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 MinneKota@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Why business crooks strut around free in South Dakota


The EB-5 scandal in South Dakota illustrates an attitude toward business that is dominant in the state.  People like to brag about the state's work ethic, but there is little ethical in the work that people who have lead the state have done.  All communities want to develop economically.  Businesses that supply good products and services at competitive prices and provide decent livings for their employees are a major asset.  But they are increasingly hard to find.  South Dakota has adopted the attitude that any enterprise which makes money for someone is to be revered and the people have been conditioned to overlook the quality and integrity of enterprises.  And so, we have the credit card industry which comes in, exploits the usury laws and the employees, and then as with Capital One, leaves when it so chooses.  The explanation is that it is a business decisions, and it is accepted, because in South Dakota business decisions are considered acts of God.  And that is one of the reasons there has been no acts of justice regarding the EB-5 business.  To those who are so conditioned to believe that predatory capitalism is sacred,  punishing dishonesty and wrongful exploitation in a business dealing is sacrilege.

The punishment for committing such a sacrilege is written into state law.   It has specific provisions protecting the secrecy of how businesses conduct themselves:

1-27-1.6. Certain financial, commercial, and proprietary information exempt from disclosure. 
And if a business conducts itself in such a way that state officials are compelled to investigate it,  those  officials can be punished for disclosing that such an investigation is going on
1-27-29.   Disclosure of information concerning private entity restricted. No state agency may disclose that it is conducting a financial investigation, examination, or audit of a private entity while the financial investigation, examination, or audit is ongoing, except as provided by § 1-27-31.
Violation of those laws is listed as a Class 1 Misdemeanor:
(1) Class 1 misdemeanor: one year imprisonment in a county jail or two thousand dollars fine, or both; 
Those laws are the inspired word of St. Janklow.  When he was conspiring with banks to create the usury industry in South Dakota,  the banks provided funds to the state.  Janklow wanted those funds secret.  The problem was that he had a Democratic state treasurer, Dick Butler,  who believed that any money coming in to the state belonged to the people and they had the right to know about it.  Janklow, however, wanted the money his collusion with the banks produced kept secret and he wouldn't even tell Dick Butler what bank it was kept in.  When Butler initiated investigations Janklow had the above law written and  pushed through the state legislatureo by his head water carrier, Mike Rounds, who was the state Senate Majority Leader at the time.  As he did not want to go to jail, Dick Butler gave up his inquiry and any mention that it had been going on.

That piece of legislation established the Divine Right of Shysters in South Dakota.  And it is the reason that the state has not done anything until recently about the EB-5 scandal.  South Dakota has the usual laws that provide for investigation and commensurate punishment for thievery and robbery committed with force or with weapons.  However, state laws specially exempt robbery by business from investigation or any public knowledge of investigation.

The EB-5 scandal was also investigated by the U.S. Justice Department through its F.B.I. division.  Many people thought that if the state would not pursue an investigation and bring the miscreants to justice, the federal government would.  During the course of the investigation, the U.S. Attorney's office maintained an ominous silence,  and when the F.B.I finished its investigation, it announced that no charges would be filed.  It did not disclose what its investigation revealed, and Cory Heidelberger, among others, has made a Freedom of Information Act request which has not been responded to yet.  However, there has been action on the part of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of the Dept. of Homeland Security, which oversees the EB-5 program, when it notified South Dakota that it was making the state ineligible to run the program any longer.  This seems to have inspired the state to try to get some of purloined money  back with a lawsuit.

EB-5 investments fall under the definition of a security which puts them under the scrutiny  of the federal Securities Exchange Commission.  The Commission has a long set of rules and court precedents dealing with business fraud.  A professor at the Wharton School of Business at the U. of Pennsylvania explains that few cases of securities fraud are pushed through the criminal courts:  
“Only a small fraction of all securities fraud cases are handled as criminal cases,” notes Wharton legal studies professor William S. Laufer. One reason for this, Laufer says, is that even when criminal convictions are obtained, prison sentences for these non-violent, white-collar crimes are not common. At the same time, studies have shown that civil fines often match or exceed those levied in criminal cases. Hence, prosecutors find there is little to gain in exchange for the extra effort it takes to bring criminal cases.
In a criminal case, prosecutors must prove the defendant intended to commit a crime, Laufer says, while this isn’t required in a civil case. A criminal case requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, while proof in a civil case requires only a preponderance of the evidence. Moreover, he adds, many well-heeled defendants in securities cases can afford teams of lawyers, many of whom are former prosecutors or regulators adept at finding the holes in the prosecutors’ cases.
“U.S. Attorneys don’t like to indict [on criminal charges] unless they are 95% sure of getting convictions,” adds John C. Coffee Jr., a law professor at Columbia University who studies securities cases. “They have to pick and choose which cases to prosecute, and typically they give priority to cases involving organized crime or violence.”

