South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem's Daughter Says Scrutiny Has Destroyed Real Estate Business

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem's daughter said Tuesday she is leaving the real estate appraiser business after scrutiny over whether her mother used her influence to help her obtain her license, the Associated Press reported.

Noem's daughter, Kassidy Peters, sent a letter to Secretary of Labor Marcia Hultman condemning the Government Operations and Audit Committee's inquiry into her license.

Last year, a state agency denied Peters the upgraded appraiser license. Shortly after, Noem and Peters had a meeting with state employees overseeing the application. Four months later, Peters' license was approved.

Noem insisted that the meeting was not related to the license and there was already a signed agreement between Peters and state regulators drawn up before the meeting detailing a plan to resubmit her application.

The legislative committee subpoenaed Peters for the agreement to confirm the date. AP reported that Peters released the document, which was dated one week before the meeting.

AP obtained a copy of Peters' letter to Hultman. Peters wrote that she will turn in her appraiser license by the end of the year, as this inquiry "has successfully destroyed my business."

"I am writing you today to express my disappointment and anger that my good name and professional reputation continue to be damaged by questions and misinformation concerning the Appraiser Certification Program," Peters wrote.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Kristi Noem, South Dakota
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem's daughter is leaving the real estate business after scrutiny over whether her mother helped her obtain her license. Above, Noem addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference on February 27, 2021, in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The governor's office referred a request for comment to the Department of Labor and Regulation. The department in turn released a letter from Hultman to lawmakers that blamed AP for giving "the impression I testified at the hearing that there was an agreement in place with Ms. Peters before the hearing."

Hultman wrote that an AP reporter created an "inaccurate and a false narrative" and that she "never remotely gave the impression" during her testimony that the agreement had been signed before the meeting.

AP has not reported that Hultman said the agreement was signed before the meeting. She told lawmakers in October that state regulators had worked out an agreement to allow Peters to seek further education and resubmit work samples to be reviewed for compliance with federal standards.

Hultman also told lawmakers she assumed that the former director of the Appraiser Certification Program, Sherry Bren, was part of the discussion to give Peters another opportunity to win her license.

However, the agreement with Peters was signed by another state employee, Amber Mulder, who was Bren's supervisor. Mulder was also in the meeting with the governor last year.

The committee was set to request final approval for a pair of subpoenas from a ranking legislative committee on Wednesday. Hultman asked for the subpoena for Peters' agreement be dismissed.

Besides pressing for the document that Peters released, the committee also wants to subpoena Bren.

The former director of the program was called into the July 2020 meeting and was later pressured to retire shortly after Peters received her license that November. Bren filed an age discrimination complaint and received a $200,000 payment from the state to withdraw the complaint and leave her job this year. Noem has said the settlement had nothing to do with her daughter.

Kristi Noem, governor
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem's daughter, Kassidy Peters, handed over a document that shows an agreement was made to give Peters a second chance at a real estate license a week after Noem and Peters met with state regulators who initially denied the license. Above, Noem speaks on July 16, 2021, in Des Moines, Iowa. Charlie Neibergall, File/AP Photo