As the Government Operations and Audit Committee sifts through the doublespeak and shifting narratives they have received from Joop Bollen, Mike Rounds, and everyone else in state government about the EB-5 program, they should consider the commentary of Aberdeen city councilman Mark Remily. Responding to the fantastical claims of Rory King, attorney for bankrupted EB-5 beneficiary Northern Beef Packers, Remily says that EB-5 and NBP may have brought money for the lawyers, but not for regular folks around Brown County:
Unlike the local family-owned and operated equipment rental business that lost $4,165.27. Or the local dry cleaner with five employees that didn’t receive raises the past year because NBP stuck their small business for $9,443.98. Or, how about the local roofing contractor still waiting for his final $15,636.82 for work performed over a year ago? The list goes on totaling $1,844,228.68. More than 300 plant workers went unpaid. These losses total $104,608.18. Nine states and one territory went without child support payments held out of wages, that total was $5,429.95 [Mark Remily, "Truth Is Missing in Beef Plant Defense," Aberdeen American News, 2014.11.07].
Remily also questions the excuse that NBP was delayed by the 2008 recession.
“Then came the 2008 banking crisis.” What project developer ever develops, and commences building, any project and then lines up financing for said project? And, a $115 million project at that! [Remily, 2014.11.07]
Remily also finds it deceptive that NBP boosters, right up to NBP godfather Senator-Elect Mike Rounds, have tried to poo-poo the failure of NBP by promising future gains:
“Ninety million was raised and spent in Aberdeen.” It is hard to believe that $90 million in total was spent building this plant. There is no possibility that $90 million was injected into the economy of Aberdeen. Quite the opposite. A $115 million “state of the art” failure was injected into the Aberdeen economy. Just ask the various business and the many former unpaid employees how much money was injected into their economies.
“Aberdeen will have a thriving beef processing facility in the near future.” How many more weeks, months, or years will we hear this? Mr. King, face the facts, the plant pretty much closed before it ever even opened. If the facility ever does re-open it will be nothing more than a “kill plant.” The product produced will be nothing more than tubes of hamburger. Not the promised “South Dakota Certified” fine beef we were all told to expect [Remily, 2014.11.07].
The facts on the ground in Aberdeen right now are that a beef-packing plant opened, failed, and now sits empty. Aberdonians and South Dakotans lost money and jobs. And a few insiders—state employees and lawyers—lined up hefty profits for themselves.
GOAC won't follow that money or the trail of lies the moneymakers have laid. Reporters will.