When a $30 million loan came to Northern Beef Packers in the summer of 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. ultra high net worth investors for more than five years," states the website.
However, the street address listed on the website -- 905 Mateo St. -- appears on Google Street View to be a a run-down two-story apartment unit with bars on the windows.
The primary telephone number listed on Maverick Spade's website -- (213) 342-8440 -- is answered by an automated message that leads to a person representing Individual Health Quotes who is unfamiliar with Maverick Spade.
Maverick Spade was promised a $2.5 million "success fee" in the loan agreement for the $30 million, but ultimately collected $950,000. It's unclear exactly what the firm's role was in arranging the loan.
Maverick Spade's website lists individuals named M.K. David Kang as the managing principal and founder, Jimmy Yun as U.S. managing director and Peter Kim as "country liason Korea" as principles, with board of directors members as Howard Chung, Mark Sun and Emilio Gonzales.
A man who answered another phone number listed on the Maverick Spade website refused to identify himself but said Maverick Spade's Los Angeles address is, in fact, highly sought after.
"You're probably not familiar with the garment district in Los Angeles. The property values are a little crazy," the man said. "This is an industrial commercial property owned by the family. ... This little piece of industrial property is worth north of $5 million, OK?"
The City Data website lists the valuation of the 11,680-square-foot property owned by Jae K. and Ha B. Kang at a bit under $1.5 milion.
The man said he could not discuss any aspects of the loan arranged for Northern Beef Packers.
"I can't really disclose anything. I had to execute a confidentiality agreement," he said. "I have to get off the call."
A second Maverick Spade address, listed both on correspondence related to the Northern Beef loan and on the California Secretary of State's website, is a temporary, shared office space at 1200 South Hope St. in Los Angeles.
The $30 million loan itself is shrouded in nearly as much mystery as the Maverick Spade firm. The $30 million appears to come out of Hong Kong, according to an affidavit from Wai Yee Christine Ma, a resident of Hong Kong, China, who is a director of Anvil Asia Partners, a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands.
Ma's affidavidt was presented to the South Dakota Banking Commission at its June 29, 2010, meeting.
The loan was provided by Epoch Star Ltd., a special-purpose entity incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and created solely to loan $30 million to Northern Beef Packers, according to documents presented to the South Dakota Banking Commission in June 2010.
Anvil Asia manages Pine Street Special Opportunity Fund I, also incorporated in the Cayman Islands. The Daily Republic reported that Pine Street wholly owned Epoch Star Limited at the time of the Banking Commission meeting.
"Pine Street has less than ten investors. None of those investors is a bank or financial institution or in the sole business of lending money," reads Ma's affidavit, which does not identify by name any of the individuals or organizations putting up the $30 million. "Pine Street is not regularly engaged in the business of lending money in South Dakota or elsewhere in the United States."
No further testimony beyond Ma's affidavit or details about the source of the $30 million or those involved in the deal was publicly disclosed as part of the Banking Commission review of the deal.
Within 15 minutes, the Banking Commission granted approval of the transaction, waiving any requirement to get a banking license or pay any taxes in a unanimous vote during its June 29, 2010, meeting in Pierre.
When the money reached Northern Beef Packers, a first installment was quickly used to pay delinquent taxes, including payroll taxes to the IRS.