Joop Bollen Entangled In Another Lawsuit Involving EB-5


It sounds like something out of a movie script, but the latest lawsuit against South Dakota’s former director of the EB-5 immigrant investor program is a real life tangled plot line.

Bollen is set to go on trial in February on five felony charges for misusing state money in the EB-5 program. Bollen’s company got millions of dollars in fees from investors who put money into South Dakota projects in exchange for a green card.

Bollen is facing at least two other civil suits in the aftermath of the EB-5 scandal. This latest suit filed in federal court comes from the developers of the Deadwood Mountain Grand—one of them is a familiar name to country music fans. 

“This is one of the largest historic preservations that has been done in this country,” Kenny Alphin, Big Kenny of Big & Rich said in a 2011 YouTube video.

County Music superstars, Big & Rich, along with Governor Dennis Daugaard, kicked off the opening of the Deadwood Mountain Grand, which turned an old Homestake Gold Mining Slime plant into a hotel, casino and concert venue in 2011. 

“Now we know both governors, the last two governors in the state of South Dakota,” Alphin said.

Half of the duo, Big Kenny is one of the resort’s investors.

“There are over eight partners that came together, half of them from Deadwood, half of them from music city USA to pull this off and it really was the continuation of a dream,” Alphin said

Now those partners are suing Joop Bollen, who ran the EB-5 immigrant investor program.

According to the suit, 65 “aliens,” or foreign investors, provided funds to build the Deadwood Mountain Grand project. 

Because EB-5 required foreign investors put in at least half a million dollars in a U.S. project that creates 10 jobs in order to get a green card — that means that at least $32.5 million of foreign investments were made into the Mountain Grand. 

Joop made the investors sign personal guarantees for loans to secure the funds.    

But the developers now claim Bollen broke the law by making them sign those guarantees, because that isn’t allowed under the EB-5 program. 

Developers have also stopped paying on their EB-5 loans, leading Bollen to send them a notice of default in May.

To give you an idea of just how much money was put into this project: 

In addition to the foreign investors, the Mountain Grand Investment Group called Tentexkota put in $6 million into the project and it also got a nearly $2 million historical preservation grant. 

The Mountain Grand developers want their loan guarantees thrown out and are asking for attorney fees and an unspecified amount in damages. 

The Mountain Grand was just one of many projects that Bollen helped get financing while he was running the EB-5 program in the state.  Bollen made money off of fees he charged investors. 

KELOLAND News reached out to the attorneys who filed the most recent suit, but they aren’t commenting. 

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