Governor considering lawsuit to recover EB-5 money
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard is considering filing a lawsuit to recover $550,000 meant to go to a beef plant involved in an investment-for-green-card program.
A private lawyer has been working for months to determine whether the state can reclaim the money, the Argus Leader (http://argusne.ws/1nq94Yj ) reported Sunday.
“If there’s a possibility that there are public funds that can be recovered, the state should make some effort to attempt to recover that,” said Tony Venhuizen, Daugaard’s spokesman.
The EB-5 investment visa program is under scrutiny in South Dakota because of allegations of financial misconduct at the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
A state audit found that before Richard Benda left his job as head of economic development in 2010, he tacked on an extra $550,000 to a grant agreement to help the struggling Northern Beef Packers plant in Aberdeen.
A report from Attorney General Marty Jackley showed the same amount was improperly diverted to SDRC Inc., Benda’s new employer and South Dakota’s administrator of the EB-5 visa program, which allows people to seek U.S. residency if they invest at least $500,000 in approved projects.
To prevail in court, the state would have to prove that it was entitled to receive its money and then find a way to get those funds, the newspaper reported. But even if the state makes a case, it could still come out empty-handed if the money has been spent or is not accessible.
Venhuizen wouldn’t talk about the specifics of the potential lawsuit.
“At this point, given that it’s a matter of pending litigation, I don’t know that I want to say that much about it,” he said.
Benda committed suicide in October.
A draft criminal complaint, which Jackley has released, would have charged Benda with three alternate felony counts alleging he illegally obtained $550,000 in economic development money intended for the Northern Beef Packers plant and double-billed the state $5,559.80 for three flights to China and Las Vegas.
- South Dakota
Subscribe for News
Join Professionals on EB5Projects.com →
This website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer or solicitation to sell shares or securities. Any such offer or solicitation will be made only by means of an investment's confidential Offering Memorandum and in accordance with the terms of all applicable securities and other laws. This website does not constitute or form part of, and should not be construed as, any offer for sale or subscription of, or any invitation to offer to buy or subscribe for, any securities, nor should it or any part of it form the basis of, or be relied on in any connection with, any contract or commitment whatsoever. EB5Projects.com LLC and its affiliates expressly disclaim any and all responsibility for any direct or consequential loss or damage of any kind whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from: (i) reliance on any information contained in the website, (ii) any error, omission or inaccuracy in any such information or (iii) any action resulting therefrom.