GOAC Spars Over EB-5

Sep 24, 2014

Members of the Government Operations and Audit Committee  or GOAC differ on the details around the examination of the EB-5 program in South Dakota.
 
Democrats presented documents to the committee showing South Dakota owes money this year for defending a lawsuit over the management of the EB-5 program.  
 
But Republicans charge that this issue is overly politicized and the questions posed are outside of the committee’s authority.

During the meeting State Senator Larry Lucas also offered documents to the committee that he says show state leaders including Mike Rounds and Dennis Daugaard knew about the contract SDRC inc. head Joop Bollen drew up to privatize state’s oversight of the EB-5 program.

“Any competent public official briefed on the basic facts about the Darley litigation would have understood that the court controversy of the litigation is Joop Bollen's creation of SDRC inc.   State employee, Joop Bollen, set up SDRC inc. to deceive anyone following his work,  willfully concealed the Darley litigation from the state, and repeatedly violated South Dakota Law in the process.  Yet governor Mike Rounds and the Board of Regents protected Bollen in court instead of firing him for his unethical and potentially illegal behavior,” says Lucas.

Democratic leaders released some of the same information in earlier press conferences.

Republican members of GOAC are critical of Democrats on the committee for the questions being posed.  They accuse Democrats of trying to politicize this issue, and that GOAC should not get in the way of any on-going federal investigation--but rather should focus on recommendations to state law and policy to prevent any further wrongdoing.