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November 1, 2008 - 11:09am

Chris Lee admits to 'mistake' that led to firing frorm job in 1989

posted by Howard B. Owens in Chris Lee, NY-26.

If you found out a candidate for office had been fired from his first job out of college some 20 years ago, would it impact your voting decision?

What if the candidate admitted to "making a mistake" that led to the termination? What if that mistake involved breaking into company computers?

Well, those questions are more than theoretical in the 26th Congressional District race, and they apply to Republican Chris Lee.

The Buffalo News:

Lee was a young salesman with Ingram Micro, a computer products distributor that in 1989 was known as Ingram Micro D and operated from offices on Elmwood Avenue.

Lee, according to his co-workers at the time, somehow obtained a company credit manager’s password. Then, with that password, he raised the credit limits for some of his customers and the customers of other sales people, the employees said.

That way Lee could sell the customers more of the company’s products, on credit, before the billing system would flag their accounts for payment and halt further purchases.

It might have helped with sales, but it also put the company at greater risk if those customers failed to pay.

Since Lee has not admitted to the specific allegation, just that he made a mistake, let's be careful about taking the charges at face value. That said, if Lee did hack into a company computer, that's a crime (at least it is now, I don't know what the law was in 1989), and it is certainly unethical to falsify company records. Any employee who commits those acts deserves to be fired.

But what does a 20-year-old mistake tell us about Chris Lee today? Does it mean he is and forever will be an unethical person? Or is it possible that he did, as he says, learn from his mistake? If so, he might have evolved into a much more ethical person because of that transgression.

It's really impossible for us to look that deeply into another person's soul.

My recommendation is vote for the candidate that best represents your values and aspirations and not get too caught up in the character assassination games political parties like to play.

The relevance of this particular issue is tenuous at best. 

lazario Ladou
lazario Ladou's picture
Last seen: 13 years 10 months ago
Joined: Aug 20 2008 - 5:52am
What else did he not say? This is the stuff that IS important IMO Has Lee even addressed it? If he avoids the questions are you sure that he didn't just avoid learning from the mistake If true this is not character assassination It may be an attempt to smear but it actually raises REAL questions Questions that very likely will never be answered Its not the risk he created that is the true stain here I forgot that BOLD means link "At my first job out of college, I made a mistake and broke company policy and was let go What's important is that I learned from that mistake, and have had a successful career building a business and creating jobs for families here in Western New York" 1) my first job out of college Does this matter? Excuse? 2)broke company policy Not picking up ones own trash is probably against policy 3)..let go like a butterfly 4)What's important So what he did wrongly wasn't really important If you ask me something that leads to change in character -poitive or negatively- is very important 5)and have had a successful career building a business and creating jobs for families here in Western New York This doesn't speak of character, though. I mean, organized crime is usually good business for those in it ..also helps to put people in jobs His "proof" of change in this statement is basically that he became wealthy If he hadn't been caught Lets just take Lee out of it and pose something else If a person commits a mistake but never is caught allowing people to purchase more on credit and pay more in terms of interest giving the salesman a bigger commission either directly or indirectly OK to do if it's your business A good strategy if all works out But when it's not your business it's personal ambition above all else Did/Does he have any other interest besides his own employment? "never did benefit financially" ....He was "let go" before he may have? Was he trying to help the company or the customer? That's a question to ask Shouldn't you find out whether he's for the company or the people before putting him in office/power? Nobody thinks it's important "20 years ago" How big does something have to be before it causes problems? He said himself it was a mistake He's not saying he believes in what he did Was he wrong or just wrong "on paper" What exactly has he learned?
Charlie Mallow
Charlie Mallow's picture
Last seen: 5 years 10 months ago
Joined: Apr 28 2008 - 9:05pm
Having worked in IT for most of my adult life and for a financial company, that action is not considered a “mistake”, it’s a crime. In my experience, that act would have you locked up by the end of the day. I am flabbergasted by the word “mistake” being associated with that act. What other crimes has this man committed? The Republican talking heads better put this one to rest quick if it’s not true. Who the heck are these people that we elect? Where do they come from? Is this the best that WNY has to send to Washington? People wonder why these Washington types are robbing us blind. Are you kidding me??? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybercrime Fraud, embezzlement, illegal access, data interference, systems interference, is now considered a mistake? Again, Are you Kidding ME????

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