As for the EB-5 investors obtaining some justice, a Florida law firm which specializes in EB-5 matters explains the difficulty there:
One major form of investor protection is to sue for a return of the investment, but this recourse does not help the EB-5 investor achieve permanent resident status.  
The lesson in all this is that for those who have criminal inclinations but do not want to do time for any crime,  the can choose business in collusion with state government in South Dakota for their vocation.  They can strut free on the streets and bilk and steal without any fear of retribution.  Except for what some bloggers and a few journalists might dig up.  















Friday, October 23, 2015

Where did all the cattle go?

The family farm is a thing of the past.  Actually, the farm itself is a thing of the past.  It is no longer part of an agriculture.  It is now a production unit in a vast food factory that covers the land.  There are a few lingering family farms, but even they have had to adapt to a farm economy that has shifted from the science and art of growing things to mining the soil.  I have witnessed the transformation in terms of the way it has changed the landscape I travel through on an 18-mile commute I make often, sometimes daily, from Aberdeen to a work studio in Tacoma Park on the James River.  

There are a number of routes I can take and I take them all.  I like wandering the countryside.  Once as a farm editor for a newspaper, I got paid to do it as I covered agricultural meetings, interviewed people for stories, and observed first-hand what was taking place in rural America.  With my commutes to and from Tacoma Park, there Is the aspect of getting acquainted with the neighborhood, learning the people and the animals who populate land I travel through.  

In recent years, I hardly ever see people or farm animals.  The industrial rural landscape does not include them.  And I see much less wildlife,  except for deer dashing across the road between bean and corn fields.  The wetlands are plowed over and filled in so I see no water fowl where there once were ponds.  The rural landscape has changed.  The pasture land on which cattle, sheep, and horses grazed has been converted to cropland for corn and beans, and a little hay.  The only hogs near Tacoma Park are in an incorporated complex of confinement buildings that shield the animals from observation. Their presence is evident only in the powerful smell that emanates from the place on muggy days.  (Once one of my Tacoma Park neighbors who invited some foreign exchange students for a Fourth-of-July wiener roast had to cancel and move the event to their home in town because the  odor was so repulsive and overpowering.)  

I got to observe and know animals who were denizens of the farms I passed.  There were some herds of sheep, with lambs frisking about in the springtime.  A number of farms had horses grazing in the fields when their human owners weren't taking them for rides.  And there were many herds of cattle, that I got to know.  On one farm, a huge herd was trucked into fields that grew corn and soybeans after the crops were harvested.  They browsed the stubble all winter, when they weren't munching away on hay bales or feed supplements dispensed in old tractor tires hauled in with them.  Then in the spring as planting time approached, they were hauled away to some pasture to calve and eat grass.  Then a few years ago, the cattle did not show up for their winter occupation of those fields.

Lsst year this field was grass pasture with cattle grazing on it.  This spring it
was plowed up and planted in soybeans.  The cattle are gone.

On another farm, there was a field of grass pastureland that had a few trees under which a herd of Red Angus lolled about during the summer.  The trees were cut down but last year the cattle were present.  This spring the grass was plowed up and the field was planted with soybeans.  

Now there are no sheep or cattle herds on the farms on my commuting routes.  If that 18-mile stretch is an indicator of the trends farming is following, and statistics indicate that it is, it seems as if cattle are no longer a major component of the farm business.  The beef plant in Aberdeen,  which is starting up under new owners after it failed, may have some difficulty in finding cattle to process.  A Tyson beef plant in Iowa was closed down because the managers said there was not an adequate supply  of cattle to keep it going.  



