Noem was accused strong arm of the state in granting a real estate license to his daughter. A few days after Kassidy Peters ’application to become a certified real estate appraiser was rejected, Noem brought the employee in charge of the relevant agency, as well as the woman’s supervisor and secretary of state labor, to her office. Naomi’s daughter was also present at the meeting, the Associated Press reported.
The 70-year-old head of the state’s appraiser program, Sherry Bren, was forced from work a week later. Kassidy’s application was approved four months later.
The allegations of nepotism ended in a disastrous week; he is forced to deny reports of a relationship with the political aide Corey Lewandowski but cut off contact with him a day later after a major Trump donor accused him of sexual harassment.
Noem did not answer questions from reporters about the nepotism allegations, instead choosing to release a video and a few tweets that avoided addressing key details. He did not deny the facts of the story.
In his video, he claims that he is actually trying to change the real estate appraiser system in South Dakota after “hearing over many years” about how difficult it is to be an appraiser.
“This system has been broken for decades,” he said. “It’s designed to benefit those who are already certified and retain others.”
Without naming Bren, he said that managing the system has been in place for 40 years, and efforts to streamline the process have been unsuccessful.
“I’ve been working for years to fix it and I realize how hard the last two years have been to fix it,” he said.
Noem, however, did not address why her son Kassidy who was then a 26-year-old son attended the meeting along with Bren and other top officials if it was just about reforming the system. He also did not address why Kassidy failed to get a license, and how he got one four months later.
All Noem said was that Kassidy “followed all the same steps” as any other would -be appraiser, including doing 200 hours of appraisal education and working 1500 hours in a year.
“Those are the facts but the media ignores the facts,” he said. “They would rather attack my daughter to score cheap political points against me.”
Government ethics experts consulted by the Associated Press called the matter a clear “conflict of interest and an abuse of power” and the The state’s Attorney General, Jason Ravnsborg, said he would review it after contacting “concerned citizens and legislators.”
Ravnsborg’s involvement signals a crazy twist to fate. Noem requested Ravnsborg’s resignation earlier this year after that it appears he killed a man while driving then claimed he thought he had hit the deer. He pleaded not guilty to the two misdemeanors, did not appear at trial, and refused to resign.