South Dakota's school to prison pipeline began in 1983 when Republican Governor Bill Janklow concocted a plan to convert the University of South Dakota at Springfield into a prison. Then the state killed Gina Score in a boot camp, ended environmental protection and accelerated the red moocher state's descent into the hellish chemical toilet it is today.
On December 21, 2013 Brady Folkens of Brookings died in state custody after a botched diagnosis at the former State Treatment and Rehabilitation (STAR) Academy in a county named for a war criminal then the State of South Dakota's Office of Risk Management helped to bury the evidence of negligent homicide.
This case stank from the very beginning. Every Republican from former Governor Denny Daugaard's lawyer, Jim Seward to Lieutenant Governor Matt Michels, an Avera lawyer, is involved in obstruction of justice. In the absence of adequate news coverage by South Dakota media ignoring Brady's wrongful death this blog had urged his mother, Dawn Van Ballegooyen, to attach a lien to the property where he was misdiagnosed.
After a public outcry the death camp was shuttered and the sprawling property south of town sold at auction for the minimum bid of $2.34 million. The buyers were a group of investors represented at the sale by real estate agent and former mayor Jared Carson but have since defaulted on their commitment. The State of South Dakota remains committed to dumping the stigmatized property. STAR Academy's predecessors, South Dakota Tuberculosis Sanatorium and Custer State Hospital at Sanator have macabre histories of their own.
Stabbed in the back by South Dakota's corrupt medical board, physician whistleblower Dr. Lars Aanning continues to champion Van Ballegooyen's case.
Imagine trying to obtain legal counseling for the unexpected loss of your otherwise healthy 17-year old son whose death was blamed on a common childhood virus by the South Dakota authorities – and finally a lawyer you had visited in Watertown writes you a long letter recommending her lawyer friend in South Carolina? The trusting mother of Brady Folkens took the bait…
What Dawn van Ballegooyen didn’t know was that David Berry in Hilton Head SC was married to Nancy J. Turbak, aka as Nancy J. Turbak Berry and aka as Nancy J. Culhane. And Dawn only later suspected that Turbak and Berry were in on fix to hold the state corrections authorities (and the medical contractors) at STAR Academy in Custer SD innocent and not liable. And that this ingenuous fix was engineered and orchestrated by Craig Ambach of the Office of Risk Management.
Others involved in the cover-up include Robert Vandeventer PA and Robert Preston MD, both providing contract health to STAR; Steve Polchow from Corrections; Raed Sulaiman MD and Francisco Recalde MD from Avera McKennan; Gary Thimsen, the state’s contracted defense lawyer from Woods, Fuller, Schultz, and Smith in Sioux Falls, William Golden, the State’s attorney for South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners (SDBMOE); Marty Jackley, then Attorney General for South Dakota; and more. I never saw Berry do anything of benefit to Dawn in this case…
Despite Turbak’s being a Democrat as well as a personal injury lawyer, then-Gov. [Daugaard] appointed her on May 7, 2018, to the SDBMOE as a board member for, we believe, helping make Dawn’s case go south…
Surprise!!! Only one and a half years into a three-year term and Nancy J. Turbak is out – fired? Now-Gov. Noem replaced Turbak with Suzanne Veenis last October in 2019! Interesting and unusual that we have found no news releases for this appointment. Anyway, Turbak now joins Jackley as another loser in this cover-up… [Dr. Lars Aanning, Another Cover-Upper Strikes Out!!!]