Did Lauren Turelli Lie About Her Education?

State representative candidate under fire for citing a degree from Cambridge she never received.


A Republican candidate for the seat now held by  is catching flak for claiming a degree in her academic background she never received.

, who is running against  in the March 20 Republican primary to represent the 58th District, has listed in campaign materials, on Facebook and LinkedIn that she received an advanced degree in International Relations from England's University of Cambridge in 1994.

According to a letter from Cambridge's records department obtained by Patch, Turelli (then unmarried and with the last name Grabowski) "was unsuccessful in her studies and withdrew in February 1995 without gaining any qualification from this institution."

Turelli, a Lake Forest resident, did not answer phone calls or emails from Patch about this story. She emailed Illinois Review on Feb. 21 with an academic timeline that mentioned coursework at Cambridge, but not a degree.

"Some biographical notes on websites not under the control of my campaign…may inaccurately reflect my post-graduate work at University of Cambridge," Turelli said in a statement posted on Team America's 10th District Blog. "I am working now to ensure those sites have the proper information."

In an interview with Patch, Turelli's campaign manager Mark Shaw indicated Turelli did not realize she had not received her degree when she listed it in her materials. He said that, unlike most universities, Cambridge does not give out degrees even to those that successfully qualify for them.

"It was her understanding that she completed the requirements for a degree," Shaw said. "There's no diploma you hang on your wall."

According to the University of Cambridge, however, graduates receive degree certificates once they have completed their qualifying coursework. Cambridge's communications head Tim Holt told Patch Thursday that Turelli was "unsuccessful" at Cambridge and therefore did not receive a degree.

Turelli "has not got a Cambridge qualification," Holt said.

Turelli's Facebook pages no longer states that she received a degree from Cambridge and her LinkedIn page is down. Screenshots of Turelli's LinkedIn page sent to Patch by Neerhof's campaign reveal that the degree was listed as recently as January of this year.

According to Neerhof's campaign manager Brad Goodman, Turelli's page changed shortly after his office sent out a news release that pointed out the discrepancy.

"I have a copy of her LinkedIn page, and as soon as I sent out the release they took the page down," Goodman said.

Copies of the release were passed around to attendees at the . Turelli was slated to participate, but did not attend. She texted the League's Highland Park co-president Margie Weiss during the event to let her know she wouldn't be there.

"It was not specific, but said something had happened and she couldn't be there," Weiss said. "I haven't heard a word from her since."

Shaw Tried to Let the League Know About Turelli’s Absence

Shaw sent an email to one of the event's organizers hours before the event to let the League know Turelli wouldn't attend. Her father is receiving treatment for leukemia at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and Turelli went to visit him.

The organizer Shaw emailed was out of town, however, so the email went unread.

Shaw said he would have called someone at the League, but he didn't have a phone number. He tried to call Neerhof on Saturday evening to tell him Turelli wouldn't be at the forum.

"He didn't need to notify us," Goodman said. "He needed to notify the League of Women Voters."

Weiss was surprised that Turelli didn't make more of an effort to ensure the League knew she would not attend the forum. Weiss said she would have "triple-checked" to make sure the League knew if she were the candidate unable to attend a forum. She also pointed out that someone from Turelli's campaign should have attended to hand out literature, even if Turelli herself could not be there.

"Her campaign manager should have been there," Weiss said.

Goodman believes Turelli skipped the forum because of his news release about her Cambridge degree.

"They got busted and they didn't want to talk about it," Goodman said.

Turelli Was Accused of Fabrications in 2009 Campaign

This isn't the first time Turelli has come under fire for false claims while on the campaign trail. When Turelli ran against current 29th District State Senate candidate Julie Morrison in 2009 for West Deerfield Township supervisor, she retracted an endorsement she fabricated receiving from Secretary of State Jesse White.

"It did appear that statements were made about endorsements that turned out not to be true," Morrison said.

Shaw, who wrote the mailer that came under fire during that campaign, calls that "another misunderstanding." 

While Shaw would like to see the discourse of the primary season return to issues like , Goodman said these topics are important because they reveal that Turelli is an "unelectable candidate" in the general election.

"I'm more than happy for make believe stories to be on the record issues," Goodman said.

