As the election nears, the heat is being turned up on the mayoral race and most recently, the topic of challenger Jonathan Nelson’s college degree.
Mayor James Barberio’s campaign holds firm that Nelson did not receive a degree from the University of Maryland and has provided several documents to prove their point, including a document from the National Student Clearinghouse and enrollment verification from the University of Maryland – College Park.
Nelson responded by providing a college transcript to prove he received a bachelor's degree in 1991 and said on Monday that he will be "suing for defamation and violation of federal privacy laws."
Wednesday, Alan Zakin, of Barberio’s campaign, sent Patch a degree verification
document from the University of Maryland – College Park that
reads “No degrees awarded” for “Jonathan Charles Nelson.”
Patch has independently attempted to verify Nelson's standing at the University of Maryland, but college officials have not responded to a request for Nelson's official transcript.
Barberio said “Councilman Nelson owes an enormous
apology to the people of Parsippany for violating the public trust.” f
In response, Nelson said, “There seems to be some extreme confusion or mix-up as to what is going on with my grades, enrollment, attendance, and status at the University of Maryland and others named Jonathan Nelson who attended the University at the same time as me … I can prove I was there—there is no doubt that I was there. I earned the credits to earn a degree.”
Nelson is also now calling out Barberio on his academic background.
“Can he prove he attended Montclair State, because no one to date has seen a shred of evidence and Montclair State is unable to confirm that he was even a student there?” Nelson asked in a press release.
Nelson said he has a lawyer to “straighten out my grades and my degree; and pursue legally and civil actions against the people who broke the law and maligned my name.”
Nelson reiterates that “there were illegal attempts
made to gain private information misusing my social security number and
personnel records which incidentally are kept stored a mere 25 feet away from
the front door of the Mayor’s office.
"The Mayor’s political operatives have been attempting to destroy my credibility and me. They have maligned my good name and my family’s name.”
Nelson also raised the question as to Barberio’s termination from his last job in 2009, alleged embezzlement, alleged termination from a past township job “for misuse of workmen’s compensation claims and excessive absenteeism."