The South Dakota Board Regents refused to release the April 2014 deposition of Joop Bollen in the Darley v. SDIBI arbitration, not because they were bound by any judge's order or confidentiality agreement, but just because they didn't want to.
Darley exec Robert Stratmore felt no such compunction. He sent a copy to Bob Mercer, who writes up Bollen's statements in this morning's Aberdeen paper. Among the highlights:
Bollen said he can't recall whether he or James Park of the Hanul law firm wrote the January 2008 contract that he signed on behalf of his state agency with his own private company, SDRC Inc. Um, Joop, seriously? You don't remember who authored the document that opened your door to millions of dollars in EB-5 fees?
Bollen confirms analysis offered here that the state—"on recommendation of NSU counsel"—got him to temporarily resign his presidency of SDRC Inc. in spring 2009 in order to turn down the heat on the Darley lawsuit.
Bollen explains the politics that led him to reattach himself to SDRC Inc. on June 1, 2009:
“By that time it became clear that the university had no interest in this program anymore.
“Again, everything froze, no discussions were being made, my travel was not being approved, and the writing was on the wall that the board of regents did not no longer want to be part of the international activities of SDRC Inc., and it also by the time was clear that the governor’s office, even though they wanted to take the management back to the state, but they realized that they could not effectively manage it themselves, and it became more and more clear that there was a good chance that SDRC Inc. would enter into a separate agreement with the state to manage the program as a private were going to let it die, but the moneys from the project were real.
“They started to flow, so the train was coming. It was going to be a train wreck because action needed to be taken,” Bollen said [Bob Mercer, "Bollen's Deposition Explains How EB-5 Became Privatized," Aberdeen American News, 2014.10.15].
Then-Governor, now Senate candidate Mike Rounds has tried to dump responsibility for any corruption in his EB-5 program onto the Regents. But Bollen's deposition suggests that by mid-2009, the Board of Regents was trying to put a stop to Bollen's activities. Bollen suggests that the governor's office intervened, with the overarching priority of, as Mike Rounds himself told Mercer earlier this month, keeping the money flowing.
Bob! Let's see that full deposition and find out what more it can tell us about Bollen's version of events.