"We're debt-free!" shouts Dakota Turkey Growers. According to a press release processed by the Huron Plainsman today, the Huron turkey plant has paid off the loan it received in 2009. That loan was $55 million dollars from 110 foreign investors seeking EB-5 visas.

Dakota Turkey Growers eagerly celebrates the EB-5 program:

According to Dakota Turkey Growers officials, the Federal EB-5 Program was instrumental in helping it grow a profitable business, which currently provides direct jobs to over 800 workers in Huron.

The officials went on to say that the availability of EB-5 funds was pivotal in Dakota Turkey Growers’ operations and success and that former Governor Mike Rounds was also very supportive of and assisted in the start-up of Dakota Turkey Growers [staff report, "Dakota Turkey Growers Fulfills Federal EB-5 Obligation in Full," Huron Plainsman, 2014.10.31].

Worth noting: Jeff Sveen, who has served as chairman of the board and corporate agent for Dakota Turkey Growers, has contributed $3,000 to the Rounds for Senate campaign. Brenda Rutledge, who I'm going to take a wild guess and say is the wife of Dakota Provisions (corporate names are fluid here) CEO Kenneth Rutledge, has given Rounds for Senate another $1,000.

Remember that EB-5 money is supposed to create jobs. We learned last fall that this big EB-5 loan did no such thing; it simply replaced debt that Dakota Provisions had already used to build and start its Huron turkey plant.

South Dakota's EB-5 impresario Joop Bollen was working on this EB-5 deal for Jeff Sveen and his turkey plant friends in 2008. In a February 6, 2008, e-mail to Chinese EB-5 recruiter Linda He, Bollen explained why Dakota Provisions was a guaranteed win for EB-5 applicants:

The most important issue, I believe, is that this project is already in operation and therefore all the start-up cost and risks are gone [Joop Bollen, e-mail to Linda He, 2008.02.06].

Hold on there—EB-5 recruiters aren't supposed to guarantee returns. EB-5 investments are supposed to be at risk.

Yet Bollen affirms that EB-5 investors can't lose money, because the Hutterite owners have tons of money to protect the project:

Frank [Lin, EB-5 recruiter] also might have explained that the turkey plant is owned by 40 plus Hutterite colonies which have very deep pockets and would never let this plant go as their turkey industry would be in deep trouble if they loose [sic] the plant. The colonies would commit financial suicide for their turkey growers if the plant were lost [Bollen to He, 2008.02.06].

Bollen adds this assertion of solid business performance:

Additionally it is important to realize that the project is currently being financed by US Banks which are very happy with the performance of the project [Bollen to He, 2008.02.06].

Put the Hutterite and bank comments together. Bollen is telling his recruiter that the plant is running fine and that it has a huge capital reserve to draw on to deal with any problems. Bollen is essentially saying that Dakota Provisions was doing just fine and was on course to create jobs without any EB-5 money. Like so much else about the Bollen-Rounds EB-5 program, this claim of solvency, along with the darn-near guarantee, sounds fishy.

And fishmonger Bollen knew he had to be careful with what he said about Dakota Provisions. Consider this response to a question from recruiter He's question about obtaining a third-party guarantee on the investments:

The project already would be collateralized mcuh more than what is demanded by commercial banks and therefore it would be somewhat insulting to request this from the plant, not to mention US immigration law which might frown on the guarantee! As you might recall, the EB-5 monies have to be at risk and a guarantee might raise a serious red flag [Bollen to He, 2008.02.06].

Bollen even says in so many words that they shouldn't spread their plan around in too much detail to U.S. observers:

In fact, I am somewhat concerned that those banks might become quite upset once they their [sic] loans are being replaced with EB-5 monies (We should keep this fact somewhat confidential from a US perspective).... In addition, the State of South Dakota also lent $3,000,000 which they would not have done unless the loan officers felt comfortable [Bollen to He, 2008.02.06].

The money local banks lost in this EB-5 loan replacement also meant revenue lost by the State of South Dakota, since Bollen's EB-5 shadow corporation, SDRC Inc., paid no bank franchise tax on the EB-5 loans it arranged.

So yes, congratulations, Dakota Turkey Growers on exploiting a federal visa investment program you didn't really need, whose conditions for new job creation you didn't really fulfill, and which you are now inflating into fabricated cover for your favored political candidate, Mike Rounds, from the monkeyshines Joop Bollen used to line his pockets and the pockets of Mike Rounds's friends.

