A Controversial Iowa State Senator Draws Scrutiny After Reports His Degree Came From A Company That Ran A Sizzler Steakhouse

Iowa State Senator Mark Chelgren is one of the main forces behind a new bill that would limit the number of Democrats that state universities can hire as professors. But it seems that Chelgren’s own education is in the spotlight right now according to NBC News. The lawmaker apparently received a “business degree” from “Forbco Management school,” a company that is more business than school and once ran a Sizzler steakhouse in Torrance, California:

State Sen. Mark Chelgren’s alleged alma mater is actually a company that operated a Sizzler steak house franchise in southern California and he doesn’t have a “degree,” Ed Failor, a spokesman for the Iowa State Republicans, told NBC News.

“This was a management course he took when he worked for Sizzler, kind of like Hamburger University at McDonald’s,” Failor said. “He got a certificate.”

Asked if Chelgren has a college degree, Failor said, “That’s not accurate.”

All mentions of Chelgren’s “degree” were removed from his bio on the Iowa Senate Republicans website, but it does raise questions about his other education references according to NBC. The bio also reports time studying at the University of California at Riverside shows the state senator majoring in “astro-physics, geo-physics and mathematics” for three years without graduation and an associates degree in science from Riverside Community College. Chelgren spoke with NBC News about the “degree” mix up and defended it as a simple mistake:

“This was not an attempt to inflate anything,” he said, adding he was not aware of the error on the web site until a reporter asked about it. “I didn’t concern myself about this, honestly.”

In a telephone interview last week, Chelgren was vague about Forbco. He said it was located outside of Los Angeles and that he got his business degree “around ’88 or ’89. It’s going back a ways so I don’t remember…

“I don’t know if they are still in business or not,” Chelgren said. “The school was created by Forbco Management, and I got a degree in hotel restaurant management.”

NBC adds that the controversial bill is being supported by Chelgren’s own stories about “liberal professors” during his time on campus. With the questions surrounding his education background, plenty of holes have been poked in an already flimsy bill.

(Via NBC News)

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