Federal lawsuits say a Chinese consultant has been trying to sabotage the Northern Beef Packers plant in Aberdeen since early 2011.
The documents could possibly shed light into the ongoing investigations into the finances of the plant, the state economic development office and the death of the former Secretary of Tourism and State Development Richard Benda.
The lawsuits have since been dismissed, but the documents filed say in late 2009, Benda traveled to China to court investors for the Aberdeen beef plant. Some of those investors were affiliated with consultant, Henry Zou, who specializes in EB-5 investments for American citizenship.
Northern Beef allegedly angered Zou after it broke one of its agreements and court filings from early 2012 say Zou has been trying to sabotage the loans Benda monitored between Chinese investors and the Aberdeen beef plant.
The lawsuit was filed by Joop Bollen, the head of the South Dakota Regional Center, the agency which helped facilitate the Chinese EB-5 investment for citizenship loans for the beef plant.
Bollen's lawsuit was filed as a counterclaim after the Chinese investors sued Bollen alleging mismanagement and misrepresentation of the beef plant's operation and finances.
Bollen claims Zou and his firm tried to take down the beef plant and hold back the investments after Northern Beef refused to pay Zou and his group, Henry Global Consulting Group, a two percent 'interest' for recruiting investors. Court documents say that interest totaled more than $10 million over several years.
Bollen also alleges that investors threatened to file a complaint with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission if their demands weren't met.
Shortly before the lawsuit was settled in March of 2012, Bollen was quoted in an online Bloomberg article about EB-5 as saying it's hard to tell which projects are really 'good projects,' for investors of the program saying, "There are a bunch of sleazebags who will sell anything."
The lawsuits were settled out of court in March 2012.
An attorney for the investors as well as Bollen did not offer any comment for this story Monday.