PIERRE, S.D. — Gov. Kristi Noem's daughter says she'll quit a state-certified realty appraiser position after a legislative committee voted to subpoena testimony and records to find if any political pressure came to bear on her achieving certification last year.
In the letter written to Department of Labor and Regulation Secretary Marcia Hultman, Kassidy Peters says the scrutiny of her certification is an attempt to see her "reputation and that of my young family are destroyed." She adds that she'll turn in her license by year's end.
The letter was first obtained and published by Dakota News Now.
"The entire inquiry and media pressure have done irreparable damage to my business," Peters said in the letter dated Tuesday, Nov. 16. "I'm angry and I can acknowledge that this has successfully destroyed my business."
Peters added she spent years working to become a licensed realty appraiser.
Media reports in September revealed that Republican Gov. Noem called a meeting in July 2020 with Peters, Hultman, government attorneys and Sherry Bren, then an official with the state realty appraisal program. The meeting at the governor's mansion came days after Peters' applicated was rejected, and months before Peters eventually received her license.
Peters' letter comes a day after the Legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee voted overwhelmingly to subpoena an underlying agreement inked between Peters and labor department officials, and the in-person testimony of Bren, who was forced into retirement at the end of 2020.
A wrongful termination complaint filed by Bren with a federal workplace discrimination commission -- and $200,000 from the state to Bren to withdraw that complaint -- initially tipped off reporters and legislators to ethics concerns over Peters' application.
On Tuesday, Peters also released a stipulation agreement with the labor department, dated Aug. 5, that documents her agreement to 45 more hours of classroom learning and the resubmission of three appraisals. That Aug. 5 date comes after the governor's mansion meeting and is signed by Peters and Amber Mulder, Special Assistant Attorney General for the state Department of Labor.
In an email on Tuesday afternoon to Forum News Service, GOAC Chair Sen. Kyle Schoenfish, R-Scotland, declined to comment on the letter but confirmed its receipt. The Executive Board of the Legislature had been slated to take up a motion at its meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 17, to ratify the two subpoenas.
It is unclear how Peters' departure from the field and disclosure of the stipulation agreement will alter GOAC's inquiry, if at all.