- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Minnehaha County Democratic Party chairman Jeff Barth filed legal action regarding South Dakota’s immigrant investor program, accusing several state officials of fraud.

Barth hasn’t filed a legal complaint yet, but a preliminary court document filed Monday accuses former Gov. Mike Rounds, former South Dakota Board of Regents director Tad Perry and Aberdeen attorney Jeffrey Sveen of involvement in fraud related to the privatization of the state’s EB-5 program, the Argus Leader (https://argusne.ws/1r5oSpN ) reported. It says Barth, who is also an elected county commissioner, is acting “personally and in his capacity as sitting County Commissioner” although he says the county “has nothing to do with it.”

Former EB-5 chief Joop Bollen, who led the program as the as a state employee and later as the head of SDRC Inc., isn’t targeted in the lawsuit. Instead, he’s named as a witness, along with former Board of Regents chair Harvey Jewett, current Regents director Jack Warner, Regents counsel James Shekleton and Gov. Dennis Daugaard, among others.

The document is a motion for pre-trial discovery of documents related to the EB-5 program.

“Petitioners do require adequate assurance that relevant information is not being destroyed,” Barth said in the document.

On Twitter, a senior aide to Rounds, who is currently running for U.S. Senate, called it a “frivolous lawsuit” that’s “playing politics with the judicial system.”

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Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com

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