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Republican Hanks Attacks Bren, Still Fails to Refute Noem’s Nepotism in Appraiser Scandal

Realizing the unseemliness of her attempt to assassinate Sherry Bren’s character to obscure her own nepotism, Governor Kristi Noem has evidently dispatched a Republican crony to do her dirty work for her.

Former Republican legislator, former Rapid City mayor, and former real estate appraiser Alan Hanks (note: Hanks does not appear on the current state roster of certified appraisers) writes a column for the Rapid City Journal declaring that Sherry Bren was a crappy chief of South Dakota’s real estate appraiser certification program who screwed him the same way she screwed the Governor’s daughter Kassidy Peters in the appraiser certification process:

And a few weeks before the election in 2018, I told that directly to then Congresswoman Kristi Noem, before she became our Governor. I followed that up by telling her that my strong recommendation would be to in her early days as Governor, address the issues in the Appraiser Certification Program that were creating hardship for SD Citizens to complete the purchase of homes. My first and most important recommendation was for new leadership for the Appraiser Certification Program. The Executive Director for past 30 years was Sherry Bren, and from my experience as Mayor, I couldn’t’ see how a 30-year career bureaucrat would be willing or able to implement the type of changes needed.

What led me to make this unsolicited recommendation to now Governor Noem? It was my personal experience dealing with the state’s broken Appraiser Certification Program and watching the Governor’s Daughter experiencing the same issues I had. This program had become a major obstacle for qualified South Dakotans from entering a career as a Professional Appraiser, a career with an average salary nearly double the median individual income in South Dakota [Alan Hanks, “South Dakota Appraisal Certificate Program Broken,” Rapid City Journal, 2021.12.26].

Hanks accuses Bren of a lack of industry experience that leaves her incapable of reviewing individual applications or envisioning and implementing systemwide reforms:

During the process of upgrading my appraisers license from State Licensed to a higher-level State-Certified Residential Appraiser, I was contacted by the Executive Director of the Appraiser Certification Program and told that one of my appraisals that was being reviewed for my upgrade had deficiencies. Pressing for an explanation as to what the deficiencies were, as it had been reviewed by industry reviewers with no issues, I was quite surprised when Sherry Bren, the Executive Director of the South Dakota Appraiser Certification Program, told me she could not address what the deficiencies were as she was not an appraiser.

This response from a government regulator will likely come as no surprise to any South Dakotan who works in a specialty field such as the trades, as all too often career governments bureaucrats who are put in place to create and enforce rules, all too often have little or no experience in the field themselves.

Further, a government regulator that has never practiced in the profession that they are regulating, such was the case of the South Dakota Appraiser Certification Program, can only see the system through the eyes of a regulator looking down from “on high.” It is my opinion they do not have the perspective to see the broad reforms needed nor the desire to implement the changes needed in the system [Hanks, 2021.12.26].

Notice that Hanks bases his attack on partisan slogans (Bureaucrats! Government regulation! Booo!) and not on any facts about the Appraiser Certification Program’s performance.

Hanks’s vituperative attack on Bren’s professional abilities runs counter to Watertown appraiser Brad Johnson’s statement back in October that Bren is “well respected statewide and nationally” and that the “time-consuming and difficult” nature of the certification process arises from federal banking regulations and national appraisal standards, not any bureaucratic or professional failings on Bren’s part. It also runs counter to the public statement of the Professional Appraisers Association of South Dakota that the state appraiser certification program was running far more effectively and with stronger adherence to the rule of law under Bren’s 30-year management than it has this year under the chief Governor Noem installed after pushing Bren out of the job after requiring her daughter to fulfill all necessary standards to do such important work.

Hanks also denigrates the Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee’s investigation of Governor Noem’s nepotism as a “circus… around Kassidy Peters” that “some of the committee members” are “trying so hard to make… political” and are “clearly overreaching the committee’s purpose and authority.”

Hanks doesn’t say anything to refute the facts that GOAC and the press have unearthed about Governor Noem’s heavy-handed intervention on her daughter’s behalf in the appraisal process. Hanks doesn’t say the Governor’s summoning Bren to be intimidated at the Governor’s mansion in front of Peters, the Governor, the Secretary of Labor, and four lawyers was appropriate. Hanks doesn’t refute that Governor Noem took no apparent action to change the appraiser certification program until her own daughter needed special treatment to overcome her own struggle to meet the standards for the profession. And Hanks doesn’t refute that Governor Noem’s ouster of Bren was so wrong that she had to pay a $219K settlement to keep the state from getting sued.

