Press "Enter" to skip to content

Ravnsborg: Governor’s Daughter Failed Appraiser Certification Four Times

Reviewing the documents released yesterday by the Government Accountability Board relating to its investigation of Governor Kristi Noem’s nepotistic intervention in her daughter Kassidy Peters’s appraiser certification, I must struggle through the flaccid prose of killer Jason Ravnsborg, who while lingering in the Attorney General’s office filed the formal complaint that spurred the GAB to its first ever actual if vague action.

Ravnsborg’s initial complaint, filed September 28, 2021, the day after AP reporter Stephen Groves posted his bombshell article detailing Noem’s summoning of appraiser chief Sherry Bren to a bullying session at the Governor’s mansion with Noem’s daughter and several Noem Administration officials and lawyers, Bren’s forced resignation, and the state’s expensive settlement and silencing of Bren’s age-discrimination complaint. Ravnsborg’s initial complaint includes that Groves article, a list of the four statutory points that justify the complaint (subsections 2, 4, 5, and 9 of SDCL 3-24-3), and a list of people the Attorney General says could testify:

I believe Kristi Noem, Kassidy Peters, Sherry Bren, Tom Hart, Mark Miller, Tony Venhuizen, Ian Fury, Marcia Hultman, Aaron Scheibe, and Kristi Juelfs could have knowledge of the facts and circumstances. I do not have the contact information for all of these individuals, but believe it could easily be found in an investigation [Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, complaint to Government Accountability Board, 2021.09.28].

That contact information for eight state officials, one recently fired state official, and one civilian advertising her services online could surely be found easily by an amateur blogger—I found and posted a screen cap of Peters’s Google-cached appraiser website, complete with her phone number, the day before Ravnsborg filed is complaint. Surely the state’s top law enforcement officer, with a Division of Criminal Investigation headed by a campaign-donor crony, could have found that same contact information and more and provided it with the complaint. Better yet, the Attorney General could have conducted his own investigation and added some value to the details uncovered by the AP’s intrepid reporter.

But this is Jason Ravnsborg, not a real investigator, prosecutor, or Attorney General we’re talking about here.

Ravnsborg did show some good sense in proposing, in a letter accompanying the September 28 complaint, an independent counsel to assist the Government Accountability Board in investigating the complaint:

Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, letter to Government Accountability Board, 2021.09.28.
Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, letter to Government Accountability Board, 2021.09.28.

Ravnsborg followed up with a letter on November 22, 2021, recapitulating testimony from the October 28, 2021, hearing of the Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee. From that hearing and subsequent hearings, GOAC concluded that Noem’s daughter did indeed receive special treatment in the appraiser certification process.

Ravnsborg’s one weak contribution to the powerful body of evidence and testimony uncovered by our legislators is a claim of anecdotal evidence (i.e.: hearsay) that Noem’s daughter failed the appraiser exam four times before Mom called the appraiser chief in for that Mansion meeting:

A.G. Jason Ravnsborg, letter to GAB, 2021.11.22, p. 6.
A.G. Jason Ravnsborg, letter to GAB, 2021.11.22, p. 6.

If Ravnsborg really has such anecdotal evidence, he has not made it public, and the GAB documents don’t indicate that he shared it with them.

Ravnsborg’s third letter to the GAB, dated February 25, 2022, again mostly recapitulating GOAC testimony. Ravnsborg also adds a transcript of Noem’s comments to the Sioux Falls Rotary Club on December 13, 2021, to support the point that Noem and Labor Secretary Marcia Hultman were making contradictory statements about the Peters/Bren scandal.

Predictably, Ravnsborg’s complaint and supporting letters don’t reveal much new information or demonstrate any additive persuasive power beyond what GOAC and the press have already revealed. But Ravnsborg’s schlubby peddling of this complaint does not disprove the facts reported by Stephen Groves and the evidence and testimony produced in the GOAC hearings that the Governor’s daughter received special treatment in the appraiser certification process.


  1. Mr Sol 2022-09-10 12:10

    Is the appraiser test objective or somewhat subjective subject to the whims or fee grader?

  2. Arlo Blundt 2022-09-10 14:12

    Mr. Sol–I don’t believe so. The test is a standardized, national test from a national accrediting organization. Mr. Bren was a stickler for compliance with national standards. Governor Noem seems to feel that these standards are keeping hard working but cognitively challenged South Dakotans from becoming Appraisers. She wanted the test, if anything, dumbed down and made more subjective.

  3. Mr Sol 2022-09-10 14:25

    Ok thanks.

  4. Jake 2022-09-10 18:19

    Arlo, you hit the nail where it’s s’posed to be hit. Square. Kids that age need to learn to sink or swim,, pull them out if they start drowning but tell them they’ll have to learn on their own yet……

  5. sx123 2022-09-10 20:53

    Lmao. Either study more or consider a different profession.

  6. larry kurtz 2022-09-10 21:04

    That Mr. Ravnsborg still has a position as a military officer is a disgrace and dishonor.

  7. John 2022-09-10 21:08

    Helicopter parents. Are. The. Worst.
    They failed in raising a functional adult – that is the SOLE goal of parenting – raising a functional adult.

    Then helicopter parents flutter around for decades or longer trying to fix what they screwed up – leading to extended adolescence, dependence, and a parade of horribles on the offspring and often on society. If a kid is incapable of marginally functioning as an adult by age 14 (meals, clean-up, house cleaning, laundry – including ironing, basic personal finance, rising/bed, caring for a pet – including dreaded poop scooping/whatever, arranging transportation, etc.) then the parent has 4 HARD years to belatedly fix their failed prior 14 years. Good luck with that. And if a parent fails when the kid turns 18 – introduce the kid to the friendly recruiter, Gunnery Sergeant Smith. The recruiter has 22 year old corporal who will make a functional adult out of the brat.
    Same as its ever was.

  8. grudznick 2022-09-10 21:26

    That Mr. Ravnsborg still has a position as a military officer is a total bogus fart, and a spit in the face of every real veteran out there.

  9. Jake 2022-09-11 19:37

    Grudz- man, I agree with you 100%!!!! Smartest statement you’ve made in months. And, that his potential for living off us taxpayers on a colonel’s retirement (probably pushing or exceeding $100,000/ year.) is evidence that our military retirement is one hell-uv-a-deal for many ne’er-do-wells! But, grudz, the GOP is always against school lunch, food stamps, Medicaid etc!

  10. Anne Beal 2022-09-15 07:35

    If I hadn’t had problems with appraisals myself I would be suspicious of Bren’s forced resignation too.
    But there is a problem with appraisers: there aren’t enough of them. The process by which one becomes an appraiser is difficult, requires finding a mentor who is willing to train his own competitor. The lack of appraisers is causing problems for buyers, sellers, realtors and mortgage brokers.
    The system needs an overhaul and Bren showed she wasn’t interested in fixing anything. It was time for her to go. The real estate market is booming here and the only apparent snag in the system is a shortage of appraisers.

  11. Dicta 2022-09-15 08:16

    I love how every time Anne tries to justify Noem’s behavior, she skips over the fact that Noem JUST SO HAPPENED to get involved when her child was involved. Also: are you still trying to sell that Trump taking home TS-SCI material is just “a guy taking home his work?” You’re slipping, Anne. Your arguments are getting progressively worse.

  12. V 2022-09-15 08:18

    Face it, Noem wants to dummy down this test just like she did the social studies standards.

    Keep the standards high or you’ll have every moron in the country moving here to be an appraiser and every social studies vacancy filled by coaches.

Comments are closed.