We all heard the news today;

Hultgren Construction has been sentenced to one-year probation for “willful violation of the OSHA Act, causing death to an employee.” The company pleaded guilty to the federal misdemeanor in September.

They were also issued a $50 fine (which I doubt they will pay since the LLC is bankrupt).

While I could go on about worker safety laws in SD and even nationally and the lack of any local investigation of the collapse, I want to talk about something else; How easy it is to form and dissolve LLC’s in SD, something our MSM in SD needs to dig in a little;

To dissolve your Limited Liability Company in South Dakota, there is a $10 filing fee required.

I believe the charge to form an LLC with the state is around $150.

While Hultgren and others involved with this mess are paying a separate settlement, the LLC’s that were formed and dissolved throughout this have protected ‘the people’ involved.

I know I have beat this dead horse before, but our state legislature is a joke. Only in SD we would find it appropriate to charge people with a crime for ingestion, think industrial hemp is recreational pot, but if someone collapses a building do to negligence and kills a person, they walk away with NO jail and a $50 fine.

We need to start lawfully connecting LLC’s to ‘PEOPLE’. You know, the people who own them. An LLC is just a piece of paper, it can’t kill anyone on it’s own.

I would hope our legislature would revisit our LLC laws, but since a lot of the members probably own a lot of LLC’s themselves, I won’t hold my breath. Another sad, sad, sad day for justice and workers in South Dakota.

By l3wis

4 thoughts on “It’s hard to charge a bankrupt LLC with a crime in South Dakota”
  1. In late December of 2016, or early January of 2017, McGowan claimed that he was waiting for OSHA before he would act, yet, he also made a comment at that time, which both KELO and Argus covered, that he couldn’t file charges against a LLC for negligence. Then he went into this very confusing and overlapping discussion about civil tort law and criminal law.

    Now, some three years later, with greater knowledge concerning the local State’s Attorney office, that interview really doesn’t surprise me, but why can’t the state, with or without McGowan and assuming that the statue of limitations is not an issue, not now press charges, or at least hold a grand jury, into the question of whether, IMO, Hultgren without proper permits and through his bragging on Facebook about taking down a load bearing wall could be charged, or at least further investigated for criminal negligence?

    Hultgren as other investors may be agents of the involved LLC, but does a LLC really give the ultimate protection?

    In my opinion, the state needs to act, there is possible criminal negligence involving this case and no LLC protections have such a far reaching hand and safe haven in my opinion. Rather, this current LLC duck and cover argument speaks more to the lack of guts on the part of the state to act, than any state act offering such blanketing protection.

  2. “50 Bucks?”…”Just 50 Bucks?”…”Hell, you can’t even feed a family of four at Culvers for 50 Bucks”…..

  3. An LLC is a joke. It’s the best way to blame someone else but there is no someone else. One can use an LLC to open a business bank account and (basically) launder money into personal. It’s also a good place to hide money from a personal lawsuit. One keeps the LLC account but doesn’t pay the annual $50 and it becomes dissolved. It’s a mass of paperwork for the state that releases anyone from liability in court. When a lawsuit is lost, start a new LLC and proceed as if nothing ever happened.

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