Court documents in the tussle over Scott Westerhuis’s estate show that the GEAR UP embezzler was carrying debt greater than a full year of his and his wife’s honest salaries when he apparently killed himself and his family last year at their fraud-financed home complex last September.
The scope of that debt should motivate us all to drop the “apparently”.
[Electrician Jim] Brenner said the bills have started piling up and he’s struggling to pay them without the $45,908.03 Westerhuis owed him for remodels of the family’s gymnasium and storage shed. Brenner said he trusted Westerhuis to pay him back once he completed work on the projects.
…Scott Westerhuis also had debts on his American Express card and Paypal account to the tune of $15,648.56 and $4,477.25 respectively, claims against his estate show.
…Westerhuis had just less than $120,000 in unpaid loans for the family’s four vehicles, two four-wheelers and a boat. The Ft. Randall Federal Credit Union brought a claim against his estate for $120,569.94 for the outstanding loans on the vehicles, an $1,830.15 personal loan, a credit card balance of $35.38 and additional late fees [Dana Ferguson, “After Platte Murder-Suicide, Debts Yet to Be Repaid,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.05.24].
The court documents reveal Westerhuis was also robbing the GEAR UP grant, intended to help South Dakota’s American Indian kids get into college, to put money in an education savings plan for his own four kids.
Scott and Nicole Westerhuis were maintaining a $1.3-million home and $900,000 gymnasium on combined annual honest salaries at Mid-Central Educational Cooperative of $131,000. Those salaries would likely have gone poof, right along with Scott and Nicole’s ability to find other gainful employment, once the state canceled MCEC’s GEAR UP contract and their scandalous behavior hit the press and the Attorney General’s desk. The money they stole from Indian kids to pay for their own privileged white kids’ education would be clawed back by creditors and the state. Scott Westerhuis, a good respected Christian man around Platte, would see his reputation, his little empire, and his future destroyed.
Scott Westerhuis quite literally faced the loss of everything. A man in that desperate situation could easily kill himself. A man who had beaten others by robbing them for his pleasure could rationalize, as his final pleasure, beating them by burning down an ill-gotten home that he could not keep so no one else could have it.
And a man who could take those steps, a man with no future, and man seeing no way left to provide his wife and children with a future, could kill his wife and children so no one else could have them.
Such evil happens. It happened in Platte last September. Scott Westerhuis built his world on lies and theft. He got so deep in sin and selfishness that he could not see a path to repentance and responsibility. Scott Westerhuis thus killed his wife, his four children, and himself.