Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Probably Political As All Get Out, But Barth's Beef Is Legit, Just The Same

     Minnehaha County (Read:  Sioux Falls)  Commisioner Jeff Barth, a Democrat, just filed a federal lawsuit against Michael Rounds and a few others over their participation in the Slaughterhouse EB-5 fiasco. Barth's filing  is a preliminary request seeking a court order to preserve documents and other evidence that's relevant to the much-reported and -discussed breakdown in the "cash for green cards" EB-5 program in South Dakota. Todd Epp in The Northern Plains News website gives an excellent breakdown of the filing's elements at the NPN website, using his lawyer's perspective to illuminate the process with some professional insight.
      You can scan the document in the Argus-Leader piece I linked and draw your own conclusions about just exactly who Barth represents and what kind of legal action he contemplates.  The legalese of the filing is too technical for me to parse, but I think the gist of it is pretty clear.  Barth thinks that the net effect of the transfer of the EB-5 application and investment process from the State of South Dakota to a private entity called SDRC, inc. deprived South Dakotans of millions of dollars.  Actually, we know that figure to be about $120 million, based on the news and probably hundreds of well-documented blog posts on the subject during the past year.  If you want a complete picture from a non-partisan outside source, the Center for Immigration Studies, here it is.  
     No doubt the timing of Barth's filing and its attendant brouhaha, coming as it does just weeks ahead of the election, is a political gambit ("stunt" if you will), but it does have its merits just the same.  South Dakotans got royally shafted by the much larger "stunt" of turning over a profitable program from their hired and elected hands in Pierre to a schemer named Joop Bollen, who found a way to transfer this lucrative EB-5 business from the state to himself.  Worth noting is that the budget gap facing incoming Governor Dennis Daugaard in 2011 (I believe $127 million is the figure most commonly used--I'm eminently correctable by more knowledgeable readers via my comments section) was roughly the same amount as was given up by the shady transfer of business from SD to Joop Bollen.  Daugaard had to apply some painful budget cuts to make up the difference. On that basis alone, all South Dakotans have a beef that should be addressed in the courts.  We came up short of cash that should have been ours.  That cash would have been enough to cover most of the budget shortfall that Daugaard had to contend with during his first year in office.
     For that reason I think we should sue these so-and-sos, who either through complicity or incompetence, left us holding the bag.  If there's justice in our society, the courts will see it this way.  As to the political class--they can whoop and holler 'til the cows come home.  I just want my money back.

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