Bob Mercer agrees that the EB-5 scandal is far from over. Next Thursday the Legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee meets to discuss what went wrong in then-Governor, now Senator-Elect Mike Rounds's EB-5 visa investment program. GOAC chairman Senator Larry Tidemann (R-7/Brookings) has invited Board of Regents exec Jack Warner to talk about changes in the contract authorization process (which obviously broke down when EB-5 czar Joop Bollen wrote himself an illegal and lucrative private contract while working for the state).
The language Tidemann uses to invite Warner is different from the language he uses to invite Bollen. To Warner, Senator Tidemann says, "The Committee requests that you be present...." To Bollen, Senator Tidemann says, "I would like to request that you respond...." And while Warner, who has done little if anything wrong in the EB-5 mess other than not realizing Bollen was running a scam for himself and his friends from the NSU campus, is called to appear in person, Bollen is permitted leave to write a letter from his comfy home in Aberdeen.
Bollen is also allowed to miss deadlines. Senator Tidemann's September 30 request asked Bollen to reply by November 5 so that committee members would have time to review his response. They'll need that time: the September 30 letter includes 75 questions. Bollen could have written up three a day and still had plenty of time to finish, but GOAC still has no Bollen response on its agenda documents page. A knowledgeable source tells me that Bollen and his lawyer (that's EB-5 player Jeff Sveen) plan to respond on Monday, November 10.
Given Joop Bollen's willingness to lie to federal officials, we should probably not expect much. But we wait with bated breath for 75 repetitions of "I do not recall," "I decline to share confidential business information, " "I plead the Fifth," and maybe, just once, please, Joop, "Go ask Mike Rounds—it was his idea."