Beth Warden offers a vital piece of information to the developing story of Governor Kristi Noem’s abuse of power in intervening in her daughter Kassidy Peters’s real estate appraiser license application.
In its angry spin-storm, Noem’s spokesperson Ian Fury said that hauling the state’s appraiser certifier into a star chamber meeting with the Governor, the Governor’s aggrieved daughter, the Governor’s chief of staff, the Governor’s general counsel, the Secretary of Labor, and the Department of Labor’s lawyer was an example of Noem working to stop “bureaucratic red tape” from hindering “South Dakota’s sustained economic growth.” However, Warden reports that Bren was simply trying to avoid the kind of conflict of interest that Team Noem has launched into the headlines:
Sources tell Dakota News Now when Bren received notice of Kassidy Peters’s appraisal test, she arranged to have it scored out of state, to avoid a conflict of interest [Beth Warden, “Noem’s Meeting Highlights Real Estate Appraisal Regulations in South Dakota,” KSFY, 2021.09.27].
Bren tried to keep the state’s appraisal system clean. Instead, self-serving Team Noem dirtied it up.
And if you want to talk about obstacles to economic activity, imagine what would happen if federal auditors suspended all real estate appraisals in South Dakota:
While most states have a board to oversee certifications, South Dakota is among just a few states that have only an administrator.
Joe Ibach, President of the Association of Appraiser Regulatory Officials says the loss of Bren could result in possible setbacks for the state when the Federal Audits are conducted in the future, since Bren’s replacement lacks experience in that part of the job.
“So those audits are very detailed. very detailed, so I wish them well. They lost a great asset. It’s going to be extremely difficult to replace and I think it was a mistake but that’s just me speaking personally,” said Ibach.
The federal auditors have the power to stop all appraisals in the state should issues arise during the audit. This could affect financing issues for both residential and commercial mortgages and loans [Warden, 2021.09.27].
Kristi flexes her Governor’s muscle to help her daughter start her lucrative business, and in return, she creates a risk that every bank-financed real estate transaction in the state could be delayed by federal auditors’ concern that South Dakota’s appraisers aren’t properly vetted. That’s a stunning example of how nepotism and unchecked abuse of power can hurt every South Dakotan.