes and their three children are living in a trailer while waiting for the utilities to be turned on.

State officials are looking at the Cookes' case and other similar allegations.

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