SD Legislature’s GOAC committee set to hear from Sherry Bren

Sherry Bren is set to make her first public remarks regarding her controversial July 2020 meeting with Governor Kristi Noem and other state officials.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has issued an executive order cracking down on federal...
(Dakota News Now)
Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 6:42 PM MST
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PIERRE, S.D. - For months, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has consistently denied allegations that she helped her daughter Kassidy Peters get her real estate appraisal licenses.

However, questions have remained about the timing of when that licenses was obtained, and a meeting involving Noem, Peters, and other state officials.

Tuesday, former head of the state’s appraisal program Sherry Bren will speak publicly before the state legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee (GOAC) for first time since the Associated Press (AP) published the allegations in October.

“I think that the most important thing on GOAC’s agenda is just a conversation with Sherry Bren,” said State Sen. Reynold Nesiba (D-Sioux Falls), one of two democrats on the committee. “She reached out to us, and it was clear she wanted to clarify some things on the record. The most important things to ask her is what do you want to talk about? Tell us about the meeting at the Governor’s Mansion? Tell us more about the appraisal process?”

Bren was subpoenaed by the GOAC in November. The decision to subpoena Bren was later ratified by the legislature’s Executive Board.

We have had a good discussion so far and tomorrow will provide another opportunity for the committee to ask questions and gather more information,” said State Sen. Kyle Schoenfish (R-Scotland), co-chair of the committee. “That way, we can have a thorough understanding of the issues involving the appraiser program.”

Noem’s office has said that the meeting, and the actions that took place around it where made in an effort to “cut red tape” around the appraiser profession, which is understaffed across the country.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Haugaard has called for Noem to be more transparent with the investigation into the matter.

“We are going to go into executive session after we hear all the testimony that is presented, so right after we will do that,” said State Rep. Linda Duba (D-Sioux Falls). “We are going to have the Legislative Research Council (LRC) there and our GOAC leaders... And we are going to take the next steps, whatever those are.”

Noem’s Secretary of Labor Marcia Hultman also argued that there was no wrong doing before the GOAC. Bren told the AP that she did not necessarily agree with that sentiment.

Monday, Noem doubled down on her claim. She also accused the media of forcing Peters to surrender her appraisal licenses.

“She turned in her licenses and released it all herself,” Noem explained to the Sioux Falls Rotary club. “(She) 100% proved she did not receive special treatment. Did you ever see that covered in the press? Not at all.”

Bren’s testimony is at the top of the GOAC‘s agenda. The meeting is scheduled to begin Tuesday morning at 8:30 AM CST.

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