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Remily: Northern Beef Packers and EB-5 Hurt Aberdeen Economy

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.


  1. Lynn 2014.11.13

    When White Oak purchased the Beef Plant didn't they promise or claim that they would pay the employees of the plant who were not paid?

  2. Dave 2014.11.13

    I wonder how many senatorial listening meetings Rounds will hold in Aberdeen in 2015?

  3. David Newquiset 2014.11.13

    Even Richard Benda based his promotion of NBP on the tracking and processing of specialty for the grass-fed, hormone and anti-biotic-free market. Mark identifies a faction in Aberdeen that has been fully involved in this fleecing of small businesses and workers--the lawyers and their stooges in economic development agencies and local government. The suck-buddy relationships extend up through the justice system. This is apparent in the Taliafarro-Schwab prosecution, the Hutterville dispute, and numerous prosecutions on felony law which have all the ear marks of wrongful convictions and the misuse of law enforcement. There is little justice and integrity in Aberdeen.

  4. jerry 2014.11.13

    What were the voting results for Brown County and its neighboring counties for this past election? I do, Brown County went for Rounds. So even when they took a financial drubbing from the little weasel, they still came out and supported him. The neighboring counties to the east went for Weiland, the rest all in for Rounds.

  5. Mark Remily 2014.11.13

    The workers WERE promised their paychecks, However it's been over 16 months since the plant closed and still no money.

  6. Lynn 2014.11.13

    Mark that's what I figured. All smoke and mirrors. Nothing new there.

  7. 96Tears 2014.11.13

    Mark - I haven't seen much reporting on the human toll left in the wake of the Rounds Racketeering Scam, and I would think the wrecked businesses and lives left behind would have made much more compelling campaign commercials than the complex, fast-talk ads explaining EB-5, which I thought was a waste. This has been about theft and wrecking people's lives, and turning around to demand the communities send the bastards to the U.S. Senate and the Governor's Office for more of the same.

    I hope you sent your op-ed to the other daily newspapers that ran Rory King's baloney.

  8. David Newquiset 2014.11.13

    A young man of my acquaintance is currently employed by the maintenance department at the beef plant. The crew is repairing what they say are faults in the construction. White Oak seems to be coming up with the wherewithal to meet the crew's payroll, but the former workers and vendors seem to have neglected.

  9. Mike B 2014.11.13

    There are 764 jobs listed with the dept of labor for Aberdeen.

  10. Bill Fleming 2014.11.13

    A couple of thoughts about this project from the sidelines. It sounds like the intention was to establish a whole new branded high-quality branded category in the beef retail market sector.

    Given 'Angus Beef' and other established brands, that was always going to be a pretty heavy lift, marketing wise. Was there budget allotted for that?

    And how about the spec on the quality of animals needed to deliver that level of quality. I'm guessing the the cost of the plant was a pittance compared to what the internal raw materials and external marketing costs of this project was going to be.

    It kinda strikes me as a promoter's pipe dream. Either that or maybe a $40 million a year advertising account. ;-)

  11. 96Tears 2014.11.13


    Thanks for pointing us to the comments. What an interesting use of a state institution, the Board of Regents. Apparently, it's viewed as a gold mine for the chosen few, and the addition of Heather Wilson at SM&T seems to reap power and profits in the Hills region with her corporate connections. Brings to mind Dave Chicoine's $400,000 windfall just to sit on the Monsanto board of directors and the obvious conflicts of interest for the state's agricultural research projects. As folks on this blog are prone to repeat, "follow the money."

    Worst, with all this money going into the pockets of the chosen few in the Board of Regents system, you wouldn't know it when you look at the primary mission of the BOR. South Dakota's college students still lead the nation in having to cough up the greatest share of their tuition costs while state government pays the least of that portion.

  12. Les 2014.11.13

    It amazes me how the Sioux Falls judge put White Oak before those local obligations. The fraud runs.deep.

  13. oldguy 2014.11.13

    Les--it is the difference of being a secured or a unsecured creditor. I'll bet all the attorneys got paid in full.

  14. Les 2014.11.13

    I understand, OG. It is outright fraud when assets are committed after the fact of the time frame these poor souls should have been paid in full. The judge knows that and I don't believe his hands are tied legally, maybe tied up in the corruption.

  15. Les 2014.11.13

    Rory King:""" Aberdeen has a state-of-the-art beef packing plant which, when market conditions for beef processing become more favorable, will come back into operation, for the financial benefit of the entire region."""" Better keep your day job, Rory. Do you mean when beef hits 60 cents a pound NBP may become profitable? I wouldn't be bragging about being an attorney for NBP from the beginning, whether there is fraud or not, incompetence reigned.

  16. oldguy 2014.11.13

    Les I am with you 100% but a judge can't move unsecure a head of secured. The new owner could choose to play off the unsecured but I am betting they won't.

  17. Jenny 2014.11.13

    No doubt, 96 Tears. I always thought there could have been more on coverage on these 300 workers (I thought it was 200) that lost their jobs from this scam. 300 unemployed is a huge number anywhere, but especially so in a small state like SD. Where did these people go? Did they leave the state, still hanging around Aberdeen? Miss opportunity for the Dems to put a human face to the recklessness of the Rounds Administration and their love affair with EB-5.

  18. 96Tears 2014.11.13

    Jenny - A human face, not photoshopped figures, connects with people. Definitely a missed opportunity. One suggestion: Rounds' Racketeers' love affair wasn't with EB-5; their love affair was with bilking a federal program to stuff their pockets.

  19. PrairieLady - Gayle 2014.11.13

    My questions was "Where's the beef"? You know, the grass feed, hormone and anti- biotic free beef they were going to process in huge quantities? How many head could the SD ranchers and farmers produce? Anyone ever see a business plan? Was it realistic what they could produce and be profitable?

  20. jerry 2014.11.13

    Hmmm, PrairieLady-Gayle, you seem to have hit upon a very worthwhile question. I cannot seem to find anything like that about the cattle or the thousands of employees that the EB-5 employed. Of course, our attorney general and his cohorts cannot investigate that because it would eliminate him from his rightful place as the next governor.

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