PREVIEW: After Phelps’ Trial, A Look Back At GEAR Up

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Late last week, a jury found Stacy Phelps “not guilty” of falsifying evidence.  

Phelps was the former head of the American Indian Institute for Innovation. Phelps never denied backdating the two contracts in question, but said he was just doing what Scott Westerhuis told him to do.

Westerhuis was the former Chief Financial Officer of AIII and Business manager of Mid Central. Authorities say he embezzled $1.3 million while those organizations took grant money from the state.

On Monday’s Eye on KELOLAND, Angela Kennecke shows you three years of investigative reporting on the case and what was uncovered about the financial dealings of AIII. But most of that was not part of this case dealing specifically with backdating contracts. 

“I think the lessons learned is we as a state need to look at more transparancy and when it comes to the audit process, get to these issues sooner in the process,” South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said on Thursday. 

“The Indian people of this state have always know that he was innocent of these charges,” Phelps’ Attorney Dana Hanna said on Thursday. 

On Monday’s KELOLAND News at 10, hear highlights of the arguments of the week-long trial and a look back at how GEAR UP grant money was spent and what was included in the criminal court case and what was not. 

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