The cattle pens on this farmstead were always teeming with cattle on feed.
Early this year there  were only a few.  Now there are none.
There are many factors that work together in turning farmland into  factory land. One of  those factors asserted itself in the children of the homesteaders who broke the prairie soils.  Second generation pioneers found that farm life was arduous and confining.  The independence and self-sufficiency that their parents sought and built was a restrictive and confining shackle to young people anxious to explore other dimensions of opportunity.  Henry David Thoreau expressed their frustration:  "I am wont to think that men are not so much the keepers of herds as herds are the keepers of men, the former are so much the freer."


Jefferson initially conceived of the U.S. as an agrarian democracy in which yeoman farmers occupied and ruled over their own land, free from the intrusions and conflicts inherent in a contentious society.  The definitive work on the role of the farm in American democracy is Willa Cather's "Neighbor Rosicky"  which delineates the farm as a refuge from human strife:  "In the country, if you had a mean neighbour, you could keep off his land and make him keep off yours. But in the city, all the foulness and misery and brutality of your neighbours was part of your life. The worst things he [Rosicky] had come upon in his journey through the world were human, — depraved and poisonous specimens of man." 

The  pioneers, most of whom were immigrants, fled the political and social oppression of the  Old World that regarded them as serfs whose lives were dictated by the whims of the over class.  On their American homesteads they found freedom from that oppression through the rewards of their own labor and the independence of self-sufficiency in which they were beholden to no one else.  This quest for freedom and independence formed the basis for the general farm which provided all the  necessities for life through the variety of crops, produce, and livestock raised on it.  But that freedom and independence was paid for by constant, arduous work that involved the entire family.  The children of those farms felt confined and oppressed by that work.  An old quip expresses their perspective:  nothing sends young men off the farm like working in the hay mow on a 90-degree day.  


During the time electricity was brought to rural America, people who wanted the convenience were frustrated by those who didn't.  To many farmers, that electric line into their farm represented a thread that could bring a rope of dependency and indebtedness to the farm.  It was a threat to self-rule and self-sufficiency that to the pioneers was the purpose of the farms they built.  There are stories about the first electric lines being run only to the milking barn so that farmers could get light on their pre-dawn milking more efficiently, but kept their household free of that symbolic bond.  Lighting the house with lanterns and candles kept alive the self-suffiiciency and independence, and if the worst happened, that eelectric wire to the barn could be dispensed with and the family could rise a little earlier to fill and light the  lantern for milking.  

From the outset on the American farm, there was that inherent conflict between maintaining the freedom of independent self-suffiency and the quest for ways to ease the burden of constant labor and attendance to the animals.  The chores required to feed and care for the livestock were demanding and confining.  As a youth who spent summers on the farm of two bachelor uncles,  I knew the routine, as they milked twice a day,  tended to the steers on feed twice a day, fed pigs, fed chickens and gathered eggs, and did all those chores involved in keeping the farmstead running.   And there was a large garden with a small orchard to attend, as well as the rows of potatoes planted on the edge of a cornfield. The work was constant and unrelenting.  Other farm relatives had family members and hired hands with whom they could arrange for a little time off.  My bachelor uncles, who purchased their farm with World War I military  bonuses providing a down payment,  did it all themselves.  That is a major reason they were bachelors.  They had no time or opportunity to socialize.  

To manage a life that included  something other than constant work, farmers gave up general farming and focused their efforts on specialties.  In order to have lives that provided time for family activities, especially as children became acitive in school events,  they gave up livestock.  Most of the farmers in my family quit milking, but kept a cow to provide milk for the family.  But soon it became a nuisance to  care for a cow twice a day when buying milk was more convenient and economical.  Farmers in my family continued to raise crops for feeding cattle and hogs.  They adjusted their herds according to the markets and made their decisions by a daily perusal of the Drovers' Journal,  a newspaper that tracked and analyzed the markets.  However, when the International Livestock Yards in Chicago closed and ended competitive bidding by packers,  farmers sold ttheir livestock to the packing plants nearest to them.  Soon they began selling by contract, which locked in a price they received for their animals.  This was a major step toward integrating farms into the corporate scheme of production.  

