Governor Doug Burgum aware of data center developer’s dark past


BISMARCK, ND (AP) — Governor Doug Burgum knew about the troubled past of a businessman involved in building a $1.9 billion data center in northwest North Dakota , a spokesperson said on Friday.

Montana-based FX Solutions chairman Richard Tabish was convicted and later acquitted of murdering a Las Vegas casino executive more than two decades ago.

On Wednesday, Burgum hailed the center built by Tabish’s company and operated by Montana-based Atlas Power as one of the largest such centers in the world, and one that will help diversify the economy in the Williston area. which has gone through oil boom cycles. for decades.

Data center uses include mining bitcoins and other digital currencies. Atlas Power currently operates a 75 megawatt data center in Butte, Montana. The Atlas-owned North Dakota data center would be nearly 10 times larger than the Montana facility when completed.

“Yes, we knew about Rick’s background, including his parole in 2010,” Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki said in a statement. “He has done business in North Dakota for over a decade without incident to our knowledge, including with a number of oil and gas companies.”

Nowatzki said Tabish has businesses that specialize in oilfield spill cleanup and waste disposal in the oil-producing region of western North Dakota.

Tabish, who lives in Missoula, Montana, did not immediately return an email for comment on Friday.

Tabish gained notoriety during his 2000 Las Vegas murder trial, when he and co-defendant Sandra Murphy were convicted of murdering 55-year-old Ted Binion at his Las Vegas home in 1998 and stealing his safe.

Prosecutors said the motive was a piece of Binion’s $55 million estate and a cache of more than $5 million in silver bullion and coins that Binion had buried in an underground vault in the desert.

Prosecutors alleged that Murphy and Tabish forced Binion to ingest lethal levels of heroin and the antidepressant Xanax before choking him.

Tabish and Murphy were later acquitted of murder charges in 2004 after the Nevada Supreme Court granted a new trial. The second jury found them guilty of charges related to stealing money.

Murphy was released for time already served. Tabish was granted parole in 2010.

The Republican governor’s office said the project received no state grants or loans, but may qualify for a sales tax exemption allowed by state law.

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