A mystery woman appears in the EB-5 scandal. Her name is Brick. Cherri Brick.
Brick was Joop Bollen's secretary at the South Dakota International Business Institute. In March 2009, right next to declarations from her boss, from the Regents' counsel and Regents' exec, and the attorney general himself, Brick had to file a declaration as part of the Regents' effort to pull its fat out the litigatory fire into which Bollen had gotten them in Darley v SDIBI.
Brick's succinct declaration remarkably alleges that someone forged her name on a proof of service:
I have reviewed a proof of service that was filed in the above-captioned action on September 30, 2008. It appears as Page 2 of 3 on Document 13 of the Court's electronically-filed documents. The document contains two typewritten misspellings of my name as "Cherry" Brick and even contains a signature that appears to misspell my first name. The signature is not mine. I never saw or signed this document, nor did I ever serve the documents refrenced therein. I did not authorize any person to sign this document in my name [Cherri Brick, declaration, Darley v SDIBI, 2009.03.20].
It's Cherri, with an i. Get it right.
Brick's statement was an important brick in the Regents' main defense against Darley's lawsuit, that Darley had failed to serve the proper authorities (i.e., Attorney General Larry Long and Governor Mike Rounds), thus mootifying their whole suit.
Brick cleared her head with a few long bike rides and went quietly back to work. She kept answering the mail and the phones at SDIBI, even after her boss quit on December 21, 2009, and even after the Regents axed the SDIBI director position from its budget in 2010.
Then in February 2011, she quits. According to an invoice submitted by Garcia Calderón Ruíz on March 3, 2011, Brick resigned to go work for Bollen at SDRC Inc., the private company Bollen formed to turn his state duties into a profit center and to shield himself from suits like Darley's over the state's EB-5 program.
Brick's job change was apparently significant enough to draw attention from the Regents' hired California lawyer James Lynch, Northern State attorney John Meyer, Regents' chief counsel James Shekleton, and Governor's Office of Economic Development attorney Tim Engel. They discussed Brick's job change in March, too, trying to figure out "possible reasons" for her resignation.
The GCR invoices do not indicate what reasons the lawyers might have divined for Brick's jump to Bollen's ship.
But consider this: in June and July 2010, GCR invoices show that Lynch and Engel were discussing GOED Secretary Richard Benda's availability for the pending arbitration. Six months later, in January 2011, Benda had engineered his exit to Bollen's SDRC Inc., with $550,000 in hand from Governor Mike Rounds's Future Fund Grant #1434. $450,000 covered his salary as "loan monitor" at SDRC Inc. As far as I know, the remaining $100,000 has not been accounted for.
But then in February 2011, Cherri Brick walked back in Joop Bollen's door. Along with Benda, she was now out from under the state's authority and directly financially obligated to the man most interested in keeping everything EB-5 quiet.