News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to

Sunday, September 27, 2015

South Dakota is a wonderful place to raise children for careers in organized crime ["God weeps."]

I keep hearing South Dakotans brag about the low crime rate in their state. This boasting is done despite the constant oozing of news of shady and nefarious activity that comes from state and local governments.  

The latest involves the murder of four children, their mother,  the alleged suicide of their father in Platte, and the arson of their million-dollar home.   The father and mother were the business manager and assistant business manager, respectively, for an educational  cooperative that had a contract to manage federal funds for a program to prepare native American young  people for college.  The murder, alleged suicide and arson happened within hours of the cooperative being informed that it would no longer administer the multi-million dollar contract.  

Reporter Bob Mercer and blogger Cory Heidelberger have covered the incident in detail, with Heidelberger's Dakota Free Press  posting documents showing how many people received hefty fees and salaries from the federal grant,  but no  evidence of how the money developed college talent and helped young people to succeed in college.  Cory's reporting produced the kind of inane, insane South Dakota-nice attitude that permits and encourages financial crime in the state.  A post on the Dakota Free Press site demonstrates the thinking and  level of literacy:

I knew Scott and his family. They were good people. I worked for Gear Up, the people were great. Gear Up helped a lot of college students with jobs for the summer and kids from the reservation somewhere fun and safe. What you write seems to be only about money and negativity. Scott came from a good background. Stacy was an awesome boss. I think the fact that all you people can do is put out negative news is a joke. You haven’t seen how Gear Up is during the summer. Know all your facts before assuming. This has to be a caspericy.

A guy is said by law enforcement that he blew away his four children, his wife, himself, and torched his house amid evidence of massive financial fraud and is deemed "good people" whose actions should not be reported?  And the author claims to have worked in educating children?  A "caspericy?"  

Then when someone reposts one of Cory's reports on Facebook,  it receives this response:

Not a cool article to share at this time. This is not a time to spread negativity. His family has not even been laid to rest yet and there are people including myself and my family grieving a tremendous loss.
This is the culture that permits and encourages the corruption that has come to define South Dakota.  People are so busy being nice and ignorant and morally bereft that they cannot face up to what they have created.  South Dakota has received a  reputation for corruption reported by a number of organizations, and, by god, it got it the old-fashioned way.  It earned it.  


Anonymous said...

The press is as much to blame as the dishonest politicians. Complacent or complicit, does it matter?

We have had some good people in politics that tried to blow the whistle on the corruption and look how Daugaard went after them. How loud did former Rep Nelson complain about the problems of corruption in Pierre and look how Daugaard & cronies did their best to throw him out of the legislature and ruin his name?

Anonymous said...

Yep, in addition, an otherwise (formerly) reputable legislator told a service club weeks prior to this scandal breaking, that he'd read that SD government was one of the most corrupt in the nation, but he hadn't seen it and didn't believe it. Willful blindness.

Anonymous said...

Curious who that (formerly) reputable legislator was.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States