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EB-5 scandal may be growing problem for Mike Rounds

by Greg Belfrage

The Rapid City Journal is shedding new light on South Dakota's failed EB-5 program.

According to a weekend report in the Journal, wealthy Chinese immigrants who invested in the program never received promised visas nor are they likely to recoup their investments. It's also unclear as to what happened to their money.

The Journal reports that the director of SDRC Inc. , Joop Bollen, took all of the company's EB-5 records when he left his employment at Northern State University. NSU officials say Bollen took the records without permission.

Meanwhile, federal immigration officials have denied a public records request from the Journal. The newspaper has been trying to determine how many investors were denied visas under the South Dakota EB-5 program.

Read the entire report .

If you're confused by the whole EB-5 scandal, reporter Bob Mercer has written a great background piece: Rise, fall of EB-5 in South Dakota

Mercer and other reporters are asking more and more questions regarding former governor Mike Rounds involvement in the scandal. The timing of these new revelations could damage Rounds since the Republican primary is now only a few months away. The entire mess happened on Rounds' watch.

Despite the state legislature's unwillingness to dig deep into the EB-5 scandal this past legislative session, it appears the truth is starting to come out... like it or not.

Update 9/5/14
In this column, I erroneously commented that the "entire mess happened on Rounds' watch". That was incorrect. Many of the problems that occurred with EB-5 occurred after former governor Rounds had already left office. I regret and apologize for the error.

Greg Belfrage ( @belfrageshow ) is heard 6am-9am on KELO 1320 AM and 107.9 FM. Greg can be contacted at greg.belfrage@mwcradio.com.