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Bollen Deposition: Rounds Administration Gave Business Leads to SDIBI

Mike Rounds desperately needs you to believe that his office had little to do with the EB-5 program that has endangered his gubernatorial legacy and his Senatorial aspirations. "...[T]he program and the personnel were responsible to the South Dakota Board of Regents," Rounds avers. "...[A]s governor, I was not involved in the day-to-day activities of the BOR program."

But according to EB-5 czar Joop Bollen, the leads for big EB-5 transactions came from the Rounds Administration:

[Regents attorney Chaka Okadigbo]: Okay. In terms of -- for people that don't know how the EB-5 program works, if -- I assume the regional center was involved in selecting projects for foreign investors to review and decide whether to invest in it, is that correct?

[Bollen] I wouldn't say that. I would say that initially we will receive a lead that would come from the governor's office or the department of agricultural that there is a project that the state has an interest in. I would then forward the contact to the entity that we had a working relationship with, and they then would obtain the information directly from the project typically and they would then do the due diligence of the project and decide if their investors want to get involved in that project or not [Joop Bollen, deposition 1, Darley v. SDIBI, 2014.04.16].

Rounds has tried to portray his "direct interaction" with Bollen as "limited" to updates on efforts by Bollen's South Dakota International Business Institute "by way of staff reports." Yet Bollen's testimony shows two-way interaction, with the Rounds Administration providing the leads like Northern Beef Packers necessary to sustain SDIBI's efforts.


  1. 96 Tears 2014.10.18

    Maybe the DSCC should demand an apology from that bloviating nitwit Craig Lawrence or threaten him with a lawsuit for defamation. What a chump!

  2. Roger Elgersma 2014.10.18

    The Republicans usually make a big deal about how they promote economic developement as a way to help the economy. Now that the biggest economic developement they have tried in decades failed, they seem to not know a thing about their most important priority. Something is not honest here. To say he did not know about the day to day activities, is normal. But to let the whole thing go bad and not have a clue is irresponsible on the part of the executives. Just an old Reagan trick they learned to tell someone to do something and then say they did not know what happened. If it had worked out well they would have advertized as if they had stood on the levees while they were being built and that it was their own personal success. They want to say they were their day to day on the levee on a flood they should have planned long before but not on a packing plant that had been in the works for years and was their project all along.

  3. Tim 2014.10.18

    Sure would like to see what was in those boxes Joop was seen leaving with when he left NSU.

  4. Bill Fleming 2014.10.18

    Maybe Mikey needs to be checked for early Alzheimer's. At a minimum, he seems to have contracted CRS disease. :-)

  5. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.18

    I was thinking along the same lines when reading EB-5 articles in the Journal.
    A senator or congressman representing our state has to remember a lot of stuff, Rounds doesn't remember much about some of the most important details of South Dakota government.

  6. Bill Fleming 2014.10.18

    ...about his own pet project!

  7. Tim 2014.10.18

    Can't help but wonder if his memory would get better if they put him under oath.

  8. JeniW 2014.10.18

    Rounds not being able to manage the issues/business/concerns in a small state like SD well, makes me think that he would not be able to manage the issues/business/concerns of the whole country.

  9. PrairieLady - Gayle 2014.10.18

    Bollen would get leads from the state and pass them on to another entity, who would contact those who might be interested in investing? Ok, so that was one phone call or an email, then what did this guy do to make the big bucks?

  10. jerry 2014.10.18

    Bollen got the leads, worked them and then sold them to the Rounds Insurance agency for life leads. His team then put the pressure on the marks, made the sales so they could go on cruises and other spifs all around the world while pocketing commission moolah. (snark). I would not be a bit surprised though if that were not the case.

  11. mike from iowa 2014.10.18

    If Rounds gets to Washington all he has to remember is to vote like all the other wingnuts. His problem would be a roll call vote,upon which he would claim he had nothing to do with it.

  12. mike from iowa 2014.10.18

    Where's the beef? Here it is-Round's take-I know nothing.

  13. lesliengland 2014.10.18

    So is Joop's excuse on the "walking boxes" that they were SDRC Inc. property? When did this state property become private, if ever, and what proportions of state files became private??

  14. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.18

    The other issue Mike Rounds faces besides his memory loss, is his inability to show up for debates.
    It has been more than 50 days since he showed up for a date, I don't count that Rotary thing the other day. In the senate, it is all about debate, how can represent South Dakota if he hides for 50 days at a time?

  15. Bill Fleming 2014.10.18

    Leslie, I'm guessing that in the Joopatolah's mind, they were exclusively his all along. His job with the state was just a lowly vehicle for his evil genius. Bwahahahaha!

  16. lesliengland 2014.10.18

    i dont get it, how can this guy be walking around with nary a reprisal?

  17. jerry 2014.10.18

    i think I may have an answer on that of why Joop Bollen is walking around like it is no ones business. I have always been curious about why county judges campaign so much to be the judge. Seriously, look at all those billboards and lawn markers, along with radio, print and teevee stuff. How much do they get paid for that job to be paying out such an outlay, and more importantly, why?

    I thought about that and have come to the idea that they are compromised by donors for specific reasons that benefit those donors. I looked at some of these folks and they are much like Joop Bollen with their wages and so on. I know that this seems like getting into the weeds, and I would agree. But it does seem strange that Bollen got paid at all considering what he was skimming, the only reason was that he had to show he was working for the state. Not only as an employee of the state, but one that had the highest credentials and access to the highest form of state power, the governors office. So what does my compromised judges deal have to do with Bollen? They are all on the same team. How are you going to get a warrant when there is no one to answer that call?

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.18

    Prairie Lady, I'm getting the impression from Joop's deposition that he did as little work as possible.

  19. Roger Cornelius 2014.10.18

    It isn't just compromised judges that can quash a search warrant, it is whole process of a cover up and likely the protection or hush money being contributed to campaigns. I've said previously that all the FEC and state campaign finances need to be gone over with that fine tooth comb.
    There is a reason no is talking, or just maybe Patrick Duffy found that whistleblower he was looking for.

  20. Roger Elgersma 2014.10.19

    An insurance salesman tried to talk me into selling for him years ago. He made a big point about talking to people first to build confidence.
    Now Rounds wants us to think that he had not talked to his top people and did not know what they were doing. This is not a fit.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.10.19

    Fascinating note, Roger! You'd think basic management principles would have Rounds asking questions about NBP and Bollen, sizing Bollen up personally, and ultimately smelling the BS that we can see so clearly in Bollen's deposition.

  22. Francis Schaffer 2014.10.19

    Well, Cory and Roger, maybe that was the qualities he needed and wanted as the point person for EB-5 And NBP.

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