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A veteran South Dakota lawmaker worries the state is choosing money over morality with the growing secrecy and tax evasion of the powerful trust industry.
“Having any publicity, as far as they’re concerned that doesn’t come from them, they don’t want it,” Rep. Susan Wismer said in an interview with Dolcefino Consulting.
Rep. Susan Wismer spoke out on the growing controversy involving a Texas divorce case and how South Dakota law may cheat a wife of 30 years.
Texas billionaire Ed Bosarge moved upwards of $2.3 billion into secretive South Dakota trusts without Marie Bosarge knowing, everything from French chateaus to the sponges in the kitchen of their huge Texas mansion.
Now, she’s fighting in courts in Houston and Sioux Falls to get her rightful share of the money they made in their 30-year marriage.
“It’s community property. It’s fifty-fifty. I want what’s fair. It’s my money too, you know. That’s what’s so frustrating,” said Marie Bosarge.
CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, even international publications have raised questions about the high-stakes divorce case and the way the rich, like Houston billionaire Ed Bosarge, are using South Dakota tax laws to hide their fortunes.
Last year, the Chief Justice of the South Dakota Supreme Court said $3.2 trillion is now being hidden in South Dakota from taxation, and sometimes even from family members.
“I’m offended that South Dakota’s trust laws are being used by anyone, but rich people to avoid their familial responsibilities that they wouldn’t be able to evade if South Dakota hadn’t created this little trust empire here,” Wismer said.
The Texas judge in the Bosarge case has warned Ed Bosarge’s lawyers that he won’t let South Dakota law deprive a wife of her legal share.
“I don’t think the laws of South Dakota, the State of Texas or anything that we might imagine somehow frees him of an obligation that he has undertaken at the time he married Mrs. Bosarge,” said Judge Clinton Wells in a court hearing before the Coronavirus pandemic shut down the Harris County courthouse.
Ed Bosarge showed up in a wheelchair for his deposition and his lawyers claimed last month he had the Coronavirus, but pictures in a culture magazine showed him at dinner a few nights ago with the young Russian girlfriend he apparently left his wife for.
“I think that if the majority of South Dakota legislators were aware of this some of these more egregious cases it might help us but the brakes on this industry a little bit,” Wismer said.
The shutdown of Houston courts has delayed the trial until later this year, but Wismer hopes the publicity surrounding the case will wake up her colleagues at the State Capitol.
“I think it’s important that the South Dakota legislature become aware of this issue and consider the real time, real life consequences to people around the country of, of their actions,” Wismer said.
“I do not think South Dakotans want their state to be used by every person who wants to cheat his partner out of money, but if Marie loses her fight that is exactly what could happen,” said Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “No woman would be safe.”
The Wismer interview is part of an investigative report by Dolcefino Consulting called “South Dakota’s Little Secret”.