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Attorney General’s Office Knew About Bollen’s Illegal Actions in February 2009

We have probable cause, based on documentary evidence, that Joop Bollen committed a variety of crimes when he contracted the duties of his state job out to his own private company. Why hasn't the South Dakota Attorney General taken any action on these crimes?

The AG's office certainly can't claim ignorance; they've known about Bollen's questionable dealings since at least February 2009.

In January 2009, Northern State University and the Board of Regents learned that Bollen had gotten the state's International Business Institute sued by Darley International of California. The Regents immediately hired James Lynch of Garcia Calderón Ruíz from San Diego to get the Regents out of the arbitration that Bollen's concealment and bad lawyering had gotten the state into.

In an invoice dated March 30, 2009, Lynch charged the state $10,921.11 for work done on Darley International v. SDIBI. Lynch kindly itemized his 36.3 hours of labor that month. This excerpt (with my annotations) shows his first actions on behalf of the state:

James Lynch, Garcia Calderón Ruíz law firm, invoice 2335, 2009.03.30, excerpt. (Click to enlarge.)
James Lynch, Garcia Calderón Ruíz law firm, invoice 2335, 2009.03.30, excerpt. (Click to enlarge.)

On February 4, 2009, Lynch included "J. Hallem" on correspondence about rules and arguments he was researching for the state's defense. On February 5, he contacted J. Hallem to discuss an oath (probably the oath required to make him a special assistant attorney to represent the state in court) and other documents.

J. Hallem is Jeffrey Hallem, assistant attorney general, a "top member" of the attorney general's office in 2009 under Larry Long and now under Marty Jackley.

Lynch mentions Hallem's name 101 times in 16 GCR invoices from February 2009 to June 2010. The Attorney General's office was thus closely involved in reviewing the actions of Joop Bollen in running SDIBI and in forming his own private company to take over the duties (not to mention the profit-making opportunities) on which Darley thought it had dibs.

Hallem and the Attorney General's office thus would have known from February 2009, while Bollen was still an employee of the state, that Bollen was breaking laws. That knowledge would have passed to the new Attorney General, Mike Rounds's appointee Marty Jackley, on September 9, 2009, when AG Jackley had to renew Lynch's appointment as special assistant attorney general:

James Lynch, Garcia Calderon Ruiz law firm, invoice #2885, 2009.10.15, clip. (Click to enlarge.)
James Lynch, Garcia Calderon Ruiz law firm, invoice #2885, 2009.10.15, clip. (Click to enlarge.)

The South Dakota Attorney General's office has known for five and a half years that state employee Joop Bollen abused his position, broke rules, and exposed South Dakota to legal liability in his quest to enrich himself. Yet the Attorney General's office has not arrested or prosecuted Joop Bollen.

Why not?

* * *

Related Reading: During yesterday's readers theater at the Government Operations and Audit Committee meeting in Pierre, Rep. Mark Mickelson (R-13/Sioux Falls) showed similar signs of struggling to come to grips with reality:

"There are two things I think bother us," said Rep. Mark Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls. "The first is the appearance that (former Cabinet secretary Richard) Benda would have used his state position to procure employment. ... The other thing that happened is this contract ... that Joop Bollen may have signed with himself" [David Montgomery, "Stymied, Lawmakers Could Subpoena EB-5 Chief Bollen," that Sioux Falls paper, 2014.09.25].

May have signed? Rep. Mickelson, please review the January 2008 SDIBI-SDRC contract, which Joop Bollen really did sign. Really.


  1. 96Tears 2014.09.25

    Attorney General Larry Long proved his flexibility to cover the ass of aspiring GOP candidates for U.S. Senate.

    Little wonder he'd oversee another train wreck with Rounds/Benda/Bollen.

    Apparently, Mike Rounds handpicked successor to Long would display even more flexibility covering up lawlessness in the Rounds administration. There is a legacy of this kind of activity between the 2nd and 1st Floors of the State Capitol.

  2. Jane Smith 2014.09.25

    Are these people actually sworn into office, or do they just confirm in a letter. Ths is blatten disregard to protect and to serve the public of SD. It is no wonder people have such disdain for government. Look at how the local goverment is run. What an embarrasing shame.

