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Bollen to GOAC: EB-5 “Fabulous”, Criticism “Insanity”, Reporters Lying

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:

  1. He can't speak freely, because the FBI is still investigating EB-5.
  2. The FBI was targeting deceased Governor's Office of Economic Development chief Richard Benda.
  3. Bollen cooperated fully with two FBI interview requests in 2013.
  4. 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.
    1. This is the third major estimate we've heard of the capital/jobs-creation record of South Dakota's EB-5 program.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. In September, I found that even 5,000 jobs was an unsubstantiable exaggeration.
    5. In October, reporter Bob Mercer came to the same conclusion, saying EB-5 may have created hundreds of jobs.
  5. 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.


  1. Francis Schaffer 2014.11.10

    Can't speak freely, yet the FBI was after Richard Benda. Sounds like speaking freely to me.

  2. 96Tears 2014.11.10

    The mystery to me is Marty Jackley's admission in late summer that he had been preparing three felony counts of theft and a grand jury in early October 2013 against Benda. What has Benda done that Bollen hasn't done a whole lot more? Where the hell is that flunky Attorney General?

    I'm beginning to wonder if Jackley lied when he said he was pursuing Benda. I seriously doubt he intended to lift a finger. That fable he told the GOAC was meant to keep the shitstain off his wingtips.

  3. Owen 2014.11.10

    Can't wait to see Bollen in handcuffs. And right beside him Rounds

  4. grudznick 2014.11.10

    I think Mr. Mercer does have an insane hatred of Mr. Rounds. But if you are looking for job estimates, minor estimates not major ones like you are quoting, I estimate E-B5 created between 2 and 10 jobs in the state. The rest of the thousands would have come anyway. The following jobs were/still are dependent upon E-B5:

    a couple other bloggers
    4 or 5 guys at the Argus paper

  5. John Tsitrian 2014.11.10

    Bollen says those 7,000 jobs are based on "U.S. Department of Commerce numbers." Wonder if there's any way to get him to provide a cite. I can't find anything from USDOC, either from its site or just by googling around.

  6. grudznick 2014.11.10

    Mr. Tsitrian, 2 to about 10 jobs. I've documented them. The other 6,990 new jobs would have come to South Dakota without E-B5.

  7. Jane 2014.11.10

    Bollen's self-righteous indignation is unwavering. Ethics violation 1. He as an employee cannot redirect for self gain, business, opportunities, property intellectually or materially to a company he has direct interest in. You cannot use a Memo of understanding as a paper shuffle. Companies, local or federal do not allow. 2. EB-5 is fabulous for him. It was the program that took him from average liquor store clerk in Griffen Georgia to multi millionaire in amazing Aberdeen. 3. He and his self serving cronies ruined the Fed program by creating a complex web of deceit, pillaging exorbitant fees from these foreigners. 4. Used the Governors office as a pilar of marketing to gain trust of those foreign investors. 5. What the media has done is to bring to public eye, the millions in fees that deserved to be the property of the state, not an obscure LLC solely owned by himself that acted like a lawyer, bank, government official. Who does that?

  8. Jane 2014.11.10

    The proper question to ask Bollen: prior to 2006 while an employee of the state, did you receive from James Park a private citizen, Hanul Law firm, a private company money in any amount?
    Aka a bribe.

  9. jerry 2014.11.10

    I also wonder about the numbers John T. They seem to be pulled from the nether regions of their anatomy as if no one would ever care to dispute them. Me, I still wonder where those 7,000 bellybuttons are working now. Surely they would have had to have names and w2 forms. The other thing is what about the contractors excise tax on the project in Aberdeen and the Workmen's Comp for the project. Of course, the workers could have been in their 60's at that time and as they were all single men, they simply retired to Florida to hang around the beach.

  10. Roger Cornelius 2014.11.10

    Why is it so difficult to get a real number of jobs created by EB-5? If this has been such a successful program for South Dakota it seems that the real numbers would be available.
    Bollen 7,000 Jobs created, revenue $350 million
    King 8,000 Jobs created, revenue $400 million
    Rounds 5,000 Jobs created, revenue $600 million
    Which of these liars are we to believe?

