PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The former director of South Dakota’s appraiser certification program told lawmakers on Tuesday that Gov. Kristi Noem’s daughter received a unique path in her pursuit for a residential appraiser certification; this was part of Sherry Bren’s testimony as lawmakers look into a meeting at the governor’s mansion last year between Bren, Noem, Noem’s daughter Kassidy Peters and others.
Lawmakers asked Sherry Bren about South Dakota’s appraiser program and what happened during the July 2020 meeting at the governor’s mansion.
“I would like to clarify that this meeting’s a little bit of a fog to me, I was very, once I got there, I was very nervous and quite frankly intimidated as you can imagine,” Bren said.
Bren told lawmakers about the paths Kassidy Noem took to become a residential appraiser in the state.
“Originally I had drafted an agreed disposition that included appraisal education classroom hours, and that provision or term of the agreed disposition, I was asked to remove that and to simply put in the letter of transmittal, that additional education might be beneficial and that was all that there was for the education, just a recommendation,” Bren said.
“Was it common for secretary of labor to suggest amendments like that,” said Sen. David Wheeler, a Republican from Huron.
“No, it was not,” Bren said.
“Had it ever happened in the past?” Wheeler asked.
“I do not recall that there’s been involvement by the secretary in this, the agreed disposition process,” Bren said.
Bren received a $200,000 payment from the state in exchange for dropping an employment rights claim filed in December 2020.
“Why do you believe that you were forced out of your position?” asked Sen. Reynold Nesiba, a Democrat from Sioux Falls.
“I believe that it was age discrimination and beyond that would be strictly speculation on my part,” Bren said.
Peters did get her certification in November 2020, but recently announced she is giving it up.
Ian Fury, a spokesperson for Noem, sent an email to reporters saying Bren’s claims about the “stipulation agreement” were false.