Bollen Omitted 2012 EB-5 Activities from GOAC Responses; GOP Legislators Said Nothing

Among the documents we can have fun reviewing this weekend as we try to put the state’s felony charges against former EB-5 czar Joop Bollen is the final 2014 report of the gutless wonders of GOAC, the Government Operations and Audit Committee that the Legislature ordered to investigate the Governor’s Office of Economic Development following the apparent suicide of former GOED chief Richard Benda and the subsequent scandal surrounding the EB-5 visa investment program. Readers will recall that the Republican-controlled GOAC concluded that Benda caused all the trouble that prompted their investigation.

GOAC chairman Senator Larry Tidemann, Republiccan from Brookings, politely invited Joop Bollen to provide “the chronology and details of the operation of the program” to help the committee understand EB-5. Bollen arrogantly declined to appear in person but submit an equally arrogant written response with that chronology. Bollen’s chronology runs from May 1994, when Bollen says he “was hired by NSU to set up an international outreach program to assist GOED in enhancing exports from SD” to September 2014, when he received GOAC’s request. Bollen’s last entry in that timeline says nothing about South Dakota’s EB-5 program (which Governor Dennis Daugaard had taken away from Bollen a year earlier) but only cites a Washington Post article that quotes a lawyer who had been hired by GOED back in 2009 as saying that EB-5 nationwide has been a “four-way win.”

Bollen’s timeline jumps from December 2010 to February 2013. The timeline completely skips 2012, the period during which Bollen allegedly used $1.24 million from a secured fund for personal expenses, the actions that have prompted the state’s five felony charges against him.

That gap set off no alarm bells for GOAC, which asked Bollen no follow-up questions.

12 Responses to Bollen Omitted 2012 EB-5 Activities from GOAC Responses; GOP Legislators Said Nothing

  1. mike from iowa

    Pyush Patel Pals with Joop Bollen Since at least Mid-1990s Where’s the beef?

  2. When will this land where it belongs in Rounds lap.

  3. Mike, I’ll keep an eye out for DemKota Ranch Beef on the shelf at Kesslers.

    Brent, patience. On drawing Rounds into the line of fire, I will accept Governor Daugaard’s assertion that the wheels of justice turn slowly. We have three major legal actions in the courts—these charges against Bollen, the state’s civil suit against Bollen, and the Chinese EB-56 investors’ lawsuit against the state and Bollen. Each of those actions provides the opportunity for more document discovery. Bollen will fight back, and in the process he will drag more people into the line of fire. If we all keep watching closely and press the issue with elected officials, we’ll get to the bottom of things.

  4. Darin Larson

    I hope Bollen spends every last dime on lawyers defending his criminal and civil wrongdoings.

    You are right Cory about the process dragging more people into the line of fire. I think Jeff’s idea for you to write a book on this is a great idea. You already have a good working title: “DakotaCon: corruption on the prairie.”

  5. mike from iowa

    Cory, I saw the headlines for this story before you got around to posting it. BTW-wasn’t NBP supposed to be up and running sometime or another?

  6. This will end with a cushy plea deal negotiated behind closed doors. Bollen does no time in jail, pays a minuscule fine, Bollen signs an order of silence, Jackley gets his conviction, Rounds is untouched, Jackley raises millions on his way to the Mansion.

  7. The Republican administrations and their Government Operations and Audit Committee are incompetent, criminal, or both. There is no other feasible conclusion to reach. Again I say Vote Democratic and vote for initiated measure #22 to end corruption.

  8. Lanny V Stricherz

    And yet in November 2013, a full four months before the GOAC meeting on this, Kathy Tyler reminds one of John The Baptist, a lonely voice crying out in the desert. Not one Democrat joins her in calling for a legislative review of the quite apparent fraud that had been committed in the EB-5 program. Had two or three Democrats joined her in calling out for that investigation, or maybe one or two Republicans other than the by then party discredited, Stace Nelson, We might not have Mike Rounds as a US Senator and we also might not have reelected Dennis Daugaard as governor.

  9. Mary Perpich

    What do we expect from a committee whose chair says he wasn’t given documents. You have to ask,Larry, and then demand to see all the info.

  10. Had there been aggressive, law-trained representatives on GOAC appointed by the republican governor, the chair’s “tidemann shuffle” may not have been so devastating, electing rounds over rick weilman. wismer had asked for a proxy given her race for governor, and a courageous dem was alone in standing up to the republican tide(mann).

    and Johnson’s US Atty son was leaving for private practice and didn’t want to confront a potential republican senator for SD. so often are an elected official’s duties neglected in the rush for higher office, a chink in the democratic process, for self-interest.

  11. wasn’t Kathy ostracized by republicans for her clarion call?

  12. Yes, Leslie, curses be upon them. She told you so, fellas! It’s time for Kathy to win back her seat in Pierre.