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.