(photo from Aberdeen American News)
Meantime, South Dakota's state legislature tried to put some closure on it last December. It's legislative committee blamed the whole mess on Benda. Considering that the State of South Dakota may be out as much as $120 million because of the way the EB-5 program's operations were diverted from the state to private control, there's some reason to wonder about the details and surrounding circumstances of Benda's suicide. Dead men don't talk, but their autopsy reports may have some information worth pursuing.
Mercer's curiosity is not a solo itch. A poll of likely voters last Fall showed that 56% wanted more information. AG Jackley so far has successfully made the case that the autopsy remains a private document and that its release must have the go-ahead of Benda's loved ones, who no doubt are still emotionally staggered by all this. Mercer counters that public interest in the whole sordidly expensive mess should trump the otherwise compelling need for
(photo from sd.gov)
Just the same, there's the matter of how compelling is the need for truth to emerge, for justice to be served. I happen to think it's pretty damn important, and I certainly hope that somewhere inside the statutory imperatives there's enough wiggle room for the facts of EB-5's catastrophically expensive--and tragic--venture in South Dakota to escape into the fresh air and sunshine of full disclosure.
*To clarify, as reader Kurt Evans notes in the comments section below, SDSC hears all appeals that come before it. I stand corrected and informed.