WRAL Investigates

Raleigh council candidate boasts transparency despite criminal past

Posted May 25, 2011
Updated May 26, 2011

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— A candidate running for the Raleigh City Council says “transparency is everything” and that he wants voters to know about his past. Yet, the WRAL Investigates team found holes in his campaign resume, including an extensive criminal record.

On May 18, Lent Carr II addressed the council on behalf of the city’s taxi drivers. Although he doesn’t own or drive a cab, Carr is president of recently formed North Carolina Taxi Workers Alliance Inc.

Carr, 37, describes himself as a concerned citizen, a leader and a person who deserves a second chance.

He spent more than a decade in federal prison after pleading guilty to arson and bank and mail fraud. An appeals court later vacated the arson plea due to a technicality. Carr also has state convictions for obtaining property by false pretenses and passing worthless checks.

He was convicted of simple assault in February and is on probation. He says he plans to appeal that misdemeanor.

“There are some good people, even if they've been to prison,” he said. “But they deserve a second chance, just like any other citizen.”

Lent Carr II Web only: Full interview with Lent Carr

The District C candidate says education helped him overcome his past. His campaign bio includes business administration and advanced career degrees from Cumberland County College in New Jersey.

A school spokeswoman told WRAL News that Carr was enrolled but there's no record of any degree.

Carr’s profile on LinkedIn.com touts his experience as a law clerk at a federal correctional institute from 1996-2006, in which he supervised 21 employees. However, it does not mention that he was an inmate at the time.  He was released from prison on Jan. 22, 2009.

“I have a niche for the law,” he said. “I do have a lot of knowledge when it comes to the law.”

On the Facebook page for his campaign, Carr says  he has been a minister since the age of 12 and that he is senior pastor and bishop at Emmaus Puritan Apostolic Baptist Churches Inc. The organization is headquartered in a house on Poole Road in Raleigh.

Carr refers to himself as a “doctor,” citing an honorary doctorate from Amherst Theological Seminary in Madison Heights, Va. He says Amherst is non-accredited, but that it is a “highly reputable school” that is equal to the standards of other schools

“That doctorate holds just as much weight, in my view, as a doctorate from Duke University,” he said.

An Amherst Theological Seminary representative said the seminary is a “correspondence Christian education program that deals with prisons.” Director Oscar Blanchard said Carr completed a basic Bible class, but there's no record of any doctorate.

When asked if he feels comfortable calling himself a doctor, Carr said he is.

“Even without the doctorate, I’m sure you’re familiar with life-work of an individual,” he said.

Carr’s Facebook profile also lists an MBA from Duke University, but misspells the name of the Fuqua School of Business. It says he graduated from Fayetteville State University in 1996. WRAL has not been able to confirm those claims with either university.

Some of Carr's other online postings also raise questions.

On one website, he displays pictures of speakers seated in front of microphones and audience members filling a room, with some standing against the wall. A caption under the photos reads: “Southeast Raleigh’s Youth Summit 2010," a summit Carr claims to have organized.

Yet, when confronted, he admitted that he took the pictures from a British website.

Carr said he does not consider his claims to be deceptive. “The people who really matter already know (about my past),” he said. “Southeast Raleigh, they know about Lent Carr.”

He says his council candidacy is about change and second chances, and he hopes voters will “vote their conscience.”

Carr cites former Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry as a political role model. Barry was elected to a fourth term as mayor despite an arrest and conviction for crack cocaine use and possession in the 1990s. “He showed me to stand up in the midst of adversity and stand up for what you believe in,” Carr said. 

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  • tceawvzwvpev Jun 2, 2011

    Of course, one should note that the preceding comment (lenseyemover) appears to be that of Lent Carr II (at least given the moniker's previous posts on the Raleigh Taxicab Drivers threaten strike story (in which lenseyemover identifies himself as Carr). Something to consider when considering the preceding 3rd person defense/support of Carr.

  • lenseyemover May 26, 2011

    You know BrightLight; I've been thinking since this story first aired, maybe, just maybe we need to re-access what this guy brings to the collective bargaining table of ideas since he has a niche in the law. He's obviously no fool and knows how to get things done in the community with or without the support of current sitting ducks'(City Council) blessings or ratifications. If one look at his issue platform @ https://sites.google.com/site/votelentcarrcitycouncil2011/platform?pli=1#TOC-Government-of-the-people-for-the-pe some of the issues he espouses are quite radical in the sense of being "action based" and "solution oriented." I don't know, maybe if we look beyond our political correctness and prejudices for ex-felons we may find that some of them may be an asset to our community in bringing fresh vision from life's experiences. I don't know, but something is definitely appealing in this particular politician.

  • BrightLight May 26, 2011

    To quote the candidate, "I have a niche for the law" and "I do have a lot of knowledge when it comes to the law". You know, you can't be too hard on the guy. Right there in those comments, he just did only what a lot of politicians do. That is he just left out an operative word. In Carr's case, the word breaking was just left out inadvertently after "for" in the 1st comment and "to" in the 2nd comment.

  • ajoplin May 26, 2011

    "Stand up for what you believe in". What would that be? Misrepresentation of qualifications, education, extensive criminal past, imprisonment, and who knows what else. My father earned his PhD the old fashioned way. This clown disgraces all those who have. Too bad he doesnt wear a red nose and clown shoes. He would truly represent himself for all to see then.

  • cherylj110 May 26, 2011

    More "smoke & mirrors"....I suppose it's true, there is no such thing as an honest politician I must admit though, I am in awe the this guy's audacity. I suppose he figures "if you can photo-shop a birth certificate......"

  • passport423 May 26, 2011

    "The only difference is he is being completely honest about his past before getting elected. At the very least if he turns out to be crooked once he takes office, no one will be able to say he didn't warn us. LOL. Dude could be a little on the delusional side, but nevertheless I may vote for the guy. He can't be any worse than the politicians we have representing us currently."

    well, he's not being COMPLETELY honest. Maybe just a tiny little bit honest and a whole lot dishonest. Yep, you're right then, like most of the politicians currently in office.

  • lmbl May 26, 2011

    it's not just democrats ifcdirector-that's where they have you fooled-there's good and bad folks in both parties

  • edbuck51 May 26, 2011

    "Carr cites former Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry as a political role model."
    this should be enough to disqualify him for any office

  • lmbl May 26, 2011

    he has all the necessary credentials for a politician-what's the problem? ;-)

  • ifcdirector May 26, 2011

    Why is this even news. Sir the democrat party of North Carolina awaits you with open arms. Their campaign that introduces substances into the drinking water causing voters to vote for candidates such as yourself is an ongoing success. Not to worry.

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