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Noem Orders 100-Inch, $9,000 Desk

With all the time Governor Kristi Noem spends out of the office and out of the state, you wouldn’t think she’d need much of a desk in her office.

But then you wouldn’t be thinking like Kristi. KSFY reports that the Governor had prisoners at Pheasantland Industries build her a $9,000 desk, complete with leather inserts and a gun drawer:

After inmates were well on their way with the project, change orders came in. The desk size was changed to accommodate another person to sit and collaboratively work with the Governor, increasing the size from 80 inches to over 100. Pheasantland Industries had to re-work its design. More change orders were made, including brass embossing, a gun drawer, leather inserts for the drawer, a footrest, and a state map embossed on the top [Beth Warden, “Controversy at Penitentiary over Governor Noem’s Desk Order,” KSFY, 2021.09.02].

Let’s see: 100 inches wide, 36 inches deep, that’s 3600 square inches, 25 square feet…that comes out to $360 per square foot of workspace. I can rent office space in Pierre for $12 per square foot for a whole year. Heck, if I needed more work space in Pierre, I could rent this three-room office suite downtown for $9,000 for seven months…which is probably more time than we can count on Kristi to spend in Pierre, if not anywhere in South Dakota, during the remainder of her term.

And 20 more inches for “collaborative work”? What, when Corey Lewandowski comes to work up new campaign posters, he feels underappreciated sitting at a separate table and insists on sitting right next to Kristi and her gun?

Beth Warden’s sources tell her that Noem’s freshly appointed interim Corrections Secretary Tim Reisch ordered the prison workshop to write down a lower price and eat a $3,000 loss on the desk (one desk—one desk?).

Hmmm… the Department of Corrections is having trouble paying enough to recruit and retain staff, reduce forced overtime, and upgrade the safety gear staff say they need, but she can take $3,000 out of the Corrections to pay for her extra-large gun desk?

Senator Troy Heinert thinks $9,000 for one desk (one desk!) is a bit much:

“It isn’t a surprise coming from this Governor. that she doesn’t include the corrections commission in decisions from firing the Warden, or Suspension of the Secretary of Corrections for the state. I find that appalling. It’s also troubling that the Governor needs a $9,000 desk when quite a few South Dakotans don’t have a $9,000 car,” said Heinert [Warden, 2021.09.02].

Kudos to the sources at Pheasantland Industries who, even though the Governor is purportedly paying close attention to Corrections operations, are willing to come forward to the media and point out these abuses of power and the public purse for our Governor’s apparent vanity.


  1. Curious SD 2021-09-03 10:20

    Kristi Noem could look downright presidential behind that desk. All she needs to do is swap out the state seal in the conveniently removable center panel and replace it with the national seal.

    The article wasn’t clear on whether this desk is going to be Noem’s personal property or state property. But if it is to be state property, and the state is just paying itself from one account to another to build the desk, I don’t see why anyone would need to discount the price.

  2. Guy 2021-09-03 10:21

    This is more of the Governor’s ongoing “Delusions of Grandeur”. . .

  3. jerry 2021-09-03 12:08

    Perfect size for Sutton to use.

  4. Bill Kennedy 2021-09-03 12:56

    The “Snow Job Queen” is showing her arrogance again.

  5. Porter Lansing 2021-09-03 13:19

    Poor design!

    My desk is 110 inches long and 30 inches deep.

    Any desk over 30″ deep and you can’t reach over it to hand someone something.

    At 36″ a lady’s “top shelf” will drag on the surface and possibly soil a blouse or suit jacket.

    That creates the need for a visitor to walk around to the back of the desk, to get an item from the Governor.

  6. Barbara J 2021-09-03 14:45

    Good point about the $9,000 car, even at today’s elevated prices. If you added the worth of my car and my son’s car together, we still wouldn’t reach $9,000.

  7. Arlo Blundt 2021-09-03 14:46

    Well…congratulations to KSFY for breaking the story…this is the kind of news reporting South Dakota needs and wants….This outfit of Republicans, the Governor especially, want to be constantly indulged…there are many other stories out there like this one.

  8. mike from iowa 2021-09-03 15:25

    Prison should include manacles and shackles to insure the guv stays in town for months at a time.

  9. Mark Anderson 2021-09-03 16:42

    Come on Cory, she’s got to outdo both Abbott and Costello, excuse me DeSantis. DeSantis mask stick is coming unglued, I mean he’s killing over 300 people a day in the name of freedom. He is a shortstop pretending to be a centerfielder and it’s becoming obvious. Abbott on the other hand basically outlawed abortion without worrying about Roe v Wade. A sneaky deal that shouldn’t stand in court but hey he got it passed, and first. What’s Kristi to do, just follow in his wheelchair? She needs a bigger platform, a 100 inch desk should help.