It’s Team Noem that’s orchestrating the political circus, and it’s Hanks who is trotting out as the new dancing elephant to keep the Legislature and the public from focusing on the facts of this case of Governor Noem’s abuse of her power to benefit her family members.


  1. Jake 2021-12-27 08:09

    Hanks was deficient as a mayor of SD’s 2nd largest city, and his deficiencies of character and experience are evident in his essay in the RCJournal s well. To carry his accusation on his statement -“she lacked in experience in the field” forth one would have to believe that no one is capable of running an agency/office unless they’ve had years of experience in said office. He speaks with hollow words and reasoning showing us that Noem brought him out of the past to ‘carry water’ for her cause against sunlight on her actions with her daughter’s trials in obtaining a license others got the hard way-by working at it….

  2. Ryan 2021-12-27 08:59

    haha wow. i agree with everything cory and jake said. this is such an obvious attempt at throwing some mitigation into the mix, but as was stated above – none of this guy’s whining addresses any of the real issues.

  3. Mike 2021-12-27 09:19

    SDGOP 101: When caught doing sometime unethical or illegal, deflect by bullying someone else. Three examples would be the press, Bren, or some transgender kids.

  4. larry kurtz 2021-12-27 09:22

    Follow the money.

    An appraisal is the metric a bank uses to determine how much to lend on a property. It’s a racket that divides investors and homeowners to make sure poor people can’t buy homes. The opulent west side Blessed Sacrament Church where Alan Hanks tithes looks like a Lexus/Lincoln/BMW dealership every Sunday while the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Fifth Street is where people who rent worship. The Husteads keep the catholic church in Wall alive.

    It’s just that simple.

  5. 96Tears 2021-12-27 09:23

    I’ve been around and known Alan Hanks for many years. He is not an articulate person. His writing style is sloppy and shallow. In person, he is normally incurious about anything that doesn’t personally affect him. He is limited in his reading and his reputation in his earlier years floated on the good name of his parents who were appreciated in the Rapid City community. Judging by writing style alone, it’s obvious this attack piece was crafted by somebody else. I’m sure Hanks hopped on the phone to whine about Bren when he thought it would be politically advantageous to offer a nugget of criticism that could be spun into an assault. And I’m more than certain COVID Kristi will grab any excuse to thrash a credible, loyal state employee with an excellent reputation and rapport in the state’s housing and real estate community for coming forward to expose Noem’s naked and amateurish corruption.

    I’ve been saving the news stories on the Bren affair. At every turn, Noem digs deeper and deeper defying a primary rule of politics. Splattering dung, Kristi, is not a good look.

  6. jerry 2021-12-27 09:32

    Hanks had more failures as a mayor than he has had at failing his appraisal test, what a dope. He “forgot” to charge Cabela’s for their tax, about $170,000.00, he ruined the livelihood and the loss of integrity of the Fish family with even bringing in Marty Jackley to screw them further… after all of that, an acquittal with prejudice. Hanks cost the city of Rapid City a bundle and it was good riddance to bad rubbish when he got his arse handed to him by Sam. Oh, and like NOem, bought a fancy timer for 5 grand courtesy of the taxpayer.

    As NOem offered up and paid $200,000.00 taxpayer dollars to sweep Bren away, I wonder how much Hanks tried to offer to get his failing grade a passing one. Brad Johnson’s description of Bren says it all. South Dakota was fortunate to have such a high caliber of a civil servant making sure that the appraisal system for property was upheld in the highest degree.

    Hanks can just continue to be a has been water carrier for one of the most corrupt governors ever.

  7. Donald Pay 2021-12-27 09:35

    I’m not sure what the point of Hanks’ screed is. Does he favor bad regulation? That’s how you get homes that go from $250,000 to $0 because no one bothered to understand the geology and mining history of a proposed housing development. Bren, obviously, didn’t hand out favors to dreck like Hanks. She didn’t bend over for the slime that somehow got into the industry she oversaw. I like that in a regulator.

    Hanks thinks a good regulator should be is a toady, someone who doesn’t see that the value in honest and knowledgeable people doing a fair and honest job for customers and the public. Sure, people in the industry have a right to suggest changes, but regulators have to consider more than just what industry wants or what one bitchy person wants.

    If you can’t do the job honestly, get out of the business, and South Dakotans are better off that Hanks did.