The contracts also made it convenient to specialize in the raising of cattle or hogs  or poultry and eliminated the task of studying maket trends.  The focus on a few crops and a livestock speciality freed up time, but at the same time relinquished self-sufficiency and integrated farms into the corporate economy.  Those farmers who continued more general operations with multiple crops and livestock found it necessary to gear their operations with food processors to market their products and receive a sufficient financial return.   As farming became more closely enmeshed with the corporations who bought and used its products and supplied planting and harvesting materials and machines,  farming became less and less operated for independence and self-sufficiency and more dependent on corporations to supply farming needs and sell farming output.  The term family farm names a concept of the sentimental past, not the actual agribusiness of the present.  

In looking for ways to ease the burden of labor required for full independence and self-sufficiency,  farmers over the years conceded  some independence for labor-saving convenience.  But just as those earlier farmers  feared that an electric line to their farmsteads would make them servants to the electric companies in paying for the service, the subservience of farmers to corporations who supplied their farming materials and were the market for their products became a fact.   The farm crisis of the 1980s was a matter of the debt that farmers owed to corporations.  

The South Dakota Dept. of Agriculture boasts on its website that 98% of South Dakota farms are family owned and South Dakota has approximately 5 beef cattle for every state resident.  Those slogan claims cover over the trends affecting agriculture in the state.  The integration of agricutture into factory cropping is evident in the decreasing number of farms in the state.  In 1974, the state had 45,000 farms which averaged 1,011 acres.  By 2014 the number was 31,700 farms averaging 1,366 acres.  During that time period the state lost its ranking as one of the two largest sheep producing states,  and a change in cropping from an emphasis on wheat to corn and soybean production gown largely for the making of bio-fuels.  That change is reflected in my commute from Aberdeen to Tacoma Park through a landscape covered with corn and soybeans, all Roundup ready, and only rare sightings of livestock.

South Dakota is the eighth largest producer of beef cattle with a current population of 3,700,000 head.  However, it participates in the overall trend for beef cattle.  Beef  prices are up, with cattle numbers dwindling.  Beef producers fear that the high prices is sending consumers to lower priced alternatives.    Agweb gives the prognosis:


America’s cow herd is the smallest (29 million) in 60 years, with a total cattle inventory of 87.7 million, which is also the lowest level since Harry Truman was president. Those short supplies produced roughly 24.4 billion pounds of beef in 2014, a 5.2 percent decline from 2013 and the smallest annual slaughter since 1994. Total steer and heifer slaughter in 2014 is projected to be the lowest since 1968.
As the beef packer in Aberdeen begins its second attempt to process cattle,  it faces a market that is pricey and a cattle supply that is dwindling.  General farmers could raise and lower their livestock inventories according to the markets, but the specialized cropping does not leave many  farers with that alternative.  The higher prices for cattle are not attracting producers to increase herds or get back into production because their land and facilities are committed to single purposes.  The cattle are  not on the land.  Those commutes through the farmland are lonely.  


The old farmstead











The new farmstead





  























Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Follow the Chinese money to the Manchurian candidates in South Dakota

The Dakota Free Press has a raging thread going on that reveals why corruption is so successful in South Dakota.  It reported on Bob Mercer's newspaper report that the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services has notified the state that it is disqualifying South Dakota from participation in the EB-5 program because of corrupt practices.  In response to Cory Heidelberger's post,  some GOP loyalists say his liberal bias disqualifies everything he reports as anti-conservative speculation.  One commenter insists that there are no crimes involved outside of Cory's speculations because no charges have been filed against specific  persons.  If there were any substance to the accusations of corruption, the misinformation and illogic contends, there would be charges filed.  The argument states that some of the revealed incidents might be  unethical, but a violation of ethics is not a crime.  Therefore, the accusations of corruption in state government are without foundation.
_________________________________________________________________________

Corruption
1 having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain: unscrupulous logging companies assisted by corrupt officials.
• evil or morally depraved: the play can do no harm since its audience is already corrupt.
archaic (of organic or inorganic matter) in a state of decay; rotten or putrid: a corrupt and rotting corpse.

_________________________________________________________________________________

The twisted response to the Dakota Free Press assails the idea constantly expressed in blogs that the single-party government that has ruled South Dakota for decades has established a regime that practices and encourages corruption and has put in place a bureaucracy that serves the interests of greed and perfidy held by the party leadership.  Under the Janklow administration, the law which gives officials the right to withhold from the public information about state collusions with private corporations was bolstered.    Legislation carried in the legislature for Janklow by Mike Rounds made it a crime for any state official to reveal when a corporation involved with the state was under investigation--the infamous Gag Law.   What seems to rankle the GOP loyalists most is the implication that a plurality of voters has kept in place a regime that represents the values of the plurality, which is that any way to make money is encouraged and the prime, motivating human values are greed and perfidy.  

