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Investor complaint photo

The front page of the complaint filed jointly by two EB-5 immigrant investor funds against Northern Beef Packers as part of the shuttered plant's bankruptcy proceedings. Lawmakers are considering measures to ensure scandals like the one involving EB-5 are less common in South Dakota in the future.

Public records provide the opportunity to reveal the inner, actual workings of government and finance. These kinds of details often would otherwise go unknown. Here's a great example from this week of public records pulling back the curtain on business and government.

Most of the news coverage of the financing for the shuttered Northern Beef Packers plant with EB-5 money has reported that only two rounds of immigrant investors put money into the plant.

But the Journal reported on Sunday that a third round of EB-5 investors had also put money into the plant — and will likely never see their money or get the visa that was promised them.

We determined through news accounts, court documents, and SDRC Inc.'s old website that there must have been three total rounds of financing.

And this morning, I found court documents in the bankruptcy proceedings that explicitly reveal the three rounds of immigrant investor money.

The initial round of financing was a direct investment known as EB-5 Equity Investors, according to a pair of credit agreements made public through the bankruptcy proceedings. EB-5 Equity Investors had either 69 or 70 EB-5 immigrant investors, depending on which credit agreement you look at. 

The documents came to light in court filings by the the second two rounds of EB-5 immigrant investors, who joined together in the Northern Beef bankruptcy proceedings.

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Those two pools, both of which intended to lend money to Northern Beef rather than directly invest, are known as SD LP 6 and SD LP 9.

The second round had 70 immigrant investors (LP 6) and the third had 50 (LP 9), according to SDRC's now-mostly-blank website (see an archive of it here). We reported on Sunday that the 50 immigrant investors of LP 9 are unlikely to get either visas or their $500,000 investments back.

It is still unclear when the first round, EB-5 Equity Investors, put in their money. It is my understanding, however, that those were the funds that helped begin the plant's construction.

The credit agreement in the bankruptcy proceedings is between LP 6 and Northern Beef and dates from November 2010. 

According to other bankruptcy documents, LP 9 was raising money from immigrant investors between spring and fall of 2012, and possibly over a longer time frame than that.

Take a look at the complaint and credit agreements posted here and read for yourself. The mention of EB-5 Equity Investors will be found on page 13 of the overall packet of documents, which is at the bottom of page 6 of the credit agreement. 

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Contact Joe O'Sullivan at 394-8414 or joe.osullivan@rapidcityjournal.com

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