Oh my. Did you see the EB-5 document Bob Mercer posted today?
Mercer reports this letter "was given" (Bob! Passive voice?! You're killing me!) "to EB-5 recruiters for South Dakota in August 2007 to be used in pursuing investors in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan." In the letter, the "State of South Dakota, its communities and citizens" (Crap! Now we're all complicit!) invites EB-5 investors to consider South Dakota. Signing the letter are Department of Tourism and State Development chief Richard Benda and South Dakota International Business Institute director Joop Bollen.
This letter problematizes Mike Rounds's effort to blame the Board of Regents, which nominally managed Bollen's SDIBI, and distance himself from the sins of his EB-5 program. Rounds made that case to Mercer himself last week. Now says Mercer:
The above letter seems to make clear that Bollen/SDIBI and Benda/GOED were working openly together on EB-5. The letter doesn’t refer to the Board of Regents. It talks about the State of South Dakota and refers to “loans/guarantees from the State” instead.
...This letter seems to indicate GOED and the Rounds administration were at least 50 percent involved — especially with the letter carrying Benda’s signature, and GOED’s letterhead bearing the marketing for Rounds’ 2010 initiative, and Benda identifying himself as “Cabinet Secretary to the Governor” [Bob Mercer, "Benda and Bollen Pursued China Investors in 2007," Pure Pierre Politics, 2014.10.06].
Mercer mentions California company Darley International's lawsuit against the SDIBI and Board of Regents. With respect to that lawsuit and the arbitration that is pending judgment before a California arbitrator right now, the August 2007 letter contains one damning sentence:
The South Dakota International Business Institute, in collaboration with Darley International LLC and Hanul Professional Law Corporation through the State's Regional Center, invites you to explore the EB-5 opportunities that currently exist [State of South Dakota, EB-5 recruitment letter, August 2007].
Darley sued in 2008 and 2009 to drag South Dakota (SDIBI, the Regents, whoever would answer the darn phone) into arbitration on the allegation that Bollen, through SDIBI, promised Darley a deal to act as South Dakota's EB-5 recruiter, then reneged and formed his own private company to slurp up the recruiting-fee gravy. Bollen's initial and ill-fated response, as well as the Regents's subsequent do-over defense, was that SDIBI had little if any formal relationship with Darley.
Yet here, in the August 2007 letter, two months before Darley had even signed its fateful recruiting contract with Hanul, Bollen and Benda declare that SDIBI and Darley are "in collaboration" on behalf of the State of South Dakota.
I don't know what the Regents told the arbitrator about SDIBI's relationship with Darley during the formal arbitration hearing last April, but I sure hope they didn't say they weren't collaborating.