  3. PNR 2014.09.25

    The two things that bother Mickelson are the two things that bother me about it all, too - Bollen being able to sign a contract with himself while a government employee, and Benda using his acts as a government employee to leverage a private sector job.

    There is some dispute as to whether or not the first is in fact a crime in SD. If it isn't, it ought to be. Same goes for the second. Yet neither the evidence nor circumstances surrounding these two credibly implicates Gov. Rounds.

    I'm all for getting to the bottom of how state employees were able to pull this stuff off and making sure it is harder to do so a second time. I'd even get behind giving Bollen a day or two or three in court to explain himself with a threat of significant fines and/or jail time looming over him if that explanation doesn't satisfy. But there's nothing in that paper trail that gets us to Rounds. It kind of stops at Benda and Bollen.

    Which kind of makes sense - at least, if I were in Benda's place, I would not want my boss to know I was scheming to bilk his company (or administration, in this case) out of half a million while landing myself a fairly cushy job in a different firm.

  4. Rorschach 2014.09.25

    Isn't Mark Mickelson a star? As soon as the election is over Matt Michels should resign as Lt. Gov. and Mark Mickelson should be appointed! Can I hear an amen, Republicans?

    And I wonder if Brendan Johnson will be the next Attorney General of the United States now that Eric Holder has resigned? As the War College has noted he sold his house, and hasn't bought another one in Sioux Falls.

  5. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.25

    You can't find an obvious link to Rounds from yesterday's lack of legitimate testimony because Tidemann has shutdown the information source.
    If you noticed, Rounds' answer were basically political and evasive, even though they were basically softball questions.
    Daugaard didn't add anything to the discussion either.
    What republicans should be asking is why Tidemann refusing to investigate and not subpoenaing the major players?

  6. Tim 2014.09.25

    RC, they don't want the truth, they are just doing enough to keep their own asses out of hot water. The whole political system here makes my stomach turn.

  7. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.25

    This damning to Rounds either way, if he didn't know about Bollen's legal problems and the attorney general's office involved, why not?
    I suspect that there is some communication somewhere that was directed to the governor's office, there has to be a paper trail.

  8. Curt 2014.09.25

    Does anyone recall what the 'G' in GOED stands for?

  9. mike from iowa 2014.09.25

    Remember the old how many rethugs does it take to change a light bulb in Raygun's administration? None-they wanted to keep Ronnie in the dark. Sounds like it happened in South Dakota with Rounds.

  10. jerry 2014.09.25

    Roger, did you ever consider that Tidemann is involved with this as well? He was there during all of this scandal, so why would he be clean? He is doing his damndest to run out the clock while looking like he is doing something.

  11. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.25

    Yeah Jerry, I did consider Tidemann' involvement in not just the cover up and stonewalling, but in the whole GOED scam.
    It would be interesting to see his campaign finance reports as well and have personal finances subpoenaed.
    I continually keep my eye on how EB-5 maybe used in campaign financing.
    $140 million is a lot of scratch to spread around.

  12. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.25

    I just got around to reading an email I got from Senator Larry Lucas via the SDDP, what a really good read.

    Perhaps my talented and good friend can find it and share it on Madville.

  13. Bill Fleming 2014.09.25

    Smoking gun?

  14. jerry 2014.09.25

    A cool hundred plus million into the pockets of the criminal enterprise of Rounds, Bollen, Daugaard, Jackley, Chris Nelson, Larry Long and the rest of the crooks and liars. They were all in this ponzi scheme up to their beady little eyes. What an extraordinary report from Senator Lucas, well done sir. When does the cavalry arrive to save us from these organized bandits?

  15. lesliengland 2014.09.25

    why hasn't daugaard grabbed the reins since exposure to this mess and made sure prompt proper investigations have occurred on all fronts? A: he is a republican. If this is correct, Wismer should be our next governor.

  16. lesliengland 2014.09.25

    Or, A: daugaard knew of the disparities as lt. governor. Same result: Wismer should be our next governor.

  17. Roger Cornelius 2014.09.25

    Union Co.
    Thanks for posting the SDDP/Lucas link.

    I'm looking forward to reading the documents when the legislative research council posts them.

    These conservative republicans were spending state money faster than a kid in a candy store.

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