Dan Ahlers, 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.”
Dan 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,’” Dan 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 Bosarge’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 Bosarge 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,” Dan 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 Dan 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,” Dan Ahlers said.
Dan 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.
Billionaire Ed Bosarge has made headlines in CNBC, The Wall Street Journal and international publications for trying to cheat his wife of 30 years out of her fair share. This is the latest release in the Ed and Marie Bosarge divorce unfolding in South Dakota and Houston.
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 mansions they own to 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”.