Last updated on 2016.04.02
Joop Bollen has finally complied with the Government Operations and Audit Committee's request for information about the EB-5 visa investment program that he ran for the state. GOAC has posted his November 10 e-mail response (plus the page 20 that got skipped in the first PDF). I'm still studying his answers, but the preface to his response, dripping with Bollenesque arrogance and snark, guarantees he will not receive a Christmas card from the best reporters in the state.
Bollen makes the following statements in his preface:
- He can't speak freely, because the FBI is still investigating EB-5.
- The FBI was targeting deceased Governor's Office of Economic Development chief Richard Benda.
- Bollen cooperated fully with two FBI interview requests in 2013.
- EB-5 was a "fabulous economic development tool" (shades of Oliver North!), bringing over $350 million in investment and over 7,000 jobs to South Dakota.
- This is the third major estimate we've heard of the capital/jobs-creation record of South Dakota's EB-5 program.
- In late October, Rory King, attorney for bankrupt EB-5 project Northern Beef Packers, contended in letters to the editor that EB-5 drew $400 million and created "directly or indirectly" over 8,000 jobs.
- In the press and the SDPB debate, Senate candidate Mike Rounds, the governor who got EB-5 rolling in South Dakota, claimed that EB-5 brought over $600 million and over 5,000 jobs to South Dakota.
- In September, I found that even 5,000 jobs was an unsubstantiable exaggeration.
- In October, reporter Bob Mercer came to the same conclusion, saying EB-5 may have created hundreds of jobs.
- But, Bollen says, Mercer is a crazy liar. So is reporter Denise Ross. The press has simply made stuff up and destroyed EB-5:
The only "scandal" is that a fabulous economic development tool... has been decimated as a result of the political and media insanity that has prevailed in South Dakota over the last few months. I simply cannot imagine how the Regional Center can recuperate from the slew of negative press that has been published. This is especially true when so much of what has been published is inaccurate and misleading, such as Ms. Ross's articles in the Mitchell newspaper and Mr. mercer's articles in the Aberdeen American News. Many facts are either ignored or made up by these reporters [Joop Bollen, letter to Government Operations and Audit Committee, 2014.11.10, p. 1].
Uff da. Maybe we should just stand back and see what Mercer, Ross, and their editors have to say about that.
Bollen assumes the same tone with GOAC, accusing Senator Larry Lucas of similar malicious falsehood:
In addition to the misleading and inaccurate information carrying over into the polotical ads leading up to the November election, it has also carried over into the questions you pose to me. Many of them contain false assumptions of facts which are clearly politically driven. As I understand it, many of the questions were put together by Senator Lucas. I believe he derived most of his information/questions from bias [sic] allegations made by the plaintiff in the California matter, a plaintiff who ultimately was found to have no viable claims [Bollen, 2014.11.10, p. 2].
Bollen misfires here: most of the damning information about Bollen's and Mike Rounds's involvement with EB-5 in the Darley litigation comes not from anything plaintiff Robert Stratmore said but from things the Board of Regents, NSU counsel John Meyer, the arbitrator, Bollen's boon lawyer companion James Park, and Bollen himself said in the five-plus-year course of that litigation. (See also here, here, and here.)
And I haven't even gotten to his responses to GOAC's 75 questions yet. Stay tuned... and give Denise Ross and Bob Mercer wide berth.