The defense of greed and perfidy is articulated by the conservative comments on the Free Press blog, with a thread of more than 300 comments.  What is disconcerting to outside observers is that the defense of nefarious activity takes on the aspect of  representing the dominant culture of the state.  In other words,  state government is corrupt because a majority of the people condone corruption.  

The deniers contend that the record of perfidious transactions and missing money do not denote corruption.  They further contend that the failure of the state or the U.S. Dept. of Justice to file criminal charges absolves the state of any accusations of corruption.  

Over the course of the developments of the EB-5 scam,  one of the commenters has insisted that the loss of over a hundred million dollars by Asian investors is business as usual for South Dakota.  He said the Chinese investors knew that their investments were a risk and what happened to them is not a consideration.  It is just business.

However, the investors do not share that attitude.  They understood that they were investing venture capital for which there is the risk of failure, but they also expected that a state-sponsored agency would not be involved in embezzlement and fraud. Or that a program would be run in such a way that the money could not be accounted for.  And it is in that expectation that the impetus for the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services to ban South Dakota from participation in any further EB-5 activity arises.

Northern State University has a long relationship with Chinese nationals.  (I have been these adviser for Chinese graduate students.)  While the press has not covered what has happened to the Chines and Korean EB-5 investors or how they have responded to the failure of Northern Beef Packers, it is difficult to be associated with NSU and not be aware of of the concerns  of those investors.  With the establishment of the Confucius Institute on the Northern campus,  the relationship with the Chinese is closer and more sensitive to factors that affect it.  The bilking of investors cannot be ignored, and the pressure exerted to obtain an accounting of how the investments were handled is a constant presence.  The U. S  Immigration and Citizenship Services is the agency on which those concerns are registered.   It has an ombudsman to help resolve issues that confront holders and applicants for green cards.   The status of green cards for the EB-5 investors is an obvious and serious factor that the agency must deal with, although it is an issue seldom mentioned in reports and discussions of the EB-5 debacle.  Consequently, it is also of concern to Northern State University which has developed an important relationship with China.    The State of South Dakota and the Justiice Department may decline, for whatever reasons, to pursue the evidence, but the people who have invited Chinese and Korean interest cannot so easily dismiss the obligation to provide honesty and frankness in their dealings.

The denial of responsibility for any wrong-doing to people of the state and the EB-5 investors is a matter of basic cultural values.  The revelation of how deeply and firmly that bilking, perfidy, greed, and dishonesty has been ingrained in a portion of the population as a legitimate business activity is cause for alarm.  It raises the question of why anyone would do business in a state governed by such principles.  

The Dakota Free Press gives an outline of the political dividing  points in South Dakota and portrays a conservative mental attitude that possesses much of the American right wing.  The Godfather and The Sopranos may be good stories,  but some people regard these tales of the mafia as scriptural dicta.  A large portion of the South Dakota population has been conditioned as Manchurian candidates to not only condone predatory financial schemes but to encourage and facilitate them.  

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The guns of autumn, the raids on education

The guns of autumn have taken on an ominous significance in South Dakota.  In October of 2013, Richard Benda told friends and family he was going pheasant hunting. On Sunday, the 20th, he went to Lake Andes to the  farm of his sister and brother-in-law.  On the 22nd of that month, his brother-in-law found his body on an abandoned farmstead nearby.  The attorney general's office officially termed the death a suicide, although decisions and statements coming from Pierre are notoriously untrustworthy. The official report said he died of a self-inflicted shotgun blast to the stomach.  


The abandoned farmstead where Richard Benda's body was found. 
Benda's death triggered the release of information about an economic development program he was involved in with the Governor's Office of Economic Development,  the EB-5 investors, Northern Beef Packers, and the South Dakota Regional Center.  Benda has been accused of embezzling money  about which number of people had knowledge and complicity.  But the powers that have arranged to bury those complications in the copse of autumn trees where Benda's life ended.


