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November 1, 2008 - 7:57pm

Kryzan's campaign raises questions about Lee's dismissal from job in 1989

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

The Alice Kryzan campaign issued a press release this evening slamming Chris Lee for his admission that he made a mistake while working as a salesman in 1989, which led to his termination from that job.

We posted about this previously.  Lee allegedly hacked into company computers and changed the credit limits of customers.

The press release contains these five questions for Lee:

  1. Could Chris Lee or his attorney at the time explain why this wasn't prosecuted?
  2. Was there a fine involved and who paid for it?
  3. How much did Chris Lee defraud his company of?
  4. How seriously was the company put at risk?
  5. How much money did he stand to gain if he hadn't gotten caught?

Whether Lee answers these specific questions on the topic, he does owe voters a full explanation prior to Tuesday.

I wrote this morning about not rushing to judgment of Lee on this. It was 20 years ago. He was young. There is no evidence of a pattern of behavior. We all make mistakes and deserve second chances. Also, there are important issues at stake in this race that voters should focus on (and it is perhaps a bigger concern that Lee has said little of substance about these issues).

But, it is exceptionally important that our public officials be held to standards of full transparency about their conduct in and out of office.  Lee should give a complete and full accounting of the events that led to his firing.  This isn't a test of his conduct 20 years ago, but a test of his conduct today. Is he ethical enough to come clean?

UPDATE: Here's a question I think Mr. Lee needs to answer: Did Mr. Lee ever apologize to his former employer? Did he say, "I'm sorry"?

John Curry
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Regarding Chris Lee being fired due to hacking into the company computer to extend the credit levels for his customers: 1. Isn't this exactly the type of "salesmanship" that has created the current economic crisis? Extending credit when not deserved simply to make the sale and earn a higher commission is not a "mistake." That "Mistake" is simply well-thought out greed. I don't think that type of decision making -- "I'll do what's best for me" -- is what we need in Congress right now. 2. This "mistake" from 20 years ago does not appear in any of Chris Lee's biographical information. His website states that he worked in IT for seven years before taking over the family business. Did he work in IT for all seven of those years? 3. What I really don't understand is why politicians -- or just folks who run for political office -- don't clear up these "mistakes" when they declare their candidacy? Lee must have realized that this information could come out. He must have had a conversation with someone in the Republican Party about his background. Why not just state right off the bat -- "I screwed up 20 years ago." Don't the pols and their handlers realize that we just want our leaders to be honest with us?
Howard B. Owens
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Since there would be no public record of this, Lee probably assumed it would never come out. I could also imagine him thinking -- that's ancient history. It seems to have come out because a former co-worker, more a couple of former co-workers, came forward and spoke about it. Here's my questions about how this came out: -- Did an enterprising reporter from the Buffalo News dig into Lee's background and uncover this. -- Or, did DCCC investigators uncover it and leak it to the Buffalo News? -- Or, did these former co-workers come forward unprompted either by the campaign or by the reporter? It could be potentially relevant information.
lazario Ladou
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But, it is exceptionally important that our public officials be held to standards of full transparency about their conduct in and out of office. Lee should give a complete and full accounting of the events that led to his firing. This isn't a test of his conduct 20 years ago, but a test of his conduct today. Exactly I'm not really one for "I'm sorry" To me If you're sorry ..you don't do it in the first place forethought -Honest- forthrightness -of your mistakes- is what makes one forgivable not an empty "allow this to symbolize this" I'm sorry I see these as THE WRONG questions to ask •How much did Chris Lee defraud his company of? •How seriously was the company put at risk? I also don't care how the info got out That's another thing altogether The fact that it is out NOW tells you a lot about the people who brought it out This is a one hit wonder smear job attempt -granted BUT it is very relevant ..should have been brought up sooner Good news for Lee is that people in general don't really care The people who brought it up don't even really care
Leland Adama
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I care and I probably am not the only one. You have to have standards!
Woyvel Lloyce
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Let's just look at why these candidates are running for this office. Chris Lee(R) and Joe Mesi(D) are running for the same 2 reasons: 1) They need jobs - Mesi's boxing career is over, Lee's father's company was sold. 2) They have LOTS of money and need to invest it in a campaign rather than give it all to the IRS. Why are the other cadidates in the races running? It appears on the surface that Alice Kryzan ran almost as a whim and that she's gotten much farther than expected. Is this a good thing or not?

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