Meeting with Governor Kristi Noem, her daughter and employees of the state labor and regulatory authorities
CNN has no way of checking what happened at the meeting, and Noem’s office has denied any wrongdoing. However, according to The Associated Press, Noem’s daughter Kassidy Peters was facing denial of her certification when the meeting took place. Peters was approved to do so a few months later.
Applicants for home appraisal certification “must demonstrate they can conduct assessments according to national standards by taking advantage of 200 hours of classroom instruction and months of experience,” the AP reports. By November 2020, Peters has met additional licensing requirements and been certified, Dawn Dovre, the public affairs director for the Department of Labor and Regulation, said in an email to CNN.
On Wednesday, Noem tweeted that she “never asked for special treatment for Kassidy. Others went through the same process as Kassidy.”
“Here are the facts: I’ve heard for years how difficult it is to become a surveyor in South Dakota, which makes it harder for South Dakotans to buy a home,” she continued. “I’ve worked for years to improve this process and I signed a law to that effect in the previous session.”
Sherry Bren, the former executive director of the South Dakota Appraiser Certification Program, shared her responses to the AP’s questions with CNN, saying she received a text message and an email from her manager asking her to go to the office of the Governors go to meeting on the morning of July 27, 2020 to discuss certification procedures for the state’s appraisers.
Bren did not want to comment on the content of the meeting or Peters’ application.
Attended the meeting were Noem, Peters, Noem’s former chief of staff Tony Venhuizen and Noem’s former legal advisor Tom Hart, as well as South Dakota Secretary of Labor Marcia Hultman, Bren’s supervisor and director of labor and management, Amber Mulder, and senior attorney Graham. share Oey, according to Bren. Bren said Oey and Venhuizen took part by phone.
Bren left the agency in March after filing an age discrimination complaint in late December and receiving $ 200,000 in severance pay to withdraw her claim.
“The Associated Press denigrates the governor’s daughter in order to politically attack the governor – no wonder America’s media trust has never been lower. South Dakota is open to doing business to stand in the way of South Dakota’s continued economic growth, “Noem’s communications director Ian Fury said in a statement to CNN.” Having more quality appraisers in the market will help keep our housing market moving and house prices remain low. “
In a statement to CNN, Hultman said, “Kassidy Peters went through the same process as other reviewers. There was no refusal. Ms. Peters qualified for approval and was subsequently certified in November.”
According to the Associated Press report, the attorney general and a senator said the matter is being reviewed.
South Dakota Republican Jason Ravnsborg said in a statement to CNN on Wednesday, “I have been contacted by concerned citizens and lawmakers. I will actively examine your concerns and will follow the steps prescribed in codified law on these questions. “
South Dakota State Senator Kyle Schoenfish, also a Republican, told CNN via email that “the issue will be put on the agenda for the next GOAC.” [Government Operations and Audit Committee] Meeting planned from October 27th to 28th. “
CNN has also reached out to Peters, Mulder, Oey, Hart, Venhuizen, and South Dakota Appraiser Certification Program Director Scott Amundson for comment.
Peters told the AP in a statement that her “upgrade to certified home surveyor was very tedious and I was expected to overcome many obstacles from the start,” she said. “I’m glad I have it now and have the privilege of serving my clients in South Dakota.”
CNN’s Jaide Timm-Garcia and Leslie Perrot contributed to this report.