South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is being criticized for calling a July 2020 meeting with a state official following the agency head declining the application of her daughter to become a certified realtor appraiser.
Longtime state realty agency employee Sherry Bren reportedly obtained $200,000 in payment from the state in March. This was in order to cancel out a wrongful termination complaint she had issued against the South Dakota state.
Kassidy Peters, then 26, eventually acquired the certification in November last year. This was four months following the meeting at the office of Noem. Following one week, the labor secretary summoned the agency leader Bren to demand her retirement, indicated an age discrimination remonstrance Bren issued against the department. Bren, 70, resigned from work in March 2021 following South Dakota paying her $200,000 to withdraw the remonstrance.
Noem refused an interview request, and her office did not opt to answer comprehensive questions regarding the meeting. According to spokesperson Ian Fury, the Associated Press is disparaging the daughter of Noem as an attempt to attack the Governor politically. He added that it was no wonder that the belief in the media is of little value.
Details of Meeting
According to Bren, she was messaged in July 2020 summoning her to discuss “appraiser certification procedures. Noem, her daughter, Bren, the Secretary of Labor, the Governor’s general counsel, Noem’s chief-of-staff (via phone), Bren’s supervisor Kristine Juelfs, and a lawyer from the state Labor Department attended the meeting. The discussion lasted around one hour. The Governor had queries regarding the process of certification.
The Side of Government Ethics Experts
According to government ethics experts who assessed the narratives of what transpired, the Governor’s decision to include Peters in the meeting resulted in a conflict of interest regardless of the content of the discussion. Richard Painter, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School who was the chief ethics attorney for former President George W. Bush, remarked while Noem’s daughter was applying for the certification, they said Noem should have excused herself from discussions on the agency, especially any that would apply to her daughter’s application.