Can’t Get Your South Dakota Real Estate Appraiser Certification? Call Your Mommy The Governor To Bully State Licensing Officials
What do you do if you can’t get certified as a South Dakota real estate appraiser?
You call your mommy thebeauty pageant contestant turned governor. That’s exactly what Kassidy Peters did. The 26 year-old Peters is the daughter of South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.
Just days after a South Dakota agency denied Peters’ application to become a real estate appraiser, Gov. Kristi Noem summoned the agency head and the woman’s direct supervisor to her office. She also summoned the state labor secretary.
Noem’s daughter attended too. Peters soon received her license.
Soon after the meeting, the labor secretary demanded agency head Sherry Bren retire. Bren later filed an age discrimination against the department.
Bren ultimately left her job this past March. However, that was after the state paid her $200,000 to withdraw the complaint.
Exactly what transpired at the meeting on July 27, 2020 isn´t clear.
Noem declined an interview request and her office declined to answer detailed questions about the meeting.
Did Governor Noem Know That Her Actions Were a Conflict Of Interest?
You can tell by the response the governor’s spokesman Ian Fury gave to an Associated Press reporter:
Government ethics experts who reviewed the situation agreed. They state Noem’s decision to include her daughter in the meeting created a conflict of interest.
Former White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter stated:
What Do South Dakota Real Estate Appraisers To Get Their Real Estate Appraiser Certification?
It’s not an easy hurdle. Applicants must show they can perform appraisals to national standards. they also have to put in 200 hours of classroom education and months of experience.
Trainees make as little as $10 an hour. However, certified residential appraisers can open their own businesses and can make more than $50,000 a year.
Peters applied to become a Certified Residential appraiser in September 2019.
The Appraiser Certification Program moved to deny the license in July 2020.
The state denied Peters’certification because her work samples didn’t meet minimum compliance with national standards.
Kassidy Peters Gets Her Real Estate Appraiser Certification Denied And Runs To Mommy!
Sherry Bren had been the director of the Appraiser Certification Program for three decades. She told the AP received a text on July 26 from her supervisor telling her to be at the governor’s office the next morning. She was told to be ready to discuss ‘appraiser certification procedures.’
Bren also said that the meeting included Labor Secretary Marcia Hultman along with Noem and Peters. In addition to Bren’s supervisor, the governor’s general counsel and Noem’s chief of staff along with a lawyer from the state’s Department of Labor and Regulation.
Bren also stated that she remembered it lasting close to an hour. The meeting including questions from Noem on how certification works.
However, Bren did confirm that at the meeting she was presented with a letter from Peters’ supervisor. Kristine Juelfs wrote that she disagreed with the denial. Juelfs charged that Peters had run up against an inefficient process.
Juelfs’ letter blasted the application evaluation for lacking timeliness and professionalism. She also said the examiner reviewing Peters’ work had acted unprofessional.
Bren declined to discuss the certification of any individual appraisers, including Peters.
However, speaking broadly about the agency, she said she hoped to help applicants succeed while making sure they met federal requirements.
‘You also want to be fair and consistent and treat all your appraisers the same,’ she said.
Labor Secretary Hultman, in response to questions from the AP, declined to delve into details of Peters’ application or explain the discrepancy between Juelfs’ letter, which said the upgrade had been denied, and department records, which showed a denial was not ultimately issued.
Governor Noem Bullies Real Estate Appraiser Certification Program Director Into Early Retirement
Bren’s troubles began to mount almost immediately after Peters’ Nov. 25 certification. Noem’s a harassment became so bad that Bren was forced to retire early. She later filed an age discrimination lawsuit against the state naming the Governor and Hultman.
One day earlier, her boss, Hultman had called Bren to discuss ‘concerns about the Appraiser Certification Program,’ according to Bren’s age discrimination complaint.
Bren’s complaint alleged on December 1st, Hultman called Bren to demand her retirement. Hultman claimed she had shown an inability to change gears.
Hultman told Bren that the phone call was to be kept a secret from her direct supervisor. He and the Governor wanted it to appear Bren’s retirement was her choice.
Over the ensuing weeks, Hultman did not yield in demanding a retirement date. However, Bren asked if there was any way to keep her job.
Bren filed her age discrimination complaint at the end of December and in March received a $200,000 settlement agreement to withdraw the complaint and leave her job.
When asked about Bren, Hultman declined to discuss specifics of personnel decisions.
Mark Miller, the governor’s current general counsel, said in a statement, ‘Neither party admitted fault, and no agency affirmed her claim. This sideshow regarding Kassidy Peters speaks for itself.’