Crockett and Tubbs—er, SDRC exec Joop Bollen and former Governor M. Michael Rounds

Bollen: "Mike, where's the Delete key?!"
Rounds: "Do I know you?"

Clean-up on Aisle EB-5!

Governor Dennis Daugaard quietly cancelled his Office of Economic Development's five-year EB-5 vias management contract with SDRC Inc. on September 19. The cancellation letter included terse demands for SDRC Inc. to surrender documents and money to the state.

SDRC chief Joop Bollen has probably been so busy rummaging through his new storm shelter for those documents and that cash that he hasn't had time to fully clean up SDRC's website. He yanked out some wires right after the state's cancellation notice, stripping the home page of links and of any mention of affiliation with the State of South Dakota. In August, SDRC greeted visitors with this text:

SDRC Inc., an independent and privately owned company established in late 2008, is the overarching management company that operates and manages the regional center on behalf of the Governor’s Office Of Economic Development. Additionally, SDRC Inc. operates as the general partner for the South Dakota Investment Fund Limited Partnerships (EB-5 entities) to assure that the interest of the limited partners are met, including the creation of necessary job credits needed for the I-829 process and the repayment of the loans [SDRC home page, downloaded 2013.08.18].

Now visitors see this message:

SDRC Inc., through Limited Liability Companies, manages limited partnerships which fund economic development projects on behalf of EB-5 investors in accordance with federal laws and regulations [SDRC homepage, downloaded 2013.11.04].

Funny: I'm not sure how SDRC can manage anything related to EB-5 if the state has cancelled SDRC's authority to act on EB-5 matters. Investors, you might want to call Joop... or call state economic development boss Pat Costello.

But the SDRC still maintains numerous publicly available webpages that makes claims now made false in obsolescence. For instance:

  1. The Partners page says, "The Department of Tourism and State Development has a contract in place with SDRC Inc. for the purposes of having SDRC Inc. administer the South Dakota Regional Center and the EB5 program...."
  2. The EB-5 page talks all about a federal program that SDRC is no longer authorized to have anything to do with.
  3. The Overview of Visa Process tells EB-5 applicants the process requires "careful preparation, planning and execution" by the SDRC Inc. Without that contract, SDRC has no authority to do any EB-5 preparation or execution.
  4. The Projects page lists ten projects as "SDRC Loan Projects." While it's nice to keep that history around, the most recent project, Dakota Natural Meats, hasn't really launched. If the Daugaard Administration means what it says in its furious backpedaling, we won't see any more EB-5 action to promote that project.

These Web details are small potatoes to the other shoes still to drop from this octopus. Joop Bollen probably has bigger things to worry about than what his mostly defunct website says about his practically defunct company. But I'd hate for our Chinese readers to be Baidu-ing around for info on EB-5 visas and be steered the wrong direction by SDRC... again.

And as an international courtesy for our Chinese readers (via Google Translate): 但我恨不恨我们的中国读者,是百度的EB-5签证信息,并转向了错误的方向,由国家发改委...再次。(Full post in Chinese here.)

For our Korean friends: 하지만 EB-5 비자에 대한 정보에 대한 주위 바이두-ING 할 우리의 중국어 독자 싫어하고 SDRC가 잘못된 방향으로 이끌 수 ... 다시. (Full post in Korean here.)