Argus Libel Case Going To Trial

Ths South Dakota Supreme court has refused the Sioux Falls Argus Leader’s request to dismiss the libel lawsuit brought forward by Former Sioux Falls Development Foundation President Dan Scott. The case over a Randell Beck column now heads to court and for those that do not remember the column that Beck and the Argus claim to be satire, I have reprinted it below as it is no longer available online.

Divisively arrogant: Dan Scott’s apology
By Randell Beck
email address redacted
Published: July 15, 2007

News item: Dan Scott of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation,
under fire for comments directed toward out-of-state lawmakers, has
said his remarks were taken out of context.

Speaking at a June 15 breakfast, sponsored by the Sioux Falls
Area Chamber of Commerce for lawmakers from across the state, Scott
stressed the importance of helping Sioux Falls develop. If they don’t,
Scott said, “Stay out of the way, will you? We’ve got a city to build!”

Some public officials across the state characterized the remark
as divisive and arrogant. Seeking to mend fences, members of the
foundation’s board asked Scott to write a letter of apology to

Scott’s letter, dated July 5, is available at Or you can read a reasonable facsimile right here.

To: South Dakota Legislators

From: Dan Scott, Sioux Falls Development Foundation

You may have read an article in the Argus Leader blatantly
misquoting my remarks at a recent Chamber of Commerce breakfast for
out-of-state lawmakers.

You know how that newspaper is, so you won’t be surprised to
learn that when I said, “Stay out of the way, will you? We’ve got a
city to build,” I was, uh, let’s see, I was really talking about
legislators in NORTH Dakota. Yeah, that’s it! North Dakota. That was
obvious to everybody, and even though I am not admitting I said
anything like that, leave it to the Argus Leader to put a negative spin
on it.

Well, after the Argus Leader misquoted me saying what I’m not
admitting I actually said, the whole thing blew up. Now my job is on
the line. A few hicks from small towns with zero hope of ever having a
strip mall or a river walk complained about what I said – even though I
didn’t say it – and now the money boys in town are squeezing me hard.
They told me I had to apologize to you, which I’m not officially doing
in this letter, because I did nothing to apologize for, even though I’m
hoping people are dumb enough to think I’m apologizing, which I’m not.

Here in the golden city of Sioux Falls, we’re pretty darn proud
of our success. Let’s be honest: We have more money, better jobs and
nicer houses than other towns. Even the governor, who lives in one of
those towns, has called us the “economic engine” of the state. As I
like to say, an engine doesn’t get very far without other important
stuff – like, oh, the glove box or cup holders. If we didn’t think the
small towns of South Dakota were important, we wouldn’t have launched
our campaign to persuade young people to leave them and move to Sioux
Falls so they can get better jobs, more money and nicer houses.

Here in the shining city of Sioux Falls, we’ve been bellyaching
privately for a long time that the state Legislature is dominated by
people like you from small towns who don’t care a whit about our little
slice of paradise.

We finally got some of our guys into leadership positions in the
Legislature, and so we think we’ve got a decent chance to take over.
Our motto is: “What’s good for Sioux Falls is good for South Dakota.”
If political muscle doesn’t work and you still vote against bills that
give us a blank check to do anything we want, we may secede and move to

Oh, I’m just kidding on that one.

In conclusion, I feel certain we are all on the same page when it
comes to making this state a better place for our children and
grandchildren – as long as you speak reverently of Sioux Falls and
enthusiastically support everything we want. Because all of us are
public servants selflessly devoted to the common good, we are bound to
encounter an occasional disappointment along the way, such as being
misquoted and taken entirely out of context when I was clearly talking
trash about North Dakota lawmakers, not you. If I manage to keep my
job, I intend to work even harder in the future to brag about our good
fortune to live, work and play in a city like Sioux Falls.

Too bad you don’t.

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