August 13, 2018

SARASOTA — A candidate for the Florida Legislature is being accused of lying about graduating from college and using a fake diploma.

Miami University in Ohio told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that Florida House candidate Melissa Howard attended the school but never graduated. The school also says the diploma she produced doesn’t match those issued in 1994 or 1996, the years she has claimed she graduated, or any year.

The Republican businesswoman is running in the Aug. 28 primary. Her educational background was first questioned last week by the website Florida News Online.

She called site’s accusation false and said she traveled to Ohio last week to get the diploma at her mother’s house. After she posted a photo of the diploma, the website briefly took down its story and apologized, but the university then said her claim was false.

Howard’s diploma says she graduated with a degree in marketing — the university’s lawyer claims the school has never offered such a degree.