Name has been accused of strongly arm the state to give her daughter a real estate license. Days after Kassidy Peters’ application to become a certified real estate appraiser was rejected, Noem brought the employee in charge of the agency in question, as well as the woman’s supervisor and the secretary of labor to her office. Noem’s daughter was also present at the meeting, reported the Associated Press:.
The 70-year-old head of the state’s valuation program, Sherry Bren, was forced to resign a week later. Kassidy’s application was approved four months later.
The allegations of cronyism ended a disastrous week; she was forced to deny reports of an affair with political help Corey Lewandowski but cut ties with him a day later after a major Trump donor accused him of sexual harassment.
Noem did not answer questions from reporters about the allegations of favoritism, but chose to release a video and a few tweets avoiding key details. She did not deny the facts of the story.
In her video, she claimed that she had actually tried to reform the real estate valuation system in South Dakota after “hearing for years” how hard it was to become an appraiser.
“This system had been broken for decades,” she said. “It’s designed to benefit those who are already certified and keep others out.”
Without mentioning Bren, she said the person in charge of the system had been there for 40 years and attempts to streamline the process were unsuccessful.
“I had worked on it for years to fix it and I realized how difficult it was to fix it over the past few years,” she said.
However, Noem did not elaborate on why her then 26-year-old daughter Kassidy attended the meeting with Bren and other top officials when they were simply talking about reforming the system. She also didn’t elaborate on why Kassidy didn’t get a permit and how she did get one four months later.
All Noem said was that Kassidy “followed all the same steps” as any other prospective appraiser, including 200 hours of assessment education and 1,500 hours of work per year.
“Those are the facts, but the media is ignoring those facts,” she said. “They’d rather attack my daughter to score cheap political points against me.”
Government ethics experts consulted by the Associated Press called the case a clear “conflict of interest and abuse of power” and the State Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg said he would investigate after being contacted “by concerned citizens and lawmakers”.
Ravnsborg’s involvement marked an ironic turn in fortunes. Noem had demanded Ravnsborg’s resignation earlier this year turned out he had killed a man while driving then claimed that he thought he had hit a deer. He did not plead for two offenses, was not tried and refused to resign.