Washington - A man who helped the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints acquire land for the YFZ Ranch is now a state legislator representing San Angelo, Texas.
Rep. Drew Darby said he extricated himself from YFZ Land, Limited Liability Co., when he realized he'd been misled and that it was no corporate retreat the group was building in Schleicher County.
"It became apparent what their motives were, and so I certainly got out of that picture," said Darby, a San Angelo real estate lawyer and title company owner.
One day, Darby said, the real estate agent who worked on the property sale came in and asked Darby to organize a company for David S. Allred to buy a tract of land in Schleicher County.
Darby formed YFZ Land in 2003.
He worked solely with Allred and met no other members of the breakaway Mormon sect. Darby described Allred as "a real diminutive person, a man of very few words, very well mannered, just all business."
Darby was listed as the registering agent for YFZ Land in documents filed Oct. 27, 2003, with the Texas Secretary of State's Office.
That meant the documents for any lawsuit filed against YFZ Land or other legal documents for the company would have landed on Darby's doorstep, he said.
Allred, then of Washington, Utah, was given management responsibilities.
Later that year, YFZ Land bought about 1,700 acres - the future home of the YFZ Ranch about 50 miles from San Angelo.
Dan Gandy of Touchdown Real Estate in San Angelo handled the deal, Darby said.
Gandy declined to comment Friday.
The deal went through "just like we do every day, no different than we do for hundreds of clients a year," Darby said.
YFZ Land was supposed to be buying property for a corporate retreat, he said.
"I would just receive reports from people in Schleicher County, saying, 'Hey, there's a lot of people coming here, building a lot,' " he said. "And I'd say, 'Well, it's going to be a corporate retreat.' "
Then the story emerged that YFZ Ranch was home to an FLDS sect, and July 12, 2004, Darby resigned as registered agent, according to a letter he provided.
The next day, YFZ Land named Ernest Jessop of 2420 CR 300 in Eldorado, Texas, the registered agent, according to documents from the Texas Secretary of State's Office.
In 2006, Darby was elected to House District 72. The district includes Scurry, Mitchell, Coke and Tom Green counties.
In November 2003, Johnny and Susie Isaacs of Rusk, Texas, sold the sect the biggest chunk of land, about 1,370 acres.
It had been for sale about a year when YFZ Land bought it, Susie Isaacs said.
"We thought they were just going to have a game ranch," she said.
The couple had kept elk, red deer and whitetails behind a high fence on the West Texas tract, Isaacs said.
The couple never met the buyers and didn't know they were FLDS members until it was in the news media a few years ago, she said.
She declined to reveal the sale price.
YFZ Land borrowed $657,500 from First Ag Credit of Lubbock to buy the land, Schleicher County records indicate.
About a month after the Isaacs' sale, YFZ land bought about 320 acres from Kirk and Holly Griffin of Eldorado.
The Griffins could not be reached Friday.