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While former Gov. Mike Rounds says he was unaware of legal issues arising out of South Dakota's administration of the federal EB-5 program, his brother Dennis Rounds was in charge of overseeing litigation for the governor. As executive director of South Dakota's Office of Risk Management and the state's Litigation and Legal Services Manager for the Governor, Dennis Rounds was in charge of overseeing lawsuits and minimizing risk.
Democratic Senate candidate Rick Weiland said Friday that he supports his party's call for a special prosecutor for the EB-5 issue. "Unfortunately, there are a lot more questions than there are answers," Weiland said about the program that offered foreign investors green cards in exchange for a $500,000 investment.
By DENISE ROSS The Daily Republic When a $30 million came to Northern Beef Packers in June 2010, it kept the faltering Aberdeen plant afloat. It also provided a $950,000 payday for a mysterious Los Angeles firm known as Maverick Spade. That company's website, maverickspadellc.com, touts it's expertise with the EB-5 visa program and "sharp intellect, skilled management and significant capital resources." "Maverick is the world's premier independent alternative asset manager, serving the investment needs of global financial institutions, Asian pension funds and other foreign and U.S.
When a $30 million loan from unidentified off-shore funds was put together for Aberdeen's Northern Beef Packers in 2010, part of the deal was a requirement that the state of South Dakota promised to kick in an additional $10 million. On page 51 of an 87-page loan agreement, the entity making the $30 million loan - Epoch Star Ltd.
Former Gov. Mike Rounds said he was generally aware that $30 million in financing was being lined up for a faltering Northern Beef Packers in 2010, but also said he was not directly involved in the deal. During an interview conducted in March 2014, when fewer details were publicly available about the deal, Rounds told The Daily Republic that financing was tough to come by because of the Great Recession that hit the nation in 2008. The Daily Republic contacted the Rounds campaign this week, but it did not have any additional statements. "It was in the middle of a national recession.
The founder of a Los Angeles firm that worked closely with Northern Beef Packers to secure $30 million in financing in 2009 and 2010 said the since-bankrupt Aberdeen packing plant was under the complete control of Joop Bollen and lawyers from the Hanul law firm, James Park, of, Los Angeles and Si-Il Jang, of South Korea. In addition, David Kang, founder of the Maverick Spade firm, told The Daily Republic that he met then-Gov. Mike Rounds during a meeting in the South Dakota Capitol in Pierre.
As the Great Recession tightened the nation's belt in 2008, the new private company created to run South Dakota's EB-5 immigrant investor program was on the verge of the first of several multi-million-dollar paydays. The private company, SDRC Inc., was incorporated with the South Dakota Secretary of State Jan. 10, 2008, and the corporation began handling EB-5 investments on behalf of the state Jan. 15, 2008. Also on Jan. 10, 2008, SDRC Inc. set up subsidiaries to receive funds from EB-5 investors that could be loaned to businesses.
In 1986, Top Gun ruled the box office, "Cheers" was on TV and Van Halen was on the radio. And, the Johnson family of Vermillion was moving to the nation's capital so their dad could represent South Dakota in Congress. The children -- now grown -- remember a really long ride in a Dodge Caravan across the country after Tim Johnson had won South Dakota's lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. "We had our cat with us, and we could not get that cat out of the car," recalled Brendan Johnson, then 11.