SD Officials: More Than Half of $1M Grant Diverted

Dollars and Dollar Sign


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – South Dakota officials say more than half of a $1 million state grant given to Northern Beef Packers to cover construction and equipment costs was improperly diverted to pay immigration loan monitoring fees.

Attorney General Marty Jackley says $550,000 of the 2011 check issued by the Department of Tourism was used to pay the fees for SDRC Inc., a private company contracted by the state to handle federal EB-5 investments.

The EB-5 investment-for-green-cards immigration program helped fund the failed beef plant in Aberdeen and other large projects.

Jackley’s investigation also found that former economic development director Richard Benda double billed the state for two flights to China and one to Las Vegas.

Benda was found dead Oct. 22 with a shotgun wound to his abdomen. Officials ruled it a suicide.

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