33 comments

Dakota War College lurches toward the weekend seeing two of its favorite Republican legislators losing Republican endorsements to their Democratic counterparts. Three high-profile former Republican legislators are endorsing District 10 Senate Democratic candidate Michael Schultz over DWC pin-up Rep. Jenna Haggar. Schultz's résumé is far deeper than Haggar's, including his time as mayor of Brandon. And the three Republicans picking his experience over Haggar's conservative cheerleader act are no lightweights: they are former Sioux Falls mayor Dave Munson, former U.S. Marshall and South Dakota Highway Patrol chief Gene Abdallah, and former teacher and principal Jan Nicolay. Munson, Nicolay, and Abdallah each represented Haggar's district in Pierre, and they say Schultz represents the "Strong—Stable—Effective" choice for District 10 today.

I reported last night that District 16 Senate Democratic candidate Ann Tornberg is posting endorsements from registered Republicans and high-profile Dakota Dunes neighbors of GOP Senator Dan Lederman. And hey, this morning, here come two more!

Friebergs for Tornberg 20141031

Wow—add to those endorsements to West River Republican Pat Trask's repudiation of Mike Rounds this week, and could we be seeing a trend of Republicans trading the Powers/Wadhams-style politics for smart, qualified candidates and good government?

3 comments

Rep. Kathy Tyler expands on my voting guide theme of electing Democrats to check one-party rule by explaining one of the greatest harms of letting Republicans run the Legislature: the unnecessary damage done to education. Rep. Tyler says that in her first term representing District 4, she has seen South Dakota has the wealth to improve education funding, but Republicans lack the courage to make that investment. She calls on us teachers to change that system:

We have a one party system in our state. That party does not put education as a priority. Candidates claim to be pro education, but their votes don’t show it. Many of their votes are ruled by the party. Quote by a Republican after a very ‘political’ day:  “You (the Democrats) can vote the way you want. We can’t always do that.”

You, as educators, have the power to change the state’s priorities—to put education where it belongs.  I realize that some may be happy with the status quo—you are close to retirement, you aren’t trying to support a family on your teaching income, you have a second job, you love your job and would work for any wage.  But think about the future of education in South Dakota; think about the teacher-less classrooms of the future; think about your children or grandchildren and their quality of education.

You can change the way South Dakota treats education and educators by your vote on Tuesday. Your vote for a new governor and Democrat legislators—a vote to get South Dakota back to a two party system and a vote for legislators who can and will prioritize education–is the start [Rep. Kathy Tyler, "A Letter to South Dakota Educators," Kathy's Corner, 2014.10.30].

Teachers, Indians, women—South Dakota needs all of you. Grab two friends, go vote now, and we can win.

3 comments

South Dakota Magazine continues to live dangerously, allowing me to grace its genteel online pages with my political polemics. This week I offer my Leftist voting guide for the 2014 general election.

On candidates, I offer one simple criterion: check the one-party regime in Pierre by electing qualified alternatives to Republicans wherever possible. No surprise there. I offer a few more specifics about the application of that criterion in South Dakota Magazine.

On the three ballot measures, I offer the following advice:

Initiated Measure 17, requiring health insurers to include any willing and qualified provider in their networks: Opponents have characterized IM 17 as “another mandate with more government control over health care.” However, IM 17 doesn't lay a mandate on anyone other than insurers, who have to accept any physician who meets their standards into their networks. You, Mr. and Ms. South Dakota, get more control over which doctor you see. IM 17 may save you money and a trip to Sioux Falls. Vote YES.

Initiated Measure 18, raising South Dakota's minimum wage: The labor and liberty of even the lowest-skilled worker is worth more than $7.25 an hour. Be moral, help workers pay their bills, and stimulate the economy. Vote YES.

Amendment Q, allowing roulette, keno, and craps in Deadwood: No part of a noble constitution should include the word crap. Schoolkids will giggle. Besides, I hear the  high-rollers from Asia want to play baccarat. Send this amendment back to the drafters and demand an amendment giving this picayune authority to the Legislature. Vote NO [Cory Allen Heidelberger, "The Leftist's Guide to Election 2014," South Dakota Magazine, 2014.10.29].

I'm not convinced liberty hangs in the balance on Amendment Q. But the other issues and candidates on the ballot offer you real chances to improve economic security, liberty, and governmental integrity for lots of South Dakotans.

22 comments

Susan Wismer is making her final campaign pilgrimage around the state this weekend, including  a 2 p.m. stop today at Dem headquarters in Madison. She ought to play this Joan Jett Get-Out-The-Lady-Vote video at every stop, really loud:

In his Thinking Unenslaved reboot podcast Wednesday night, Jered Dawnne and I discussed how being a Democrat and fighting for women's rights can get one a bad reputation in South Dakota. Democrats, feminists, and other believers in equality and liberty need to get our Jett (and our Tyler, and our Page, and our Weiland) on and not give a damn. Go, fight, vote!

