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Ex-official set to speak in Noem, appraiser agency probe

November 24, 2021 GMT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota lawmakers will meet next month to hear from a former state employee at the center of questions over whether Gov. Kristi Noem interfered in a state agency that was evaluating her daughter’s application for a real estate appraiser license.

The Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee has scheduled a meeting for Dec. 14 after issuing a subpoena to Sherry Bren, the former director of the Appraiser Certification Program. Bren had suggested the committee subpoena her because she is barred from disparaging state officials as part of a settlement agreement with the state.

Last year, Bren’s agency had moved to deny Noem’s daughter, Kassidy Peters, an upgrade to her appraiser certification. But days later, Noem held a meeting that included Peters, Bren and other decision-makers in Peters’ application for the license. The state agency granted Peters another opportunity to apply for her license in an agreement signed the next week.

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Noem’s administration has adamantly denied wrongdoing and described Peters’ application process as keeping with the normal course of business. But government ethics experts say Noem may have abused the powers of her office.

The chair of the legislative committee, Sen. Kyle Schoenfish, confirmed that Bren was expected to speak at the next meeting.