Last updated on 2013.12.16
Wait a minute. Let's read that again. How'd Governor Rounds's one-million-dollar lame-duck Future Fund grant get from Pierre to Aberdeen?
[Northern Beef Packers CEO David] Palmer sent an email to [state economic development chief Richard] Benda on Jan. 5, 2011, requesting payment. The email was accompanied by bank statements, canceled checks and evidence of wire transfers totaling more than $1 million for construction and equipment.
The next day Benda submitted the paperwork for the payment to be made, according to Tony Venhuizen, a spokesman for Gov. Daugaard.
“At that time, Benda requested that the state auditor issue a paper check and deliver it to him at GOED,” Venhuizen said.
Daugaard took office on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011. Benda picked up the check at GOED on or about Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011, for hand-delivery to Northern Beef, according to Venhuizen [Bob Mercer, "Missing $550,000 Used to Pay Benda," Aberdeen American News, 2013.12.13].
The state disburses one million dollars. It hands a paper check to a civilian, someone no longer on the state payroll, to privately hand-deliver to the recipient, who then gets shaken down by that unofficial courier's private employer for an immediate $550,000 payback.
What kind of state government lets that happen?