5 comments

I wasted a few minutes of my life last night listening to angry little Chad Haber insult about our soon-to-be-reëlected Attorney General Marty Jackley. In his recorded interview with SDPB, the Libertarian poseur defined irony by fretting that the purpose of the law is to "catch fraudulent snake-oil salesmen." Our neighbors who had to get the Attorney General to help them get refunds on fake raffle tickets that Haber sold them could tell us a bit about the snake oil Chad Haber sells.

Haber also made this galling statement: "Marty Jackley is a terrorist.... Stop the terrorism: vote for me."

Terrorist... as in using intimidation tactics to get what one wants? Is that like getting nose-to-nose with someone, pretending to know some deep dark secret about one's childhood, and then delivering an f-bomb laced threat?

Is that like using Senate campaign funds to create a video attacking a blogger who investigates your antics and issues a legal challenge of nominating petitions on which you and your wife Annette Bosworth committed perjury?

Is that like coaxing a $200K loan from a friend, then lawyering up to make it too costly for her to fight for her rightful repayment?

Or is that like this picture:

Chad Haber and Oscar Batiz, fall 2014

Chad Haber and Oscar Batiz, fall 2014

That's Chad Haber with local musician Oscar Batiz. Oscar is the former husband of LeAnn Batiz, one of the former employees whom Haber and Bosworth stiffed and attacked in the media. LeAnn divorced Oscar. LeAnn tells me Oscar isn't pleased with being divorced.

LeAnn tells me the truck in the photo is hers. She took it in for repairs last month. Oscar dropped by the shop before she returned and took the truck. Oscar sent LeAnn this grinning photo with the following caption:

Turns out you may be Getting reaquainted [sic] With an old friend since you will be spending time in the same place. wanna know more? call... [Oscar Batiz, text to LeAnn Batiz, fall 2014].

Unlike Chad Haber, I prefer not to get involved in divorces. I will only look at the photo and the text presented and suggest that the threatening, intimidating tone is pretty clear.

Unlike Chad Haber, I don't view words as mere tools that I can make to mean whatever I want to serve my immediate desires. Terrorist overstates Chad's manic attempts to bully others, just as it overstates any of AG Jackley's various sins in office.

But while Chad wheezes "Terrorist!" at the South Dakota Attorney General, he uses his own cheap intimidation tactics against anyone he sees fit. One can only imagine what Haber would do with the power the Attorney General if South Dakotans were foolish enough to vote him into that office.

Related: Chad Haber stands in violation of campaign finance law. As of close of business Thursday, the Secretary of State's office still had no pre-general campaign finance report on file for Haber's AG campaign. Pre-generals were due in Secretary Gant's office last Friday, October 24. Haber faces a Class 1 misdemeanor and $50-per-day late penalty. No wonder Haber lives in terror: he keeps doing dumb things could land him in jail (Class 1 misdemeanor can draw a year in the county jail and a $2,000 fine.)

26 comments

Legislator-in-waiting Lee Schoenbeck gets to shout "Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!" in my ear all night.

On Sunday, the Aberdeen American News ran an article headlined, "Secretary of State: Elliott Residency Valid." Elisa Sand's article said that Secretary of State Jason Gant found no violation in Democrat Burt Elliott's use of an Aberdeen address for his voter registration and District 3 House nominating petition. Republicans hollered that that headline was misleading; I defended the headline.

Mr. Schoenbeck, who is keenly interested in keeping Elliott from taking a seat in his House, sends me a link to this correction from the Aberdeen American News:

Headline wrong: South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant said District 3 House candidate Burt Elliott’s election petition met all requirements for Elliott to run in the district. The headline suggested Gant could determine the validity of Elliott’s residency, when it should have referred to his petition.

We regret the error ["Setting It Straight," Aberdeen American News, 2014.10.29].

As I said in an e-mail to Mr. Schoenbeck, Arrgghh!

I think the Aberdeen paper caved too easily... but the Aberdeen paper has called it, and I cede the point. The headline should have read, "Secretary of State: Elliott Residency Valid for Nominating Petition."

My friend Elisa Sand should now follow up with an in-depth analysis of the Schoenbeck argument, the Heinemeyer precedent, and the implications for South Dakota's thousands of RV voters.

18 comments

The South Dakota Board of Regents has declined to release further documents pertaining to the EB-5-related Darley v. SDIBI litigation. At least one apologist has suggested that the Regents' and even Mike Rounds's opaqueness on EB-5 is wise, given that the state has been pursuing pursuing legal fees from California company Darley International.

That excuse is now gone. California arbitrator Robert A. Baines issued his final ruling today and followed through with what he suggested pretty clearly in his initial ruling on October 7: nobody gets anything, so go home.

