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Lawmaker To Discuss State's Relationship With SD Regional Center

December 2, 2013, 12:01 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Lawmaker To Discuss State's Relationship With SD Regional Center
South Dakota Regional Center

There are still questions surrounding the bankrupt Aberdeen beef plant and the investment for visa program, known as EB-5, that was used to fund it.

More than one week ago, Governor Dennis Daugaard said that the state of South Dakota terminated its contract with the organization that administered the EB-5 program after it was discovered that more than half of a $1 million state grant for the beef plant was improperly redirected to the group in January 2011.

Questions about the state's relationship with the South Dakota Regional Center, which administered the EB-5 program, started surfacing after former state Secretary of Tourism and State Development Richard Benda committed suicide at the end of October.

About a week ago, Daugaard revealed that Benda was facing allegations of double-dipping on state trips and redirecting $550,000 of a $1 million state grant that was supposed to pay for construction of the Northern Beef Packers plant in Aberdeen. The half-million dollars was redirected to the SDRC for loan monitoring fees.

On Monday, South Dakota Representative Kathy Tyler of Big Stone City is holding a news conference to discuss the state's relationship with the South Dakota Regional Center and the EB-5 program.

Tyler is a member of the legislature's executive board and asked last month that an independent audit be conducted into the state's involvement with the EB-5 program.

Daugaard has already ordered that an independent audit and review of the Governor's Office of Economic Development be conducted.

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