  10. grudznick 2021-09-03 18:47

    Mr. Lansing, it appears Governor Noem’s “top shelf”, as you call it, is small enough to avoid the dragging you fear.

  11. cathy 2021-09-03 19:06

    “The desk remains at the Penitentiary, up on a platform, and also in limbo as to whether it will be in the Governor’s office anytime soon. When it does arrive, Noem may find a surprise if the desk is thoroughly inspected. Sources say the signatures of inmates who built the desk have been cleverly hidden somewhere within, including the name of a manager at the Penitentiary, whom Noem fired.”


  12. O 2021-09-03 21:26

    Are we all seriously going to just pass over the gun drawer? Our Governor has to have quick access to a firearm while governoring in her office?

    Wouldn’t it be easier to just mount a double-barrel shotgun on a swivel like Ron Swanson?

  13. Arlo Blundt 2021-09-03 21:41

    well…she is armed…she must be obeyed

  14. chris 2021-09-03 23:54

    reminds one of the warden from Shawshank.

  15. M 2021-09-04 06:18

    Some people don’t even have a $9000 house. Not in my small town.

  16. V 2021-09-04 06:26

    The “top shelf” made me laugh Porter and for once Grutz, I agree with you. I thought the same thing as I was ready Porter’s assessment.

    Noem will look like a wimp sitting behind the desk. Plus it’s not practical. Perhaps she has other plans.

  17. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-09-04 07:14

    O, yes, a gun in the drawer of Governor is pure show, not practicality. It is also a violation of the sanctity of the Capitol and democracy. demonstrating that Kristi Noem does not have faith in her fellow citizens or even in the faith of the security officers whose presence she has unnecessarily enhanced in her growing police state.

  18. mike+from+iowa 2021-09-04 07:55

    O, I doubt a double barrel could be concealed in her garters. There I go misogynizing against her highness some more.

  19. grudznick 2021-09-04 08:43

    Mr. H, did not the legislatures pass a law bill a couple of years back allowing for guns in the Capitol? Plus there was that ex-marine Mr. Nelson fellow and that insaner woman from up in the County of Harding who had been toting for years. Better to keep your guns in a drawer than stuffed in the back of your belt or in a ladies handbag.

  20. Loren 2021-09-04 09:03

    An example of poor planning. This desk most probably will not fit in the Oval Office when Kristi becomes President. Not only that, but if she extended it a few more feet, she could have a horse feeding station at one end and a display area for her beauty queen trophies at the other. Another swing and a miss by our national embarrassment!

  21. Porter+Lansing 2021-09-04 10:16

    Thanks, V and grudz.

    Top Shelf is a restaurant term.

    We’ve got a lot of ’em.


  22. bearcreekbat 2021-09-04 10:20

    The RC Journal reports that Noem is ordering the desk as her own personal property and is using her own funds rather than taxpayer dollars to pay for the desk. This raises a few questions:

    Can any SD resident order the prison to build whatever furniture the customer wants, or is Noem simply exploiting her political position for personal gain?

    Since prisoners are used for the required labor to build desks, etc, but are paid only a pittance for their labor, if anything at all, (the 13th Amendment permits prisoner slavery), is using slave labor in prisons fair competition with private businesses that must pay or charge market labor costs for the production of desks and other furniture?

    How much would this desk cost a normal SD resident if required to pay the labor costs of regular laborers rather than prisoners?

  23. RST Tribal Member 2021-09-04 14:37

    Outward bigness, buckle, desk or airplane, and now, a desk, covers the smallness inside.

    Inbreds do what inbreds do. Too much of the same types gives SD the Pierre and Washington bunch, together in thoughtlessness, misdeeds, missteps and now, smallness.

  24. jerry 2021-09-04 14:40

    Interesting bcb, Showplace will now have competition in the making furniture and cabinetry with slave prison labor. South Dakota now means Xinjiang in Chinese, so we are all Uygur’s.

  25. Curious SD 2021-09-04 16:14

    Reading the article in the Daily Beast, it is finally clear that this desk will be Kristi Noem’s personal property. So the Governor, who oversees the Department of Corrections (an executive branch department of government) ordered herself a luxury desk built with forced labor by people being paid 50 cents an hour. Then she complains the bill is too high and has the corrections secretary she appointed discount the bill so that the invoice she will receive is less than the amount it cost the taxpayers to build the desk. Then they cook the books to make it look like the inmates who built the desk weren’t actually working and making 50 cents an hour but were being “trained” instead. This is the very definition of self-dealing.

