Official: Noem's Daughter Received Special Treatment

She says Noem's daughter was given a third chance to obtain a real estate license
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 14, 2021 5:09 PM CST
Official: Noem's Daughter Received Special Treatment
Sherry Bren, the former director of South Dakota's Appraiser Certification Program, speaks to a legislative committee Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in Pierre, SD.   (AP Photo/Stephen Groves)

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s daughter received unusual treatment in an application for her real estate license, including an extra opportunity to obtain it after failing to meet federal requirements, the former director of a state appraiser agency told lawmakers Tuesday. Sherry Bren's testimony before a legislative panel was the first time that she has spoken in depth in public about Kassidy Peters' application and about a meeting that her mother called last year to discuss the appraisal process, the AP reports. The panel began looking into the July 2020 meeting at the governor's mansion after the AP first reported on it in September.

Noem called the meeting a week after the state's Appraiser Certification Program notified her daughter that her application was headed for denial. Peters ultimately obtained the certification four months later, in November 2020, and Bren said she was subsequently "forced to retire" from a program that she had led since its inception in 1991. Bren testified that she felt "very nervous, and, quite frankly, intimidated" at the July meeting, where she said Peters’ unsuccessful application was discussed in detail and a plan was formulated that gave her another chance to apply. Bren said that she could not remember the agency forming what's called a “stipulation agreement” for any other appraiser at that point in their application.

She said it broke with established procedures, giving Peters a third chance to pass a work review; applicants are usually granted two opportunities. Bren’s appearance was compelled by subpoena. After retiring, she filed an age discrimination lawsuit and accepted a $200,000 settlement that bars her from disparaging state officials. Several lawmakers said they would like to see the state remove the nondisparagement clause from Bren's agreement because it would let them get more information. Noem has denied wrongdoing, casting her actions as an effort to cut red tape to address a shortage of appraisers.

(Read more Kristi Noem stories.)

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