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Bollen Agrees with Me: Investors Get Better Deal from State-Run EB-5 Program

This morning I explained how Mike Rounds gave up the competitive advantage South Dakota's EB-5 program when he let Joop Bollen privatize his state job.

Funny thing is, as Sibby discovered last October, Joop Bollen agrees with me completely. Or so he told potential investors when he still worked for the state:

South Dakotaʼs Regional Center is truly a state government run regional center where economic development is the reward and not profit for company which manages the regional center!!

...unlike a privately managed program where the company can call it quits and disappear overnight, I can assure you that the State of South Dakota is here to stay!! [Joop Bollen, open letter to potential EB-5 investors, South Dakota International Business Institute, circa 2004–2009]

Don't take my word for it; listen to Mike's man Joop: South Dakota was better off when it directly managed EB-5 investment.


  1. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.17

    I remember that telling little nugget,

    Am wondering what Mike Rounds thought of it "when he didn't" read it.

  2. larry kurtz 2014.09.17

    theft by deception, wire fraud, obstruction of justice... what am i missing?

  3. Bill Fleming 2014.09.17

    Ok...maybe the Bollen pitch is really old. I don't see a date on it. Only a mention of "20 projects completed so far." When would that have been? And to Cory's point, how much revenue did the state realize from those deals?

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.09.17

    Good question, Bill. I am bugged that we don't have a clear date on any of the online manifestations of Bollen's letter. But consider: on July 31, 2008, SDIBI submitted this list of EB-5 projects, capital, and direct jobs created in South Dakota. It's the same list NSU interim president Laurie Stenberg Nichols submitted to GOAC in September 2008. It lists 18 projects: 16 dairies (including Veblen East, which went bankrupt two years later), Newark Veal Inc. (in Corsica?), and Northern Beef Packers, which was still four years from operational completion.

    I would say that if we take that "20" seriously, we can pin this letter down to 2008 or later... the same period during which Rounds himself has said privatization was in the chute.

  5. Jane Smith 2014.09.17

    Oh yes he did say it...."state government run program" wherein he sold state position and authority as part of the pitch. Mr. Master word mincer Joopster's sourced from you, how are you going to recant this in your GOAC response? Backpedal all you can,,,keep trying,,,

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.09.18

    Larry, I'm not convinced those anonymous bloggers are adding to our understanding.

  7. Rorschach 2014.09.18

    Can't you just picture the wheels spinning in the Joopster's head as he's saying those words above? At that point he knew the profit potential for a privately operated regional center, and he wanted in.

    Mike Rounds not only turned over those immense profits to the Joopster, he paid the Joopster $45,000/year to take the immense profits away from the state. And if that weren't enough, Rounds sweetened the pot by making the immense profits tax free! No bank franchise tax. And if that weren't enough, Rounds promised that the Joopster would face no regulation from the state. Immunity from prosecution for taking the state's business records. Complete hands-off approach as the Joopster used SD as home base for fleecing millions from unsuspecting people. And if that weren't enough, Rounds gave millions in corporate welfare directly to the Joopster's EB-5 projects including $1 million in his last month in office.

    Say, how much did the Joopster pay Mike Rounds after Rounds left office?

  8. Douglas Wiken 2014.09.18

    South Dakota was ready to turn over a profitable activity to an unknown company with an unknown name without checking for corporate partners, employees, etc? If that is Rounds case, it sounds a lot like malfeasance to me.

  9. SLynn 2014.09.19

    Wrongful conduct by a public official
    A failure to act when under an obligation to do so; a refusal (without sufficient excuse) to do that which it is your legal duty to do

    I think the evidence is sufficient to prove malfeasance. By his own words, in my opinion, Rounds has admitted to nonfeasance. In either case, he is unfit to serve in the US Senate.

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