In the early hours of the morning of Thursday, Sept. 17, firemen were dispatched to the $1.3 million home of the Scott Westerhuis family near Platte.  They found six bodies in the smoldering ruins.  Scott, his wife, Nicole, and their four children, Michael, 16, Connor, 14, Jaeci, 10, and Kailey, 9, were all found dead by shotgun blast.  The Attorney General's official statement said Scott killed off his family,  set the house on fire and then turned the gun on himself.   




The ashes of the Westerhuis house where the family's six bodies were found.





These deaths, too, prompted the release of information about financial dealings.  Scott Westerhuis was the business manager for the  Mid-Central Education Cooperative and Nicole was assistant business manager.  Hours before the massacre and arson, the cooperative had been notified by the state Department of Education that a contract for administering a $4.3 milion federal grant with the co=operative was being canceled.  Records from administration of the  grant show officials listed as consulting administrators with high stipends and the creation of a layer of non-profit corporations to implement the grant to prepare American Indian youth for college. Audits of the grant raised questions about the administration of the grant, but the specific points of examination that raised the question have not been explained.    The cancellation of the contract leaves the GEAR UP program for the native American youth in limbo. 

To experienced academics who have obtained and administered grants, the numerous and exorbitant consulting fees, the layers of non-profit corporations to administer the grant, and vague accounting of just what was being paid for are incomprehensible.  The target benefactors of the grant are young native American students who the interest and ability to go to college and to provide them with educational experiences and skills that will enable to get into and succeed in college.  The questions that immediately occur to bona fide mentors are just what kind of academic program was devised for these students and what percentage of money was directly expended on the students?  The administrative arrangement appears to be an obvious scheme to bleed off the funds through an elaborately contrived system of graft.  


What the EB-5 scheme and the  Mid-Central Education Cooperative have in common is that educational programs is that they used educational cover to manipulate money from government programs into the private pockets.  The EB-5 scheme had its origins in the South Dakota International Business Institute at Northern State U.  Faulty both on that campus and its sister institutions questioned just how the activities of the SDIBI benefitted involved academic research and benefitted students.  The question was never answered. However, a new president at NSU apparently asked just how money from the university budget for the SDIBI was applied to educational purposes and found that actually was not.  So, he ended the program as part of the university and its director moved off the campus into the offices of the Aberdeen Development Corporation and took all the records which purported to show what the program was doing with him.  While the university was not involved, the director of the program was able to write a contract with himself to establish the South Dakota Regional Center which recruited and collected the EB-5 investments from Korean and Chinese investors.  In doing so, he did things, including getting sued, under the cover of the Board of Regents in a messy tangle of financial manipulations.  The South Dakota Gojvernor's Office of Economic Development and the Board of Regents have managed to maneuver and obfuscate evade any accountability for the schemes that w ere hatched in the name of education and the taxpayers of South Dakota.


The Mid-Central Education Cooperative was  not so wily in setting up GEAR  UP program.   Audits turned up suspicious items that apparently the cooperative could not explain and, as with the EB-5 affair, ended in a blaze of shotgun fire and suicide.  


The pattern of scamming education is not peculiar to South Dakota.  The former superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Public Schools and her cronies got caught doing the same kind of thing.  Rather than choose suicide,  she is pleading guilty.  And rather than cover up the scheme, as is possible in South Dakota,  the U.S. attorney is prosecuting.  




Barbara Byrd-Bennett, 66, the former Chicago Public Schools CEO and superintendent, was charged with 15 counts of mail fraud and five counts of wire fraud. She was cooperating with prosecutors and has agreed to plead guilty, 
U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon said during a press briefing. Fardon said Byrd-Bennett abused her position "to line her own pockets and those of her co-defendants." The indictment says the scheme netted Byrd-Bennett and her two co-defendants about $2 million in cash and other valuables, which prosecutors will seek to recover. Byrd-Bennett helped her former employer, an educational training and consulting collective, secure lucrative no-bid contracts for city schools, according to the indictment. In exchange, Byrd-Bennett received hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks, which the collective disguised by funneling them into bank accounts set up under the names of Byrd-Bennett's relatives, the indictment alleges.  
The educational collective lavished the former schools chief with perks, including meals, travel and sports tickets, and promised her another job with more kickbacks disguised as a signing bonus after she stepped down from from the superintendent's post, the indictment says. 

  
The big difference between corruption in Chicago and South Dakota is that in 

Chicago it gets exposed land prosecuted.

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