Judge Baines does declare the Regents, here in the guise of the South Dakota International Business Institute that ran EB-5 technically under Regental aegis from 2004 to 2009, and SDIBI partner Hanul Professional Law Corporation the prevailing parties. The Regents got out of several million dollars in damages, while Darley merely escaped SDIBI's and Hanul's "modest" defensive counter-claims. But Baines declines to reward the prevailers any legal fees, based on actions by Hanul and the Regents that "unduly protracted" the litigation:

Once SDIBI's two-year efffort to avoid participation in this arbitration proved unsuccessful, both Hanul and SDIBI devoted significant time and effort attempting to avoid a hearing on the merits, including seeking to revisit the issue of SDIBI's involvement in the Agreement and raising a disfavored plea in abatement, i.e., Darley's temporary loss of its corporate powers. As noted in the undersigned's Order Regarding Request to Dismiss, dated December 4, 2013, there is a "strong public policy disfavoring pleas in abatement," and this issue could have been waived by Hanul and SDIBI if they truly were desirous of concluding this matter expeditiously.... Further, Hanul's unseemly effort to prevent Darley's corporate reinstatement in California (by reserving with the Secretary of State the very corporate name that Darley had already selected) was indicative of Respondents' tactics in this matter.

Also, certain of the defenses raised by the Board of Regents unduly protracted this matter. For example, despite the rulings of the Los Angeles Superior Court, the Board of Regents continued to claim that it (and NSU) essentially were unaware of SDIBI's acivities, and thus could not be held liable for SDIBI's actions. However, the evidence revealed that NSU was well aware of SDIBI's EB-5 operations and of the Hanul law firm's involvement at the forefront of those operations. For example, the President of NSU signed annual or semi-annual contracts with the Governor's Office for the running of SDIBI, and these contracts described SDIBI's activities, including its employment of the Hanul law firm: "SDIBI will continue to work exclusively with Hanul Professional Law Corporation for submission of the I-526 petitions and management of the regional center;" "SDIBI will identify additional relationships in South America for dairy projects and additional relationships in China for better foreign investor recruitment. This work will be done by Hanul;" and "SDIBI, with Hanul, will further develop a website to recruit investors worldwide for our EB-5 projects" [Judge Robert A. Baines, Final Award, JAMS Arbitration Case #1100054680, 2014.10.30, p. 24].

Judge Baines concludes that Hanul and the Regents "should not be rewarded for their conduct, both in the underlying transaction" (letting SDIBI director Joop Bollen essentially write his own ticket, usurp the NSU president's contract authority, and conceal his activities with Hanul) "and in this arbitration proceeding."

Judge Baines doesn't go here, but I would suggest that his incredulity at the Regents' claims of ignorance of SDIBI's EB-5 activities could apply as forcefully to then-Govenror Mike Rounds's claims of ignorance of what was happening in his own EB-5 program. NSU President Patrick Schloss signed those SDIBI agreements; so did Jim Hagen, Marty Davis, and Richard Benda in the Governor's Office of Economic Development. The Governor's Office.

If the Governor's Office had been watching Joop Bollen's activities a little more closely, it might have avoided the whole Darley mess. The Regents might have avoided a half-million dollars in lawyer fees. And Mike Rounds definitely would have avoided having to avoid all these awkward questions about his incredible ignorance of what was happening in his EB-5 program.

9 comments

Recent Comments

  • caheidelberger on "Dakota Turkey Grower...": Ah, Brett, there's a tricky thing: Dakota Provisio...
  • leslie on "Dakota Turkey Grower...": cory, i saw somewhere EB5 now has financial people...
  • caheidelberger on "Dakota Turkey Grower...": Leslie, you're right. Did you catch Rick Weiland's...
  • leslie on "Dakota Turkey Grower...": rounds was heavily lobbying sd voters during weds ...
  • caheidelberger on "Dakota Turkey Grower...": Francis, you're right, it's very hard to prove. Th...
  • leslie on "Aberdeen Paper Conce...": i would guess after extensive, expensive litigatio...
  • leslie on "Aberdeen Paper Conce...": lee s. is just doing what every insider SDGOPer do...
  • Paul Seamans on "Dakota Turkey Grower...": Has TransCanada endorsed Mike Rounds yet for the E...
  • leslie on "Senator Johnson: Wei...": "Rounds' List of Lies" (c) grudznick 2014 1. W...
  • Francis Schaffer on "Dakota Turkey Grower...": Mike, thanks. That would be somewhat difficult to...

Support Your Local Blogger!

  • Click the Tip Jar to send your donation to the Madville Times via PayPal, and support local alternative news and commentary!

Hot off the Press

Subscribe

Enter your email to subscribe to future updates

South Dakota Political Blogs

Greater SD Blogosphere

Visit These Sponsors

Vote for Robin Page—District 33 Senate
Mike Myers, Independent Candidate for South Dakota Governor
Conversation and Lunch with Democrats!
Join Stan Adelstein's conversation about South Dakota's past and future

SD Mostly Political Blogroll

South Dakota Media

Madville Monthly

Meta