‘South Park’-Like Series Looking For Tips On Possible LDS Church Tax Fraud

YouTube episodes pointing out church business properties across the United States

Deseret Ranch, Fla., is an LDS church-owned property which the YouTube series Salt Park is featuring.
John Raoux / AP Images

YouTube episodes pointing out church business properties across the United States

When new policies of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were leaked two-and-a-half years ago, the public learned that children of gay parents could only be baptized when they turned 18, and Mormons in same-sex relationships would be considered heretics.

That led Fred Karger “to go after something that’s sacred to (the church), and that’s their tax status,” he told the Salt Lake Tribune.

He’s doing that through Salt Park, an animated series meant to invoke South Park in style and visuals, as well as title.

“The animation in the minutes-long episodes of Salt Park is noticeably clunkier and the jokes flatter than its inspiration, but that’s not really the point,” reported the Tribune. “He’s using the series to throw hardballs at the church, which he contends often violates its tax-exempt status with its business holdings.”

Those include the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii; Deseret Ranch in Florida, the biggest cattle ranch in America; and a huge Manhattan building. Salt Park’s children characters visit each of the locations, the Tribune reported.

“People may be aware of the church’s ownership of City Creek Center (in Utah), but not much beyond that,” Karger said. “That was an eye-opener for me when I started this, to see just how vast a business empire they have.”

City Creek Center is one of the business holdings of the LDS church.
City Creek Center Rick Bowmer / AP Images

Besides writing the script of each of the five episodes, Karger put his own money into the series, which required about $12,000 per show. Karger hired eight people to voice act, animate, do storyboard art, and other work, meaning that the first episode took nearly a year, according to the Tribune.

Karger, who has advertised for the Republican Party, has had issues with the church, the Tribune reported, after it influenced the passage of Proposition 8 in California, which took away legal approval of gay marriages.

“Ever since Prop 8, people have encouraged me to go after their taxes, but I never felt comfortable enough to do it,” Karger told the Tribune.

The gay policy changed his mind, the Tribune reported.

The character, Marlon the Detective, appears in every episode to ask those viewing to submit experiences to Mormontips.com, the website of the organization Karger owns, regarding suspected tax fraud by the church, according to the Tribune.

Other Salt Park characters include Dan, Lyle, Benny, and Carmine, which rhyme with and pay homage to Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman of South Park, respectively. Others featured include LDS prophets past and present in Joseph Smith and Dieter Uchtdorf, and Mormon cultural icons Glenn Beck, Mitt and Ann Romney, and Donny and Marie Osmond, the Tribune reported.

The show debuts Saturday on YouTube. Stream it here and watch the trailer below.