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Collateral EB-5 Damage: Millner Still Cheating South Dakota of Taxes

In his embarrassing debate performance Saturday, GOP Senate candidate Marion Michael Rounds made the stretchy claim that South Dakota lost no taxpayer dollars on EB-5.

Maybe Rounds can semantically argue that selling green cards to rich foreign investors who then lose their socks on badly managed bankrupt projects doesn't directly deplete South Dakota's public coffers. But his EB-5 program has subsidized bad behavior that continues to cost taxpayers money.

Consider Richard Millner, the notorious dairy don who made $13.5 million in EB-5 investment disappear in the bankruptcy of his Veblen mega-dairies. After frittering away that subsidy, Millner maintained the wherewithal to acquire the Swier Dairy in Lake County, which received $1 million in EB-5 money to subsidize its startup. Since buying into the Ramona market, Millner has stiffed Lake County for thousands of dollars in property tax. He was behind on property taxes last year. A review of the Lake County tax database finds the same is true this year: Lake County Dairy owes Lake County about $12,000.

Millner has also let slip his business registration: according to the Secretary of State's corporate database, Millner has let the corporate registration for his Veblen bar, the Bull Pen, go delinquent. That's another $50 out of which Millner is cheating the state.

I'm sure $12K is small potatoes for Nine-Million-Dollar Man Mike Rounds. But it's $12K Millner owes the taxpayers on businesses that he has only because EB-5 subsidized his earlier failure.


  1. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.16

    Cory what about the property taxes that would have been paid by the NBP and the sales taxes that would have been paid by the workers there when they spent the wages that they no longer get? Isn't that what economic development is about? Isn't that the purpose of the EB-5 program, to create ten jobs for every 500k that comes from one of these foreign investors? Rounds claim that no tax money was lost is spurious.

  2. Disgusted Dakotan 2014.04.16

    I heard there were numerous TIFs that communities put up for these failed projects in which they ate those costs too.

    Rounds claimed that the EB5 was a great "success."

  3. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.16

    How could Rounds say there was no state money lost on Northern Beef Packers? Did he say it with a straight face?

    It was my understanding that the state granted the project an estimated $2-3 million.

    Didn't Benda personally carry a state check to Bollen and accomplices?

  4. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.16

    The Associated Press is reporting that the state provided $4.4 in Future Fund grants to NBP the state department revenue reports an additional $845,000 in construction tax refunds.
    Pounds lied at SDNA debate.

  5. Sandra Banish 2014.04.16

    All money comes from somewhere.
    It just doesn't appear for certain individuals, to use as they choose, when they are in charge of a business. There are responsibilities and contracts that creditors, vendors and employees are depending on. When individuals don't take any of those people into the equation and only concentrate on their individual needs, a business will not survive well. That is what happened to the past Veblen Dairies, which are bankrupt now. If a bussiness goes bankrupt, where does everyone thinks the money goes. Back to the EB-5 Money Bank for the next bussiness? Nope. It's gone.
    Bye, Bye, Money! All gone!
    Here comes unemployment and unpaid bills.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.16

    I don't think it was a straight face, Roger. I think it was that kindergarten-teacher smile he glues on his face throughout the debate in what he thinks projects an air of benevolent confidence.

  7. Jenny 2014.04.17

    Sleazy, Mike insurance salesman Rounds is totally shameless with his lying, and doing it with a straight face also. I guess when you have over a $200,000 salary coming in every year from selling over-priced insurance premiums and then sitting on the board of ITC (utilities company) for another $150,000, you don't have to worry about your EB 5 tax money disappearing. After all, that's what business is, a gamble, just like life insurance, huh Mike?

  8. Tara Volesky 2014.04.17

    Who are the leaders in SD in charge of the tea party or anti-establishment movement. Where are they and why aren't they speaking out against the corrupt Regime. Were they paid under the table to keep silent. Why aren't they supporting their conservative candidates? Where are these non-profit family value organizations that are against Common core and Obama care. Where are there endorsements for candidates like Lora Hubbel and Stace Nelson. Hypocrites. What about Pastor Hickey, come on Pastor you know Pierre is corrupt so who are you endorsing since it won't be Annette Bosworth. Please don't be part of the Good Old Boy Club. I hope you are a man of convictions and not party politics. I am just trying to ask some truthful questions. Thanks.

