The definition of "overseeing" is at the heart of a dispute between Wake County school board candidate Heather Losurdo and Progress NC Action.
As noted in today's article, the dispute revolves around this statement on Losurdo's website that she "was an Account Manager for First Union National Bank, overseeing all small business loans in the states of North Carolina and South Carolina equaling a portfolio of over $2 Billion."
Losurdo says the statement is correct while Progress NC Action questions how someone with her background could hold such an important-sounding position.
When Losurdo first announced in April, she said "she worked in the small business banking field." The statement about overseeing all the small business loans in the Carolinas became part of her website.
When initially asked to provide more information on what those duties were, Losurdo declined comment last week.
On Monday evening, Losurdo explained that her job at First Union was to see which small business loans in the Carolinas were coming due and to contact the borrower to see if the person was in a position to repay. She said she worked off a tickler file to keep track of all the borrowers.
She said she didn’t have a staff and did not approve the loans. She says her website accurately lists her duties.
“It was an important job,” Losurdo said. “It had major responsibilities.”
But Progress NC Action charges Losurdo is puffing up her resume.
"How do you get from the Crescent City Cabaret in New Orleans to a personal bankruptcy with credit card debt and a car repo, to the Air Force and no apparent college degree, to a banking position in which you are in charge of all business loans in a portfolio of $2 billion?” said Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC Action.
Thad Woodard, president and chief executive officer of the North Carolina Bankers Association, said he didn't know Losurdo. But based on his years of experience in banking, he questioned how Losurdo portrayed the job on her website.
"If the resume is correct and she has no formal education beyond what is listed, it would be hard to fathom that any bank would hire someone with a personal bankruptcy and without a much higher level of formal education to handle that kind of function," Woodard said.
Losurdo hadn't previously disclosed that she had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 1993 and had briefly worked at a strip club in New Orleans.
Losurdo said she was a 22-year-old waitress at the Crescent City Cabaret to help pay the bills. She said she was going through a difficult time in her life so she joined the Air Force. She said those actions shouldn’t be held against her by voters.
“It’s not something that I’m proud of,” Losurdo said of her life in 1993. “I’d like to go back and change a lot of things. It doesn’t affect my ability to be on the school board.”
(I'm still dealing with the bug from over the weekend. Health permitting, I'll work on my backlog of seven campaign mailers, and counting, to post.)
Here's a press release sent today by Progress NC Action:
For Immediate Release
From Cabaret to Candidate?
From Personal Bankruptcy to "Overseeing" Billions?
New information about Wake School Board candidate generates more questions than answers
RALEIGH -- New information released today about Wake School Board candidate Heather Losurdo calls into question her claims of professional banking experience and fitness for public office. For a candidate running against someone who has been a leader in the Wake County Public Schools for decades, Ms. Losurdo’s resume is thin and shows evidence of embellishment. Voters deserve straightforward and truthful answers.
Candidate Losurdo should release a professional resume, offer references of supervisors, and give permission for reporters to view human resource records from her time in the banking industry. If she continues to stonewall basic questions about work history, she should withdraw from the Wake School Board race.
On her official campaign website, Ms. Losurdo claims "she was an Account Manager for First Union National Bank, overseeing all small business loans in the states of North Carolina and South Carolina equaling a portfolio of over $2 Billion."
In her WRAL candidate statement she claims “I was in charge of a small business loan portfolio of over $2 billion.” Clearly, Ms. Losurdo has used her bank job as major qualification for public office.
But, Ms. Losurdo shows no record of a college degree and filed a personal bankruptcy in 1993, which was loaded down with credit card debt and a repossessed auto, not medical bills. The 1993 Chapter 7 bankruptcy, filed in federal bankruptcy court in Colorado and signed by Ms. Losurdo, lists only two former employers - the United States Air Force and the Crescent City Cabaret, a strip club in New Orleans.
"How does one go from the Crescent City Cabaret in New Orleans, to a personal bankruptcy, to no college degree, and then to a banking position just a few years later in which one is 'overseeing' ALL small business loans in two states and a $2 Billion loan portfolio?" asks Gerrick Brenner, Executive Director of Progress North Carolina ACTION. “The claim just doesn’t add up.”
"Losurdo had no authority over the loans. At best it's an embellishment. At worst, it is an outright attempt to mislead the voters. We expect school board members to be role models for our children. Candidates should hold themselves to a higher standard. This is completely unacceptable for a candidate who wants to set policy for a public school district with 147,000 students and a $1.5 billion budget."