WSBTV confronted Board of Education candidate Steven Lee (D-5) with questions (video at the link) regarding a Doctorate degree he received from an unaccredited institution that,
… was named in a class action lawsuit as operating a “fraudulent Internet scheme involving the alleged sale of sham high school diplomas and university degrees.”
This story was initially reported by the Atlanta Progressive News this past August (see link).
Per the new report by WSB Amy Napier Viteri,
Currently Lee doesn’t refer to himself as doctor or mention it in any of his campaign materials. But Viteri checked and found several organizations and websites where he is listed as Dr. Steven Lee with a degree from a school that’s involved in a lawsuit for selling fake degrees online.
Lee was not pleased by the line of questioning and said,
“I’m offended that you would actually sit here and have a conversation to me as though I’m trying to perpetrate a fraud,”…
Lee said he’s joined the lawsuit and was unaware at the time Belford was an unaccredited institution that provides degrees based on life experience.
Mr. Lee became aware that the school was not accredited 10 years ago, but appears to have allowed the use of the “Dr.” title by organizations he is affiliated with.
… But Viteri found several examples where Lee was listed as Dr. Steven Lee, including a 2010 city website listing him as a member of the zoning review board and a press release from 2012 mentioning Dr. Steve Lee as president of the MLK Drive Merchants Association.
Lee went on to defend his use of the title,
… I’ve earned that piece of paper,” …”When I took the classes there was no documentation showing that it was not legitimate. Lee said he no longer references the doctorate degree because he’s running based on his community work in the city of Atlanta. He also said he has transcripts to prove he did the coursework for degree he earned.
However, when Viteri attempted to question him further, Lee became defensive and “walked away”.
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