  9. Jenny 2014.04.17

    Maybe Mike the Knight Rounds got his insurance selling abilities from one of his Good ol' boy frat clubs - the Knights of Columbus. I 'bout spilled my morning coffee after reading the Knights of Columbus have issued over 90 billion in insurance policies. The Knights of Columbus call themselves a non-profit charitable organization but they have over 19 billion in assets.,0,2661267.story

  10. Nick Nemec 2014.04.17

    Rounds is not a KofC insurance agent.

  11. Nick Nemec 2014.04.17

    All insurance companies are required by law to retain assets to provide for payout of claims. Even though KofC Insurance is a non-profit it doesn't mean they can donate all of the premium payments for charity. Members pay those premiums to purchase insurance not to make a contribution. Since KofC is a non-profit the money that would otherwise be profit does in fact go to charitable use.

  12. Nick Nemec 2014.04.17

    No Jenny, KofC Insurance is required by law to have assets to pay off future claims, as is any insurance company. While KofC is a Catholic fraternal organization they are separate from and have no voice in the governing of the Church. They not responsible for the sexual misdeeds of any priest or the coverup perpetrated by any bishop or member of the curia.

  13. Jenny 2014.04.17

    Can the Kof C disown one of their own if he is accused and found in a court of law of sexual misconduct against a minor? How does that work then?

  14. Nick Nemec 2014.04.17

    Of course. But unless an organization, any organization, condones or covers up illegal activity they, as an organization, can't be held responsible for the actions of an individual who might be a member. Are you making an accusation against a particular member or asking a hypothetical question?

  15. Jenny 2014.04.17

    I live in MN and in case you haven't noticed, there is a huge Catholic church sex scandal going on in the courts now. Coverups, priests moved from church to church, victims coming forward, etc. MPR has had an exceptional, thorough investigation on it. I was just wondering what the K of C does after their own members have been found guilty.

  16. Nick Nemec 2014.04.17

    What should an organization do if one of their members is found guilty of some crime, and the organization had nothing to do with the crime prior to, during, or after the commission of the crime?

  17. Jenny 2014.04.17

    I think they should be banned, just like felons are banned from voting. You have to set a certain standard for a functional society.

  18. Sandra Banish 2014.04.17

    Speak up.
    Being quiet sometimes looks as support towards the member that commented a crime. Stand up against bullys.

  19. Jenny 2014.04.17

    Exactly Sandra, that's what I'm trying to get at. Set a standard for the children.

  20. Nick Nemec 2014.04.17

    You mean kicked out of the organization? I thought I already answered that four comments ago. Now if the guilty party has equity in a whole life insurance policy or some other financial instrument the fraternal organization can't just say tough luck, you were bad, we're keeping that equity. It is still an asset of the guilty person and would be subject to the courts ordering it to be paid out to settle damages or any other costs ordered by the courts.

  21. Nick Nemec 2014.04.17

    If some employee of, since you live in Minnesota, Mayo Clinic commits a crime unrelated to their employment at the Clinic you can't hold the Clinic liable. The Clinic may decide the crime is severe enough to terminate employment but the Clinic isn't liable for damages.

  22. Jenny 2014.04.17

    Are most priests members of the K of C?

  23. Sandra Banish 2014.04.17

    Of course the law would need to be followed. Reference to the clinical employees- a leave until trial and than termination if a guilty verdict is reached.
    With insurance- the policy probably would still be active , but the individual membership for activities (social events) could be ended. Each case would need to be address with the sensitivity to avoid a violation of the suspect's rights. Yes, they have rights. Because we can't end up to be bullies ourselves. It is not a clear cut issue.

  24. Nick Nemec 2014.04.17

    I don't have statistics on % of priests that are members, not all are but many are. The vast, vast majority of priests are innocent of any crime, some are, but most are not and they shouldn't be condemned as a group because of the actions of a few unless they are somehow participants in the crime or coverup.

    It's a bit like condemning all postal workers because years ago a few of them brought a gun to work and murdered some of their co-workers.

  25. Jenny 2014.04.17

    Not really because postal workers aren't a fraternal organization where women are excluded. I don't know what the statistics are as to the numbers of priests that are pedophiles, but I sure wouldn't believe the Catholic churches on stats. They protect their own.
    It's just human nature that people are going to question any institution that has hidden their crimes for decades (probably centuries).

  26. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.17

    As a former card carrying Catholic, who has had friends molested by priests and I being someone who was molested by an uncle when I was 5, I don't think that Catholic priests have the corner on being the only ones who have molested. Their transgressions have come out in the open more than a lot of the other pedophiles. I remember my Dad telling of a Coach in a public school who had molested teenagers. It is in the news constantly about people, children in daycare etc being molested. It is a sickness in our society.