  8. CJ Reynolds 2021-12-27 11:53

    I was so happy to read Alan’s attempt at exculpating Kristi Noem’s nepotism. It was a teaching moment for my child, who had just asked what the word “sycophant” means. Today we’ll work on “kakistocracy”.

  9. grudznick 2021-12-27 14:01

    Perhaps it is more accurately referred to as a neocracy.

  10. Arlo Blundt 2021-12-27 15:50

    Yes, Donald, he is advocating for bad regulation and a dumbimg down of the certification process.

  11. SuFuMatt 2021-12-27 15:59

    If you are unable to “disparage” someone due to a settlement, apparently you just hire that task out…

  12. larry kurtz 2021-12-27 16:13

    Why do Republicans insist on capitalizing common nouns?

  13. Bob Newland 2021-12-27 17:56

    Jerry, if you would, please expand on the Fish case. I can’t recall it.

  14. grudznick 2021-12-27 18:57

    Mr. Jerry, like my good friend Bob, I also would like expansion on the Fish case. Bob and I, who both have golfed at the Hot Springs golf resort where there was a similar garbage scam happening, recall that Mr. Kookier really stuck it to these fish people. For crimes against the dump, as I recall it. Crimes against the dump are not to be tolerated.

  15. jerry 2021-12-27 19:18

    A very good journalist, Kevin Woster reported on this 07.16.2011 and it was updated on 12.26.11

    Basically, in my opinion, Hanks was the mayor and a doofus by the name of Jerry Wright ran the landfill. Poor management under Hanks and the doofus, led to the accusations of serious misdeeds against the Fish Company. What happened was that the Fish’s family business was totally destroyed and they were acquitted with prejudice. The prejudice deal is important on this matter because the city of Rapid City can sue you until forever as they have the taxpayer resources to just keep coming.

    The archives of the Rapid City Journal are kind of a gold mine when it comes to seeing why Hanks did not get his appraisal license. In my opinion, Hanks is not a very bright bulb and I think you have to be pretty sharp to be an appraiser. That is a very important job that needs to have only the best so that left Hanks to just bitch about it.

    “The crime is that the company or corporation lost its ability to engage in business in Rapid City as a result of those accusations, which now have been dismissed, which led to the company being worth pennies on the dollar,” Murphy said. “So a company that has been in existence in one form or another since the Korean War, a family-owned company that goes back generations, becomes worthless and had to be sold at fire-sale prices.

    ““People lost their jobs. The company lost its value and its name,” he said.

    Murphy declined to say what he thought the dismissal against Fish Garbage Service could mean for the cases against George and Clifford Fish. But Rapid City lawyer Patrick Duffy, who along with lawyer Jeff Fransen, represents Clifford Fish, said it should be a sign of more dismissals to come in a case that Duffy says should never have been brought to court.

    “This is the most immoral and unethical prosecution I have ever seen in my life,” Duffy said Monday. “The dismissal of the corporation is the first step toward justice for the Fish family.” Rapid City Journal updated 12.26.11

  16. grudznick 2021-12-27 19:23

    Ah, Mr. Duffy. Now there was a barrister with a haircut.

  17. jerry 2021-12-27 19:58

    Got to have good hair to have a haircut.

  18. Porter Lansing 2021-12-27 21:13

    Mr. Dufffy esq. had a son in Rapid who was a sports reporter on local tv.
    Kristi Noem got him fired because young Mr. Duffy told the truth about South Dakota’s Governor.
    Kinda like the young lady who failed to kneel before the HydroxychloroQueen at Girl’s State.

  19. Porter Lansing 2021-12-27 21:15

    Mr. Dufffy esq. had a son in Rapid who was a sports reporter on local tv.
    Kristi Noem got him fired because young Mr. Duffy told the truth about South Dakota’s Governor.
    Kinda like the young lady who failed to kneel before the HydroxychloroQueen at Girl’s State.

  20. grudznick 2021-12-28 19:19

    The younger Mr. Duffy, not Dufffy, was a swell young fellow indeed, by most accounts, with many interesting stories. I have heard tell he was a heck of a cager as well. I knew his pa, Bernie, from some legal dealings back in the day and he was a straight shooter.

  21. Bob Newland 2021-12-28 20:02

    I knew grudznutz’s dad from some legal dealings. He was a slippery dealer, as is grudznutz. All who have done deals with grudznutz senior and grudznutz junior would do well to ask for immunity as soon as possible. Gravy will not help.

  22. grudznick 2021-12-28 20:38

    Gravy always helps, Bob. It always helps.

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