EB-5 and Joop Bollen pop up in another election year! Reminding us that South Dakota’s “green cards for sale” scandal is still mired in litigation, Seth Tupper reports on a deposition from Aberdeen’s EB-5 kingpin, taken March 20 but just published by the federal court in which Bollen and deadbeat investors in the Deadwood Mountain Grand casino/hotel are suing the pants off each other, which offers some details on how much Bill Janklow supported Bollen’s money-making scheme:
Sometime during the 1990s, according to Bollen, he went to the state capital city of Pierre with John Hutchinson, who was NSU’s president from 1993 to 1997, and Clyde Arnold, who was the dean of NSU’s business school, where they met with then-Gov. Janklow at his request and discussed Bollen’s ideas to boost manufacturing exports.
During deposition questioning by attorney Kasey Olivier, of Heidepriem, Purtell, Siegel & Olivier in Sioux Falls, Bollen described Janklow’s reaction.
Bollen: “He liked it. He liked my plans, I think. So he sent me an email if I had an interest to come to Pierre. But I told him, no, I didn’t want to go to Pierre.”
Olivier: “To go live in Pierre?”
Bollen: “To work. Yeah” [Seth Tupper, “Bollen Says in Newly Public EB-5 Deposition That Janklow Wanted Him in Pierre,” Rapid City Journal, 2018.10.11].
Bollen has stated before that South Dakota’s Executive Branch was fully invested in his EB-5 efforts. Other documents and Mike Rounds’s own statements to the press in 2014 confirmed the state’s keen support for Bollen’s project.
The March 20 Bollen deposition doesn’t appear to drop any October surprises into this year’s election… although the lead attorney deposing Bollen, Kasey Olivier of Sioux Falls, is running for District 12 Senate, so I hope all her hard work on this EB-5 case isn’t keeping her from knocking on doors and asking for votes in Sioux Falls! Her clients would probably prefer that she not discuss pending litigation on the campaign trail, but the knowledge she’s gaining from this litigation likely makes her more informed about and more motivated to tackle crony corruption in state government than her incumbent District 12 opponent, Senator R. Blake Curd, who sat gutlessly on the Government Operations and Audit Committee in 2014, did nothing in response to Bollen’s arrogant dismissal of their authority, and complied with the powers that be in blaming all the shady EB-5 business on the dead guy, Richard Benda.