The South Dakota Department of Education has filed a claim against the estate of Scott Westerhuis in order to recover some of the grant money the former Mid Central business manager embezzled.   

Scott and Nicole Westerhuis embezzled as much as $2 million through the Educational Cooperative in Platte.

The State Department of Education’s claim against the Westerhuis’ estate doesn’t name a dollar amount it is seeking.  But Mid Central filed its own claim earlier this year, asking for $2 million from the estate, in case it’s asked to pay the government back the grant money the Westerhuises took.

Statement of Claim by DOE

The Westerhuises had a lot of debt, but not everything was destroyed in the fire and now the bank hopes to raise money through a sale.  

Petition To Sell Westerhuis Property

The Westerhuises owed a lot of money to creditors.  

The banker handling the Westerhuis estate is asking the court for permission to hold an auction of the deceased family’s property, which before the fire was assessed at $1.3 million to help settle some 20 claims against the estate.  

There were buildings and items that were not destroyed in the fire.  The inventory list is actually eight-pages long and includes vehicles, gym equipment, recreational items and tools.  

It lists several large televisions, sound systems, computers, printers, basketball hoops, weight lifting equipment and nautilus machines.  There are also home and building materials on the list, including boxes of exotic hardwood flooring, a hot tub, appliances and furniture.  There are 45 school desks, saws and 297 orange life vests.

According to court documents, Scott Westerhuis had $60,000 in cash and investments, including a college fund for the children of $28,000.  He also had a $10,000 life insurance policy.
But he owed his creditors a lot more than that.  From $120,000 in auto loans to $45,000 to an electrician doing work on his property to $16,000 in credit card bills and another $4,500 on a Paypal account.  

Scott Westerhuis Preliminary Inventory

The Westerhuises had seven vehicle loans for trucks, ATVs and boats.  The banker representing the estate says in court documents that the loans on the vehicles are greater than what they’re worth.
In an application for a Visa credit card at a credit union that the Westerhuises filled out in 2011, they said they were making more than $260,000 from Mid Central and the non-profit organization that ran the GEAR UP program. 
The banker in charge of the estate is asking the court to approve payment of Westerhuis’ funeral, which was $3,700,  as well as the fees for handling the estate and attorney fees.  A judge will consider the request August 18.
When we asked the state Department of Education about its claim on the Westerhuis estate, we were told because it’s a matter of potential litigation, the department has no comment.