Bob Rosenbacher March 02, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Just more in a history of false claims in her campaigns. Sure it matters! And expect more from the Republicans in the General.
RonnieTheLimoDriver March 02, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Nice job Patch! This is the sort of Journalism we need to help make decisions in these sort of races that are unlikely to attract big media attention. Where there is smoke there is fire and unfortunately this looks to be part of a pattern with Ms. Turelli.
Walter Lippman March 02, 2012 at 03:30 PM
This is another reason that I'm casting my ballot for Leslie Knope!
Sheldon Langer March 02, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Too bad Obama was not vetted out as well ! I highly doubt he would be sitting in the White House today..
Louis G. Atsaves March 02, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Mr. Hall, do all of your comments revert to childish name calling and character assassination? Moron Township? Dolts? Do I counter by claiming that all Democrats are liars and convicts based on Rod Blagojevich, Tony Rezko and other Democrats whose behavior is less than admired? That statement wouldn't be any more true of Democrats than your statements about us. Is THAT your idea of political debate? If it is, you need to grow up, but fast. The matter has been extensively discussed on the Republican based Team America site, and the Patch article quotes from the Team America site. The Republican Team America site, which has supported her, was the first to break the Turelli story. Now if only you Democrats would behave the same way! :-)
Daniel Krudop March 02, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Ah, Louis, Louis. Haven't you figured out Mr. Hall yet? An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion. He lives for responses such as yours.
Lee March 02, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Couldn't have said it better myself.
Judi March 02, 2012 at 09:12 PM
nice job investigating and reporting the truth without editorial bias. Journalism at it best!
Jon Hall March 03, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Guess what. I am not a Democrat. I am not a Republican. I am a natural born citizen of the United States of America. Try as I might, I can't make myself stupid enough to endorse the dogmatic beliefs of any political party, and I don't suffer the fools who do so in your fashion lightly. I do want my congressman to work diligently on behalf of all people in the 10th District. Rep Dold(t) does not do that. He has done nothing for the citizens (and non-citizens) of this district. Folks of all parties deserve better.
Richard Hertz March 04, 2012 at 11:29 AM
Why are all the politicians the biggest liars? Look at Chicago Politicians and people running for president. Everyone says "I am going to do 'this and that' but when they are in office, they don't do any of it". My votes go to the following people: President: Bozo the Clown (everyone acts like a clown, he dresses like one) Vice President: Mickey Mouse (he is a character from the past that everyone grew up with and always tells the truth)
Jon Hall March 04, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Gee whiz Louis, does this mean that your organization is actively promoting the birther movement as part of the Republican Party platform? http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-WQo8kHfabGU/TwDNRWbV2MI/AAAAAAAABh0/mEKhFFHaIoE/s254/hope.jpg What does that say about the incumbent congressman who doesn't have the courage to speak up and persuade you to remove this insult from your web page. More proof that our incumbent congressional representative is a DOLT.
Jon Hall March 04, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Gee whiz Louis, does this mean that your organization is actively promoting the birther movement as part of the Republican Party platform?… A birther message from Louis Atsaves and his Team America web-site. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-WQo8kHfabGU/TwDNRWbV2MI/AAAAAAAABh0/mEKhFFHaIoE/s254/hope.jpg This Team America message from our 10th District is the height of rudeness, an insult demonstrating total lack of respect for the American electorate of all parties, and its candidates who don't repudiate it. So, Team America, you know what that says about your IL-10 incumbent, Robert Dol(?) aka Rep. DOLT (R). I call on the dolt of a congressman to beseech his supporters to remove this from the Team America web site.
Louis G. Atsaves March 05, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Hall, you do understand that your citation has nothing to do with "birther" issues. Do you have a clue? Clearly not. Your ignorant name calling continues.
Jon Hall March 05, 2012 at 11:43 AM
I asked you a question Louis. If my interpretation of the picture and its message is different from yours, then the message isn't clear and you're not doing a very good job.
Javier March 05, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Good reporting job. As for comments, let's stick to the facts. The short of it is that she misrepresented her educational background and this is a pattern of her character based on her past misrepresentations. Anyone have any on-point comments to provide? If you want to name-call other commenters, blame Dems or Repubs, Blajo, Omaba, Rush, etc, go do that on Yahoo where unintelligent discourse is expected. Let's try to keep Patch above the fray or it will become just another site where ranting/whining is acceptable.
Jon Hall March 05, 2012 at 04:38 PM
There is a direct link to the website and content I am commenting on in the 5th paragraph of this story.
Jon Hall March 05, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Thank you Patch for providing those interesting links in your stories.
Michelle Feldman March 10, 2012 at 10:54 PM
good reporting. Ethics matter!!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something