|Former Gov. Rounds With EB-5 Investor|
A Fateful Handshake(photo from sddp.org)
You can find details in the links and a very good summary in Cory's blog. I'm grateful to Heidelberger for his yeoman's job in keeping us informed about this bit of unpleasantness, the worst of which is that a key state official named Richard Benda apparently committed suicide on the eve of his arrest for stealing and misdirecting money from the state during his work on the EB-5 program. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the program through the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, got so fed up with South Dakota's mangling of it that they sent us a Notice Of Intent To Terminate our state as a regional center.
Meantime, has any state official or investigative body ever produced a comprehensive account of just exactly how this mess occurred? Not that I've seen. There was a brief investigation a year ago by the SD state legislature's Government Audit and Operations Committee that basically singled out Benda as the fall guy. It was a pretty lame effort, one that didn't even require Joop Bollen to testify in person--all he had to do was submit written answers to written questions. A bunch of Perry Masons our elected officials were not. Just the same little bits
|Still Under Scrutiny|
After All These Years
(image from ksfy.com)
Oh well, if getting substantive information from our public officials isn't going to happen, I imagine a lot of details will emerge in the courts as these lawsuits progress, barring some settlements that will scuttle the process along the way. The Washington, D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies thinks South Dakota's citizens lost $120 million in this debacle. As the criminal justice system hasn't been able to shed much light on how it happened, it looks like civil jurisprudence just might. We'll see, I guess. If nothing else, I'm anxious to see where this cash-strapped state will find the $18 million if the Chinese investors get a favorable judgement.
**Thanks, George Harrison