ABERDEEN, SD -
An Aberdeen economic development official is asking people not to rush to conclusions as investigations involving potential financial misconduct in a state department continue.
Governor Dennis Daugaard said this week the state's economic development office is under federal investigation for alleged financial misconduct. He said the investigation surrounds actions that took place before his administration took office.
Former officials at a bankrupt Aberdeen beef plant told the Associated Press federal investigators have questioned them about financial dealings at the plant.
Richard Benda worked with both, but authorities aren't saying whether his work is part of either investigation. Benda died last week from an apparent gunshot wound.
At the Aberdeen Development Corporation, executive vice president Jim Barringer says he's learning about the investigations at the same time as everyone else. He says there is a lot he, and the rest of the public, doesn't know.
"An investigation is just that, Barringer said. Until we know what the investigation turns up, let us not rush to judgment on who did what, why and how."
Benda was on the Aberdeen Development Corporation board. Barringer says he was a good friend and a very good economic developer. While raising money for Northern Beef Packers south of Aberdeen, Barringer says Benda worked hard, traveling to different parts of the world.
"All the work that had been put into raising funds for that beef plant, according to what I had seen and heard, was all done appropriately, above board. So I'm confident this investigation will turn up nothing of any significance," Barringer said.
The Associated Press report said federal investigators also questioned former beef plant officials about a program which attracts foreign investors by giving them eased immigration in exchange. The plant used that program to receive a lot of its funding.
Barringer says he's familiar with that program but it's not in his area of expertise. He says he's never known or heard of any kind of misconduct related to the beef plant and that program.
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