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Guidehouse Hurts Small Business with Costly Website Error

KSFY’s Beth Warden documents another example of how Governor Kristi Noem’s high-priced consultants at Guidehouse are doing a rotten job of managing our federal coronavirus relief dollars. Kristi’s private contractors, who are getting up to $11 million to manage the billions in coronavirus assistance that the Governor didn’t trust state employees to handle, evidently screwed up the application website, fixed the error quickly, but still disbursed funds incorrectly and now is demanding that the businesses they misinformed pay back those funds. Sioux Falls dentist and recent District 10 Senate candidate Nichole Cauwels is one of about 100 businesses put in this unfortunate position:

The business also qualified for the second round of the South Dakota COVID Grant Program, for $23,000. Dr. Cauwels moved forward with the spending she had put on hold.

“As soon as I got that project done, here comes the email. I actually thought it was a scam, saying that I had to return all of the funds. I thought it was being punked,” said Dr. Cauwels.

…She was given an explanation by Guidehouse, the firm chosen by executive decision in the state of South Dakota.

“That this outside firm had actually messed up on the website, and they had fixed it the next day,” said Dr. Cauwels.

Dr. Cauwels was told she was among approximately 100 businesses in the state who had to give COVID funding back.

“But they knew about the error within the first 24 hours, and they waited months and months and then distributed the money anyway. And then they waited months and months to tell us about the error. I would have never made those financial commitments if I had known that I didn’t have that money available to me,” said Dr. Cauwels [Beth Warden, “South Dakota Business Owners Told to Return Covid Funds Due to Processing Error,” KSFY, 2021.10.19].

Unlike Senate Majority Leader Gary Cammack’s Texas-resident son scamming South Dakota for coronavirus relief for his Texas business, Dr. Cauwels isn’t trying to trick anyone. She wasn’t trying to take any money to which she wasn’t entitled. But Guidehouse has been botching its management of our coronavirus funds from the start.


  1. Mark Anderson 2021-10-21 10:21

    Well Cory, first she’s a Democrat, what do you expect from a Republican government, honesty? Second Cammack’s son takes furry animal skins and puts them on fake animal bodies and brings them to life. He’s used to tricking people, its his way of life. Really he just has his body in Texas, in his mind he lives on South Dakota. He has a prescription to South Dakota magazine… You know I might start applying for South Dakota artist grants. You can rent a post office box in Sioux Falls, right?

  2. Porter Lansing 2021-10-21 10:32

    If a crook and con artist like Kristi Noem doesn’t trust the South Dakota legislature with your money, why should you?

  3. O 2021-10-21 11:57

    This goes a long way to answer the GOP/Conservative mantra that private business can do things better and more efficiently than the government can. The extra rub here is that the private contractors are making profit from this work.

    The answer is as it has always been: get good people into government work — both as candidates and as civil servant jobs.

  4. Eve Fisher 2021-10-21 14:43

    This is why, BTW, we should all be shaking in our shoes as to what our Governor’s high-priced out-of-state consultants will do with the prison system.
    So far her out-of-state hires are bloviators, incompetents, and always EXPENSIVE.

  5. ArloBlundt 2021-10-21 17:22

    Well…my thoughts on Out of State contractors are quite negative and have been expressed before…11 million bucks down the tube and we get shoddy workmanship and considerable expense to the citizens who applied in good faith and now are miscreants due to misinformation. Hire a group of accounting grads from the USD school of business and some techies out of Dakota State and you could do no worse at probably less than 25% of the cost. Only problem is the state hires probably won’t kick any of the money back to the Governor’s campaign fund.

  6. bearcreekbat 2021-10-21 18:22

    Hiring incompetent groups and individuals is totally worth condemnation. It seems entirely irrelevant whether the incompetent individual or group is from SD, another state, or another country for that matter. The objective should be to find and hire the most qualified individuals, regardless of where they might be from, which seems to be an objective Noem continually misses. To her credit, however, she acts consistently with SD voters, who also recently have missed that objective in choosing a governor, attorney general, senators, congresspeople, and way too many state and local elected officials, from schoolboard members to legislators.

    But wholesale attacks on individuals or hiring practices based on that person’s home state seems to be classic irrational trumpist xenophobia, only this time identifying the objectionable “other” as some pe rson from another state rather than another country.

  7. Jake 2021-10-22 13:03

    And, out of all this of course comes the news that Senator Cammack (who is trying to hide his ass getting picked up for DUI) has a son in Texas who may have illegally got his hands on almost a million of the covid $$$!
    How many more GQP voting grifters do we have in this fair state?!!!

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