What did they know and when did they know it? In the investigations of financial misconduct in the Governor's Office of Economic Development, we don't know much about the answer to the first question. Indications are that the feds are looking into dealings with the EB-5 visa funding used on Northern Beef Packers and perhaps other projects favored by the state with this easy loosely managed foreign capital.
Whatever there was for GOED officials and Governor Dennis Daugaard to know about financial misconduct, their official line is that they learned about the investigations in spring this year.
But the Governor's Office of Economic Development must have known something fishy was up well before that. On August 29, 2012, GOED imposed a "Deposit Account Control Agreement" on the South Dakota Regional Center, the private corporation to which the state granted a five-year contract to manage EB-5 visa recruitment and investment.
The "agreement" forbids SDRC director Joop Bollen or anyone else from directing the disposition of funds from two SDRC bank accounts without written permission from the GOED. In other words, Joop Bollen does not touch his corporation's money without GOED chief Pat Costello's say-so. The agreement also gives GOED complete access to all records relating to these two accounts at the Aberdeen Wells Fargo... which could mean that somewhere in GOED Commissioner Pat Costello's desk are some SDRC bank statements that ought to be public record.
For the state to impose that sort of control on a private contractor seems remarkable. It also seems a clear sign that back in August 2012, months before Governor Daugaard says he became away of investigations of financial misconduct in GOED, his lieutenants had sufficient concern about the financial conduct of Joop Bollen to justify taking control of SDRC's bank account.