Before we pass a regressive tax to increase teacher pay, I know where we can get $13 million to boost our K-12 budget: Joop Bollen's pocket.
Doing some excellent math, Denise Ross figures that Joop Bollen made $13 million in fees on EB-5 transactions in 2009 alone from the 99 foreign investors who kept the Dakota Provision turkey plant in Huron afloat. Bollen made this money processing those foreign investments through his private company, SDRC Inc., into a loan package for his lawyer Jeff Sveen's favorite turkey factory.
Funny thing is, SDRC Inc. did this work under a 2008 memorandum of understanding signed with the South Dakota International Business Institute, the state office that Joop Bollen directed as a public employee from 1994 until the end of 2009. Even if we overlook the absurdity and conflictuality of Bollen's signing this no-bid contract with his own nascent company, there is one other glaring problem with the SDIBI-SDRC Inc. deal: Bollen had no authority to sign this contract. Bollen was technically an employee of the Board of Regents on the Northern State University campus. According to testimony in the Darley v. SDIBI arbitration from NSU counsel John Meyer and BOR counsel James Shekleton, no one ever granted Joop Bollen or SDIBI contract-making authority. To have any legal force, the SDIBI-SDRC Inc. contract would have to have undergone review and approval by the Board of Regents.
In other words, Bollen expropriated the authority of NSU's then-president Patrick Schloss and absconded with $13 million made while he did illegal business from a state office.
That $13 million in fees isn't Bollen's. It's ours. It's time to send the Attorney General knocking on Bollen's door to get that money back.