South Dakota Senator Agrees to Pay Back More than $499K to State
UPDATE: Late Thursday (August 17), Castleberry resigned from the South Dakota Senate
A South Dakota Senator has finalized a plan to reimburse the state nearly $500,000 in COVID relief funds she received.
Republican Jessica Castleberry of Rapid City received a total of more than $600,000 from the South Dakota Department of Social Services for her preschool daycare centers in Rapid City.
Once that came to light, Governor Kristi Noem requested that Attorney General Marty Jackley investigate the funding, which violates the South Dakota Constitution prohibiting members of the state legislature from receiving such funds.
Thursday (August 17), Jackley's office announced that a repayment plan has been reached with Castleberry to pay back $499,129.79 to the state.
The remainder of the $600,000 ($104,100) will not be repaid.
In a statement, Jackley said:
'The investigation further determined that an additional $104,100, that has not been included, passed through directly to qualified needy families and their children, and not to the benefit of Senator Castleberry. The investigation did not reveal any abuse in Senator Castleberry’s expenditure of the $603,229.79 in funds, and all funds were spent for DSS approved purposes.'