    In her quest to get this desk below cost, do you suppose Noem actually stiffed the 50 cent/hour inmates or just cooked the books to make it look like her appointed lackey stiffed the inmates?

  26. PPNS 2021-09-04 20:55

    According to yesterday’s AP report on Noem’s desk –

    Noem’s spokesperson Fury denied that the desk would be paid with taxpayers money because it’s a personal order for Noem. He also denied Noem would receive a discount saying she’d pay the full amount of the final bill (but it’s unclear whether the ‘final bill’ will actually be the discounted bill).
    If it’s personal purchase, why was it made through the Governor’s office?
    Can just anybody order from the prison, or do you have to be a state employee and then promise ‘ wink-wink’ you’ll pay it back as soon as your agency is invoiced?
    How do you ensure you get the ‘discount’? Although labor at 50 cents an hour is already a pretty significant discount.

  27. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-09-05 09:17

    A personal purchase, yet she orders the prison work camp to eat the cost?

    If this is a personal purchase, a personal desk for personal use, is she allowed to engrave the state seal on it?

    And if it’s a personal purchase, does that mean she plans to take it with her back to Hamlin County in 2023? After she leaves office, does she have to chisel off the state seal to avoid creating any false impression of officialdom?

    Is this a spare she plans to put in her private video studio so she can do live side-by-side interviews with Mike Lindell and Corey Lewandowski on Fox News at an official-looking desk?

  28. ABC 2021-09-05 10:00

    Is there anything phallic about Noem’s 100 inch desk?

    Hers is bigger than anyone else’s. She’s even big enough to pay for it herself.

    But there is a second party in this story of 100 inches.

    The people of South Dakota.

    This is what the people paid for:

    2,000 Covid 19 deaths . (She falsely predicted 600,000 of us would get infected. Off by 450,000.). No pandemic unemployment benefits (there goes $400 a week, back to the Federal Treasury). Now she wants Texas style no abortion rights, make all the women go to a different state if they want their rights.

    The South Dakota voters paid for this fool with their votes.

    All the previous South Dakota Governors governed WITHOUT 100 inch desks.

    Since a majority of South Dakota voters bought into this 100 inch Governor, then I propose that we start minority rule-

    (Assuming the Democratic Party continues its plan of losing thoroughly every 2 years).

    Minority rule being simple. If there are 10 Liberal , Democratic and Progressive people in your town, and you know you are outvoted 10 to 1 or 5 to 1 in EVERY election, then do what smart minorities do-

    Do ALL things positive!Create $20 and $50 an hour jobs. Encourage voters and non voters, Hey, you can do it, you can create ANY positive and wonderful thing you can imagine! (This is a lot faster than waiting for a Democrat to be elected Governor, the last time that happened was 1974!)

    The illusion is that you need 100 inches to have a good desk, or you have to win elections and maintain majorities in the legislature. What would Gandhi do?

    Wait? Or Do?

    I challenge you. Do!

    You know if you had a social club where you made Vietnamese food or gave away scholarships to good students, and there are 10 of you could all get elected as Governors in your club! And as Governors, you can do positive things every day! And you can set the dues at 5 cents a year, so anyone can join and rule as a Governor!

    The choice is clear.

    Lose every 2 years in elections and then complain about it.

    Get elected Governor in a nonprofit Club and do ALL the good you can imagine!

    Yes, you can be a Governor!

  29. grudznick 2021-09-05 10:18

    She is very good, indeed, at poking distraction at those with bad cases of NDS and getting them to lash out in rage instead of watching what really matters. Pay no attention to the shiny objects, my friends.

  30. Francis Schaffer 2021-09-05 14:00

    I imagine she isn’t going to leave it in Pierre, I don’t believe it will even make it to Pierre.

  31. M 2021-09-05 15:05

    She can take the damn thing with her when she is tossed out of Pierre. Maybe she’ll store all of her trinkets and fake memorabilia (trump’s mt rushmore statue) in the drawers. The remaining drawers will be filled with ammo for future expeditions. She’ll have a lot of time to social distance when we get rid of her.

  32. ArloBlundt 2021-09-05 16:22

    well…if the Governor decides the desk is a political liability she can probably “gift” it to Mike Pence. He needs a desk with a discreet gun drawer.

  33. mike from iowa 2021-09-06 11:32

    She can chop it up for kindling at next barbeque and use her shooty gun to light the kindling afire.

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