Let me try to keep things simple and break Rep. Kathy Tyler's Monday exposé on Joop Bollen and Mike Rounds down into what we already know and what new information Rep. Tyler added.
Per my March report, we already knew that Joop Bollen had basically signed a contract with himself, between the South Dakota International Business Institute, which he ran for the state on the Northern State University campus, and SDRC Inc., which he owned and incorporated just days before signing the SDIBI-SDRC Inc. contract. I called this deal a creative legal fiction; Rep. Tyler calls it a deal "between a man and his mirror."
The new dot that Rep. Tyler connects is the South Dakota Board of Regents Fraud Policy (4:37). SDIBI director Bollen worked for the Board of Regents from 1994 through 2009. His job at SDIBI was to recruit EB-5 investors to promote economic development in South Dakota (I know, that job doesn't sound very Regental, but take that up with the state). Rep. Tyler contends that Bollen violated the BOR fraud policy by setting up a private corporation to receive a revenue stream (possibly worth more than $140 million) from EB-5 investors that rightly should have flowed to state coffers.
Bollen's revenue diversion appears to violate 4:37:1.A.1.a—"Intentional or deliberate act to deprive the State of South Dakota, the Board, any of the institutions governed by it or any affiliated organizations or students of something of value...."
Bollen's contract with himself (he had James Park of SDIBI collaborator Hanul Professional Law Corporation sign on behalf of SDRC Inc. to avoid the patent silliness of placing Bollen's names on both lines) appears to violate 4:37:1.A.1.b—"Deception, false representation of fact by either conduct or other communication, or concealing what should have been disclosed, or made when the actor knew or should have known that the other party relied upon his or her representations, leading to injury of the State of South Dakota, the Board, any of the institutions governed by it or any affiliated organizations or students."
Rep. Tyler did not go here, but I suggest this indictment of Bollen should include SDBOR Policy 4:35, the conflict-of-interest policy. Every Regental employee knows and signs off on this policy, which states that Regental employees cannot work full-time for anyone else and "should avoid entering into outside employments, occupations or endeavors for profit of any kind that may reasonably be thought to influence the decisions that they make in their capacity as Board employee."
We could even get intellectual and argue that system of loans and fees Bollen imposed on EB-5 investors was intellectual property rightly belonging to the Board of Regents. Depriving his employer of the profits from that fee structure could be a violation of BOR Policy 4:34, the Intellectual Property policy... but holy cow, how hard do we want to work here?
However many Board of Regents policies Bollen violated, he committed these violations for almost two years, from January 3, 2008, the date that he signed his articles of incorporation for SDRC Inc., to December 21, 2009, the day he quit his SDIBI job and violated other SDBOR policies by walking off with state files that did not belong to him.
Think of Bollen's violations this way: I was one of Bollen's fellow Regental employees in 2008 and 2009. Imagine that, as a teaching assistant, I had created a private company to recruit students to Dakota State University. Imagine I had charged them extra fees for worksheets and videos related to the courses the Regents paid me to teach. The Regents (not to mention the South Dakota blogosphere) would have gone ape over my obvious corruption, right?
So why didn't the Board of Regents ever do anything about Bollen's violations?
Consider that the president of the Board of Regents during this time was Harvey C. Jewett. Jewett was a partner in Siegel Barnett and Schutz, an Aberdeen law firm. Siegel Barnett and Schutz has represented Bollen and performed legal work for SDRC Inc. while Bollen was still a Regental employee under Jewett's authority.
Harvey C. Jewett is still a Regent. The Regents have yet to say boo about Bollen's exploitation of his Regental position to set himself up with what Rep. Tyler calls the moneymaking opportunity of a lifetime.
That's why Harvey C. Jewett makes Rep. Tyler's list of witnesses who should be subpoenaed to testify to the Legislature under oath about what they knew about Bollen's EB-5 activities and when they knew it.