Wednesday, April 22, 2015

So If EB-5 Maven Joop Bollen Never Paid Taxes How Can He Be Shielded By A Law That Applies To Taxpayers? By Definition He Wasn't A Taxpayer.

     Joop Bollen, who masterminded the transfer of South Dakota's lucrative "cash for green
Does He Owe Us Money?
(photo from
cards" program from the State of South Dakota to himself is now being looked at by the South

Dakota Department of Revenue. Apparently, after Bollen conducted the switcheroo, which cost the state a ton of money (more than $100 million according to the Center For Immigration Studies), he started lending money out of the company he formed.  Nothing wrong with being a money lender, of course, but there seems to be a question about whether or not he was supposed to pay the state's bank franchise tax as a result of those activities covering the period 2009-2013.  Brown County (think Aberdeen) officials think so and have filed a claim to collect retroactive taxes due, apparently because Bollen's lash-up was headquartered there.
     But just when The Associated Press tries to get some information about any investigation by the State of South Dakota into this imbroglio, along comes news that the State won't divulge anything, including whether or not it's even conducting an investigation.  Bloggers Cory Heidelberger (who wonders if this is some sort of "state secret") and Kevin Woster (who questions the "logic") are as perplexed by this rhetorical weirdness as I am.  SD Department of Revenue spokesman Jason Evans tells the AP that state law forbids the department from disclosing whether  it's pursuing back taxes.  "It's confidential taxpayer information," according to Evans.  Tony Venhuizen, Governor Daugaard's Chief of Staff, adds that it's a "prohibition against state officials."  
     Seems reasonable enough.  Taxpayers have every reason to expect a high degree of confidentiality in any dealings with state tax collectors--except for one thing.  How does someone who hasn't paid taxes qualify as a "taxpayer?"  It's true that Bollen's company last month was issued a license that will require him to pay taxes in the future, but the period in question has nothing to do with that.  During the period in question, Bollen had no license and paid no taxes.  He wasn't a taxpayer.  So how come the gets the veil of confidentiality that taxpayers get? Meantime, are we to infer that the claim by Brown County that it is owed taxes that should have been paid is being ignored by state officials?  Surely somebody must be looking into this matter, and just as surely the statute that bars disclosure of investigations of taxpayers needs to be examined.  How can it bar disclosure of investigations of those who never paid taxes in the first place?  They weren't "taxpayers."  Sounds to me like they were "tax dodgers," and the public has a right to know if they're being investigated as such.  


  1. Just another chapter in the "As the Corruption Turns in SD."

    We get to know what state officials salary is but not if a crooked business was required to pay taxes like everyone else OR if they were given special breaks (payoffs) of not having to pay taxes so they remain silent about Daugaard, Rounds, & Jackley's EB5 corruption.

    What really counts, is if those guys can raise money from other crooked state contract donors to get elected to office to beat the boogeyman Democrats. Because we have to keep the Democrats out of office so they don't expand government, increase taxes/fees, oppose pro-life bills, and oppose good gun rights bills...

    Except that is exactly what Daugaard and his merry bunch of RINOs did this year, so why are we electing these fake Republicans again?

  2. The nature of any board or group is to develop a bunker mentality when challenged. So that part of it is natural. They just don't want us to see how inept they have been at managing most of the state's affairs.

    But I think this one runs a bit deeper. There may have been a lot of hands in the cookie jar on this one. It's impossible to say - or even speculate - as even the tiniest tidbit of real information is kept behind the curtain.

    I applaud you, John and people like Cory over at Dakota Free Press for doing what you can to actually educate people on what's going on around them. I get a queasy feeling thinking about how incredibly neglectful South Dakota voters have been of their responsibility to send a competent group of people to Pierre to manage the state's affairs.

    We can blame this mess (and many others) on the people who are in Pierre and those who came before them. But the lion's share of the blame should be cast toward those who vote based on the dogma they let themselves get force fed.

    South Dakota is the perfect example of the manifestation of the old adage about power corrupting.

  3. Sad to know my home state is so corrupt.It is unsettling the amount of deception and dishonesty is going on in South Dakota government and politics!