Governor was found by a special legislative committee that investigated allegations of nepotism in South Dakota’s appraisal program. According to a new report, Kristi Noem’s child received preferential treatment when she obtained her appraisal license.
A draft report compiled by Dakota News Now and the Government Operations and Audit Committee (GOAC), outlines several findings. The report will be adopted by the committee later in the week.
After an Associated Press report indicated that Noem’s office intervened to assist Kassidy Peters’ daughter to become a certified real-estate appraiser, just days after her license was denied by the state’s appraisal department.
The report cites Sherry Bren (ex-director of the state’s appraisal program) and Marcia Hultman, Labor Secretary. The committee interviewed both of them.
According to the report, Peters agreed to correct training work inequalities by 2020 spring. Hultman modified the agreement and removed the requirement to receive additional training. This is, according to the report, the first time that the Dept. Hultman changed the agreement and removed the requirement for additional training. This is the first time that the Dept.
Peters was notified of the pending denial in July 2020. Bren was summoned to Noem’s cabinet meeting a week later. Bren stated that the governor said that South Dakota was the most difficult state for appraiser licensing and that she “intentioned to get to the root of this.” However the report says that South Dakota’s certification process has been no less challenging than other states.
Bren stated that she felt intimidated during the meeting. She was also asked questions about Peters’ appraisal training process. Hultman stated that this meeting was unusual and that she didn’t know of any other time when someone who was in training for a job, like Kassidy Peters had been invited to a meeting like the one on July 27, 2020.
Peters signed a stipulation contract ten days later. It outlined the steps she needed to obtain her appraisal certification. Bren stated that Peters was granted a “third opportunity” to obtain her license. This is not part the certification process. According to the report, Peters should have waited for the six-month required time before applying again.
According to the report, Bren said that she was forced by circumstances to retire in the spring of 2012. Bren filed an age discrimination case and was later awarded $200,000 by the state, which included a nondisparagement clause.