Bosarge Case Impacts South Dakota Senate Race

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The Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in South Dakota thinks the state has created a monster when it comes to South Dakota’s secretive $3 trillion trust industry.

“I don’t want South Dakota to be the equivalent of offshore accounts in other countries where people hide their money,” said Dan Ahlers. “I don’t want South Dakota to be known for that and I don’t think that’s the reputation that the people of South Dakota want.”

Ahlers was commenting on the growing national publicity surrounding the divorce of Ed and Marie Bosarge.  Marie’s lawyers claim Ed Bosarge fraudulently hid more than $2 billion in South Dakota trusts in an attempt to cheat her out of community property.

“It’s getting so much traction, so much publicity that we are now going to get a flood of people going ‘Hey, I can shirk my obligations by just moving everything to South Dakota and putting it into a trust,’” Ahlers said. “I would prefer that we do the right thing, that we respect decisions that are made in other states and that we are not a haven.”

Once the Houston courts reopen, a jury will decide if the Houston billionaire defrauded his wife. A South Dakota court has already rejected Marie’s claims. If 312th Family District Court Judge Chip Wells and a Harris County jury find that Ed Bosarge committed fraud and transferred money illegally into the South Dakota trusts, will South Dakota ensure that Marie is made whole?

“I don’t think the laws of South Dakota, the State of Texas or anything we might imagine somehow frees him of an obligation that he has undertaken at the time he married Mrs. Bosarge,” said Judge Chips Wells in a February 2020 hearing in Texas.

“Most of the legislators had no intent to allow people to skirt the law in other states. That would never have been our intent,” Ahlers said.

Many of the trust laws were amended while Senator Mike Rounds was South Dakota’s Governor. It is the secrecy of the South Dakota trusts that is worrying Ahlers.

“Open records are not important to him and haven’t been. He had to be taken to court just to get the names of the people who were invited to the pheasant hunt. Those were records that have always been open until he was Governor. These bills came from his Department of Revenue,” Ahlers said.

Ahlers also talked about the tax money being hidden in these South Dakota trusts.

“What’s the economic benefit to South Dakota other than allowing people to hide their money and in some cases potentially break the law in another state. I think that is the question that has to be asked locally,” Ahlers said.

The Rounds campaign did not respond to our request for comment. The members of the Governor’s trust task force have all refused comment.

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