  11. leslie 2014.11.10

    what is this REGIONAL CENTER RUINED? joop acts like they excercized state oversight and restraint over GOED/NSU/Regents, got in his way of pure entreprenuerialism. that does not appear the case. how much of a fictional entity is/was it?

  12. leslie 2014.11.10

    why do we put up w/ grudz' apolo"gisms"; is it his feigned cuteness at times?

    would jackley's prosecution of joop embarrassingly reveal joop's diversion of money via a fed. program administered and covered-up by SD's govs. rounds and daugaard enabled by SDGOP?

  13. 96Tears 2014.11.10

    Jackley? Jackley? Jackley?

  14. Tom w 2014.11.11

    owen u wont see them in handcuffs ever. Nothings going to happen.

    Btw. R u the owen from the movie throw mamma from the train

  15. Jaka 2014.11.11

    Really now, folks, isn't this just a PRIME EXAMPLE of just what the conservative movement is all about???? Getting government out of the way of ,private, go-go entrepreneurship!!! The saddest part of it all isn't the wealthy Asian investors loss as much as the average Joe in SD that has suffered from the $100 million - (Plus) - that was cut from education/roads that should have went to the state.. Right??

  16. mike from iowa 2014.11.11

    John T-I sent a request for job numbers for SoDak through the EB-5 program and expect to get the runaround within 2 business days.

    In June 2005 the SDIBI Dairy Economic Region claims they attracted more than 60 Immigrant investors,30 million bucks(which was leveraged into another 90 mil $), created 240 direct jobs,638 indirect jobs and infused the region with an additional $360 million.

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.11

    Come on, Tom W, can you just stick with the facts instead of silly movie insults? Even if you're mad at people saying bad things about the big dairy/cheese money stream, can't you just win your argument on the facts of the program alone?

  18. John Tsitrian 2014.11.11

    Thanks, mfi. Looking forward to an update on your effort. Did the dairy numbers name specific ventures and their results?

  19. Lynn 2014.11.11

    I wonder if Mr. Bollen was composing and writing all of this while in an anything is on the menu café in Amsterdam

  20. Tom W 2014.11.11

    Big dairy and cheese money? what is that suppose to mean?

  21. larry kurtz 2014.11.11

    Pray for the Yellowstone supervolcano to be quick and merciful.

  22. joeseph 2014.11.11

    so your not for economic growth? I have no ties to any dairy cheese plant and it doesn't take much to figure out what bel brands will do for the area and city of brookings, 200 some jobs.

    what should we go back to 100000 50 cow herds? come on you know that doesn't cut it

  23. oldguy 2014.11.11

    I agree with grudznick as I think these projects would have happen without EB5. EB5 just made it easier.

  24. Roger Cornelius 2014.11.11

    Note that Bollen says he talked to the FBI about Benda several times, but the FBI says it has an ongoing "active investigation of SDRC".
    Generally when a perp dies, they are no longer under investigation and can't be indicted or charged for any crime. There would be need to for the FBI to investigate Benda in 2014.

  25. Roger Cornelius 2014.11.11

    I have never seen Throw Momma From the Train. Is there supposed to be a joke or insult with that comment?

  26. Steve Sibson 2014.11.11

    "Really now, folks, isn't this just a PRIME EXAMPLE of just what the conservative movement is all about???? Getting government out of the way of ,private, go-go entrepreneurship!!!"

    This was a public/private partnership, and there is nothing conservative about those.

  27. Steve Sibson 2014.11.11

    "Big dairy and cheese money? what is that suppose to mean?"

    I-29 corridor dairies and a French Cheese Maker in Brookings, partly financed with communist money via EB-5. Too bad it didn't work out to butcher the cows in Aberdeen. Sometimes the planned economy doesn't go as planned.

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