While we wait for Bob Mercer’s report on his date with the Supreme Court to argue for opening the Richard Benda death investigation, retiring Board of Regents exec Jack Warner reminds us of the shady secret deals Benda’s EB-5 collaborator, Joop Bollen, foisted upon the state:
AP: Tell me what it was like to navigate the EB-5 incident.
Warner: It’s an issue that got tied up with a political campaign, and that made it much more visible. Mr. (Joop) Bollen was our employee (who oversaw the EB-5 program). We did have to defend a lawsuit in that regard … and the procedures we have in place for conflicts of interest simply did not work in this case because any conflict of interest management requires, first, disclosure and then, second,’ management of the potential conflict. And since the conflict was not disclosed, it made it more difficult for us to manage it [James Nord, “Warner Proud of Student Enrollment Growth, Student Success,” AP via Rapid City Journal, 2015.03.22].
The Legislature’s only response to Bollen’s fraudulent activities was to blame Richard Benda for everything EB-5 and pass a law this session that will sorta, kinda, maybe prosecute folks who try to pull a Bollen… if we find out about it… if the program isn’t cleverly hidden in the wrong state agency… and if the Governor feels like it.