State inspectors make return visit as construction continues at YFZ Ranch
Investigators for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality paid a return trip to the YFZ Ranch on Monday, April 26, 2004 to address a number of violations of the state’s environmental code. Ricky Anderson, director of the TCEQ Region 8 office in San Angelo, told the Success Tuesday that a number of his personnel carried a series of inspections and verified some water and air quality violations.
Anderson said that the cement plant operating just north of the construction site was in violation of the state’s air quality standards and that it was ordered to be shut down until corrective measures could be taken. Also, violations of the on-site septic system were identified as well as a failure to obtain a permit to for construction related to storm water discharge.
About face...FLDS officials retreat from YFZ hunting retreat story
Eldoradoans can expect as many as 200 new neighbors soon, that's if the latest story being told by YFZ Ranch officials is to be believed. David Allred, the Hildale, Utah man who handled the purchase of some 1,691 acres of land four miles north of Eldorado, and who organized a company called YFZ L.L.C. to manage the property, met with Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran and Justice of the Peace James C. Doyle on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 28th in an attempt to address a storm of controversy surrounding the land.
Allred reportedly admitted that the story he had told locally that the YFZ Ranch would be a corporate hunting retreat, was just that, a story. Instead, he claimed that the ranch had always been intended as a community of members of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints. Allred said he had hoped the cover story would help to fend off the media frenzy that ultimately followed the FLDS to Eldorado.
Allred was joined in the meeting by three other men, Ernie Jessop, who was identified as the Presiding Elder of the group and the man who is currently in charge of day-to-day activities at the YFZ Ranch. Also present were Allan Steed, who holds the office of Patriarch in the FLDS and Roy (or Royce) Steed who was identified as High Counsel.
Utah sheriff meets with local leaders
Sheriff Kirk Smith of Washington County, Utah, told a group of twenty-five local citizens last Thursday that they could expect their new neighbors on the YFZ Ranch to keep a low profile and avoid trouble. Smith's county, located in the southwest corner of Utah, is where Hildale is located, the hometown of David Allred. He is the man who bought the YFZ Ranch, and who a few hours before Smith's arrival in Eldorado, admitted to local officials that the property is actually owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, a sect that broke away from the Mormon Church nearly a century ago when it renounced the practice of polygamy.
Sheriff Smith and his undersheriff Pete Kuhlmann were joined by Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran and Chief Deputy George Arispe at a public meeting held for local officials in the Memorial Building. Prior to hearing from Smith, Doran informed the audience that he and Justice of the Peace James C. Doyle had met with YFZ Ranch officials the day before and that they had admitted to misleading the community about their intentions.
"They said that they represent the FLDS and that a group of no more than 200 select members of the church will soon occupy the three buildings that are complete and two more that are under construction on the ranch," Doran said.
Warren Jeffs believed to be at YFZ Ranch
Published reports in the Salt Lake Tribune, as well as other Rocky Mountain area newspapers, indicate that Warren Jeffs, the Prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has left his walled compound in Colorado City, AZ, and relocated to the YFZ Ranch, just north of Eldorado.
A story appearing in the May 6, edition of the Salt Lake Tribune reports that Jeffs was at the YFZ Ranch as early as March 28, 2004 and that it was he who ordered four men, David Allred, Ernie Jessop, Roy Steed and Allan Steed, to meet with Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran and Justice of the Peace James C. Doyle. Details of that meeting, along with a photo of the four men were published in last week's edition of the Success.
At that meeting, Allred admitted to Doran and Doyle that the YFZ Ranch was never intended to be a hunting retreat. Instead, the property was planned for a new FLDS community and would house no more than 200 people, David Allred said.
That number conflicts with reports the Success has gotten from sources in the Colorado City/Hildale area. Benjamin G. Bistline, author of "The Polygamists, a History of Colorado City, Arizona" told the Success last week that there is much activity in the Colorado City area and that numbers of families are packing to move to Texas. He estimated that perhaps as many as 1,500 could be making the move in the coming weeks.
Sheriff tours Colorado City/Hildale
Sheriff David Doran and Chief Deputy George Arispe showed up in Colorado City, Arizona on Monday, May 17, a day earlier than expected. They walked down the city streets, mingled with diners in the Mark Twain Restaurant, the town's largest eatery, and paid a visit to Police Chief Sam Roundy, the Colorado City's chief law enforcement officer. "We basically wanted to get an overview of things, sort of get the lay of the land before we made contact with any of the town's leaders," Doran told the Success in a telephone interview Tuesday evening.
What the men saw was a town that is growing. "They have industry here," Doran said. "They have a dairy, a cheese plant and a large machine shop."
Nowhere, Doran said, did he see signs that anyone was planning a mass move to Texas.
Doran said that Chief Roundy was very open with him while at the same time asserting that as a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints the practice of polygamy, or plural marriage, is the cornerstone of his faith.
"It is a principle that they are not willing to compromise on," Doran stated.
Otherwise, Doran said, the town was very hospitable.
FLDS leader wants fresh start in Texas
The ongoing relocation of a major portion of Prophet Warren Jeffs' flock of fundamentalist Mormons from the Utah/Arizona border to Eldorado, Texas, represents the latest in a series of moves the church faithful have made in hopes of finding a refuge from man's law and a place where they can practice the teachings of church founder Joseph Smith. That, according to Jon Krakauer, author of Under the Banner of Heaven a Story of Violent Faith.
"Since the day that Joseph Smith first communicated his revelation condoning plural marriage, his followers have been on the move, searching for a place where they can practice their brand of religion," Krakauer told the Success Monday.
The journey took the newly formed Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints westward in 1830 from Palmyra and Rochester, in New York State, to Kirtland, Ohio and on to Jackson County, Missouri. There the group, known by then as Mormons, was met with much violence from area settlers. So much violence in fact, that they retraced their steps to settle in Nauvoo, Illinois, where the state assembly had established a charter city, giving Smith near-dictatorial control of the town, even allowing him to raise his own militia. And, in short order, the Nauvoo Legion, as the militia was called, numbered half as many men as the U.S. Army.