South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem took to social media to deny that there was anything improper about a meeting she held last year with her daughter, Kassidy Peters, and the head of a state office that had decided to deny Petersâ application to become a certified real estate appraiser — then reversed its decision months after the meeting.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 27: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem addresses the Conservative Political … [+] Action Conference held in the Hyatt Regency on February 27, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. Begun in 1974, CPAC brings together conservative organizations, activists, and world leaders to discuss issues important to them. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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In the nearly three-minute video posted on Noemâs YouTube channel, the governor denied that she asked for âspecial treatmentâ for Peters and said her daughter âfollowed all the same steps as other appraisersâ such as undergoing 200 hours of appraisal education and passing exams under the Appraiser Qualifications Board.
Noem also claimed she had been working to fix the âbrokenâ system of the real estate appraiser certification process for years, which she said had extended wait times for South Dakota residents trying to get a home in the state.
She implied that Sherry Bren, head of the South Dakota Appraiser Certification Program â” who claims she was pressured to retire last year after meeting with the governor â” had been a part of that system, and that efforts to streamline the certification process were unsuccessful under her tenure.
Noem did not say what transpired during the meeting between her, Peters and Bren.
Noem told Bren to come to her office for a meeting a few days after the South Dakota Appraiser Certification Program had moved to deny Petersâ application for the license, according to the Associated Press. Four months after the meeting, Peters received the license. One week after Peters was certified, the labor secretary reportedly called Bren to demand her retirement. Bren filed an age discrimination complaint against the department. She eventually left her position in March and withdrew her complaint after the state paid her $200,000. In response to the report, a spokesperson for Noem said âAssociated Press is disparaging the Governorâs daughterâ in an effort to âattack the Governor politically.â The state Department of Labor and Regulation has maintained Petersâ application was never denied.
The state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg and state lawmakers have said they will look into the meeting. The state legislatureâs Government Operations and Audit Committee will examine the matter at the end of October.
One South Dakota lawmaker, Rep. Erin Healy has accused Noem of âcorruption,â saying on Twitter, âour tax dollars should never be spent on $200,000 bribes to cover the Governor’s and DOL’s wrongdoing.â She claims the meeting between Noem, Peters and Bren appears to be âa serious offenseâ and âshould be investigated thoroughly.â
As daughter sought state license, Noem summoned agency head (Associated Press)
South Dakota AG reviewing Noemâs meeting with daughter (Associated Press)