    I went through a group session after I was divorced in my mid 50s, called Divorced, Widowed and Separated. After one of the sessions there were about 25 of us who had gone out for coffee. There were two young women in there late 20s, 4 men besides me, and the rest were women from 5 years younger to 5 years older than me. I was at a smaller table and mentioned the fact that I had been molested as child in talking to the folks at my table. One of the ladies asked if I would mind repeating that to the group. I did, and to my and all the guys and the two younger women's dismay, every other woman there had been molested by a male relative, a father, brother, uncle cousin and even one grandfather.

    Face it we are all broken people in some way. That is why tomorrow and this weekend for those who still go to church, and even for poor old corrupt people like me will seek to find some forgiveness for our part in that brokenness.

  27. Jenny 2014.04.17

    And then to pour salt on the wounds, the Catholic church is canonizing Pope John Paul II as he stood silent on the sex scandal. Don't tell me he didn't know a thing about it either. He was a very bright man, and couldn't have possibly NOT known cover ups were happening.

  28. Jenny 2014.04.17

    As a society we don't want to believe that that popular priest, coach, teacher, could do such a thing. When I was that younger Catholic girl (recovering Catholic now, as I like to say) I did think priests were just a bit odd, different.
    They smoked and drank a lot, and had strange demeanors.
    Now I realize they were broken human beings like you say, Lanny. It's the cover up that ticks me off more than anything. How could dioceses keep moving their pedophile priests from church to church and not think anything of it?

  29. Nick Nemec 2014.04.17

    I've seen a lot of threads get hijacked by an endless debate on abortion and have come to expect it every once in awhile but I sure didn't expect a thread on Rounds mismanagement of the EB-5 program to turn into a discussion on priest sex abuse.

  30. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.17

    Sorry Nick. I tried to end it but to no avail.

  31. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.17

    I'm as guilty as the next guy for sometimes hijacking a thread, but this has been pretty extreme.

    Mike Rounds blatantly lied to South Dakotans last weekend when he said taxpayers did not lose any money in GOED/NBP scandal, that is the story here.

    Rounds tells another whopper, his distorted theory is that since the packing plant is still in place and will some day up and running and profitable, the public did not lose any money.

    We have been misled about the amounts the state granted from Future Fund, the amounts had always been between to $2-$3 million, now we find out it is actually more like $4.4 million.

    Up to this point, I didn't hear about the $845,000 construction tax refund that was granted to NBP. What else is there that we haven't been told?

  32. Jenny 2014.04.17

    Hey, the abortion debate gets so old anyway! Sexual abuse rarely gets talked about, and as you can see here, people want to disregard it. Carry on anyway, guys.

  33. Roger Cornelius 2014.04.17

    Nobody is disregarding the abortion debate or priest abuse, how can we, it is out there.

    There are however more relatives forums for those discussions.

  34. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.17

    Doggone it Jenny, nobody is disregarding it, ignoring it or excusing those involved for doing it, as at least 3 of us have pointed out, but lets let that issue die and comment on the subject of this blog post.

  35. Les 2014.04.18

    My/our priest consistently expresses how we all are broken and if you think you're not, come back when you want something. Love, peace, comfort..... Even the drunk or drug addict are looking, they are better than sitting in the pew thinking you are above needing anything, not broken.
    That said, DD and MMR are broken and either realize it or not. Mike saying "SD didn't lose any money because of the 3Mil he says May have disappeared, much if not all of that came back through excise taxes, etc.." doesn't hold water and should be faced head on.
    I pay income tax but if I take from our Federal Gov, they don't say, well only judge Les on what he took over what he's paid in..
    The fiasco has cost at least one life we know of, probably more in the foreign countries where they may have lost all and taken their life as Benda supposedly did. I'm guessing if they did, there was no doubt or hiding the evidence as they probably still gripped the sword in their vitals and not an olive branch.

  36. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.18

    Les, You wrote, "The fiasco has cost at least one life we know of, probably more in the foreign countries where they may have lost all and taken their life as Benda supposedly did."

    That is a great point. Even if this fiasco, had not cost the State any money, as Mr Rounds falsely claims, the loss of a life, the scandal to the family as well as all the physical and emotional pain suffered by those involved is a very huge cost to pay for these doings.

  37. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.04.18

    Lanny, I've got to believe that a man doesn't shoot himself over nothing. Richard Benda thought is was a far graver scandal than Anne Beal does.

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