The CEO of the company hoping to build the state’s first wind farm west of Springdale embezzled about $785,000 in Oklahoma a decade ago, according to federal and state court records in Oklahoma.
Jody Davis, 40, has led Dragonfly Industries International in its bid this year to build what it says would be an 80-megawatt, multimillion-dollar wind farm on 300 acres recently annexed into Elm Springs. The proposal is winding through the Elm Springs approval process, with a proposal to rezone the land for industrial development put on hold this month by the City Council.
“I made some mistakes in my past,” Davis wrote in an emailed statement Thursday. “I paid a high price for these mistakes, including a debt to society. The experience transformed me. Since that time, I have tried to live my life as an example, so others might understand how they can be transformed.”
Years before taking Dragonfly’s helm, Davis pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering after admitting to a scheme he enacted while working as an account executive for Newsong Assembly, Windsong Marketing and Buyers Assistance, organizations in northeast Oklahoma that helped people afford to buy homes.
Between 2004 and 2005, Davis diverted payments meant for the groups and wired more money directly from the groups’ bank accounts into his own, according to his 2009 plea agreement in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma. He then bought vehicles, real estate, boats, tractors, jewelry and other goods with the money, according to Davis’s indictment.
Davis was imprisoned for 17 months and was ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution. He was released on probation from July 2011 to July 2014, according to a transfer of jurisdiction moving Davis’s case from the Oklahoma court to the Eastern District of Arkansas.
Davis and other Dragonfly executives have assured town officials their unique wind turbine design can coax electricity out of a breeze more quietly and safely than the standard three-bladed model. Many neighbors have voiced skepticism and overall opposition to the project throughout the process, saying Dragonfly’s promises are overblown.